End of 2013: What a Year It’s Been

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 7.52.41 PMI did this sort of recap last year and found myself checking back on it a few times this year, to remind myself where I’ve gotten off to in case it becomes a muddled mess of a memory in a year’s time.

So without further adieu, here’s 2013 through my eyes.

2014 is almost upon us all! That makes it sound scary… or a bit like GoT “Winter’s coming!” right? It’s not nearly that dreadful though… not nearly so bad at all. Aren’t you a bit glad you can’t forsee the future? There’s something renewing about a new year, a story untold. It can wipe a board entirely clean even if it was feeling dusty, crackling, and worn. Whatever kind of year you had, for very good or very bad, you can always re-aim your mark again to improve, feel better, try new things, and change what you didn’t like. Even if you fail or don’t manage it the way you thought the whole year, if you TRY to change, you’re doing more than some ever do.

I feel like I have a good amount of things to feel positive about! I want to share these great things and have one last revel in a hard year’s work well done, despite circumstances and obstacles. When I get to the end of a year, I always want to ask myself, “Could I have done more?” The annoying answer: yes. And while it is a nagging answer, you need to stop and appreciate what you did accomplish in order to move onto the new year with a lighter heart.

We all deserve a good start every year. A chance to enjoy, laugh, and find out new things about ourselves and life.

Post-production wise, I accomplished a good bit this year, and allow me a small moment to feel proud. I edited my first feature film starting back in August last year with one very awesome team I was Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 2.04.14 PM lucky to work with, and it continued until February. It has since gone on to many festivals and cons, and the night I arrived to it’s premiere, I could not feel happier to have seen this story in a feature length come to life. So many people came to it, that it was sold out. And I’m sure I speak for all involved in how proud and beautiful of a moment that was. I got to talk with people afterwards, and seeing their faces and hearing them express what they enjoyed was divine.

So back to the edit part: I dived headfirst into an frightening challenge of using MC Avid, something I’d had little experience in prior aside from small broadcast spots with a long break from that even. Not only did I learn it, but I handled it all through long nights and sweat and tears, oh yes, and a HD totally crashing. The clicking of doooooom. You can read more about that adventure here. If I had to pick the most stressful moment of my year, that would be it. You know how people always are telling you to make backups of your backup etc? And you nod your head like yes, I should do that sometime. But then, maybe you don’t always follow through.. you must follow through. haha. Seriously. Because I had backed up, I was able to recover the feature, save the day sort of feeling, and move along before we all had a seizure or heart attack from it. xD hehe. I will say, even though it is backed up, it is a challenge and a task to piece it back together again, but such a rewarding moment looking back on it too. I’m okay it happened. I learned that it’s okay to panic for a short moment, but then to recover and get your wits about you and fix things right again!

fav memory of a funny "inception" like error in FCP
fav memory of a funny “inception” like error in FCP

After mostly using Premiere Pro, I had to jump into Final Cut again fully. It was not without it’s usual troubles, but I quickly learned it again and found many things to praise it for. But the things I didn’t like, I was able to take away and appreciate more when I was in Premiere or Avid. You see, I still ride the line of using whatever I must to get the job done. I saw the rise of Premiere once CS6 (or perhaps 5.5?) came around. People I’d known for years who were 100% FC were now complimenting things in Premiere. I almost never thought I’d see the day. I felt like for the longest time if I did not get Final Cut, I would never work well as a freelance editor because it was so often requested. Somehow, through this storm of NLE advancements and changes made, I made it out in one piece, with appreciation and dislikes for all of them, as it should be! (secret: there is NO perfect NLE! Yes… I know, you like insert NLE but it is not without it’s flaws. Admit it and you’ll feel better.)

I am using After Effects more fruitfully and fully than I’d had opportunity to in the past. Oh the joy of shortcuts and dynamic links and so many things to experiment with.

late night giggles in AE.
late night giggles in AE.

Through tutorials and friends, I learned to feel like a wizard in there as I always wanted to. And yet I have so much more to learn and do! It’s funny, for awhile I was in there working on projects and primarily in there… and once I left, I realized how much I missed AE. I really want to master more things in it this year. It feels like home now too.

I finally made myself dive into Resolve. YAY, colour grading is still something I work ever towards. I make many mistakes before I will find that good spot or at least acceptable pass. I have a lot to master in there, and I don’t have any fancy board to do it with – but as Philip Bloom says, it’s not so much about the equipment although I’m sure it helps – and this coming year I hope to incorporate it more and more so that I have a better understanding of it. Even if I have no project to use it in, I’ll find clips to practice with.

I got to touch a black magic cam ^^
I got to touch a black magic cam ^^

By the summer, although I had promised myself a break, I participated in yet another 48 hour film!! What was I thinking!? Let me just say now, 2014 – there will be NO 48 hour in your future. haha. I don’t have much new to say on it, except that it was what all the 48’s have been – an insanity time ticktocking hurry up and gogo emotional crazy adventure. In hindsight though, it was not a good idea to join this year, nor was I in any particular place to load on more stress with where I was in life – but like any good film venture, there are funny memories to recall and the film made it in on time, which is quite a feat given all the usual circumstances of a short film done in such a small window. It won an award, for Tony was absolutely hilarious. I laughed quite a lot during filming. He’s a ham for camera. I remember having a super tasty nutella and banana sammich mid-day which was a surpisingly delish lift to continue plodding filming. But alas, I don’t know that I need to prove to myself any longer that I can handle them, they’re no longer about the challenge as moreso a heavy burden. Their place is now complete… perhaps one day in the future I may do one again, but honestly my first 48 hour and favourite one will always be just that, and it’s no use recreating it.

I edited my first animated music video!!! For a band I adored! With a fellow editor on the Twitterverse lands. I cannot say how lucky I feel about this venture, for I felt over the moon, in fact!! My hope is to continue to venture more into that route, if I am ever able to again, because some part within me very much enjoyed the entire process. I can only imagine what it would feel to edit live action music videos. It’s so creative and I absolutely love music, so it goes without saying that I quite enjoyed the song I was given to cut to. I wish I had been in CC version of Premiere to have cut it in, but alas, I have CS6 Premiere which did a fine job. I am not at home editing nearly as much to invest in it just yet, but I may yet take the plunge in 2014. I have heard good things and for good reason 🙂

NOTE that currently I’m cutting a range of spots these days, broadcast/web/internally too of which a lot I cannot sadly share most of them yet, if at all – so it may seem slow on my editing front, but I assure you it’s not. Some you may see on tv even, perhaps one day I can rally those together in one spot to share soon since they’ve aired now.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 7.54.36 PMRIGHT, the big one: I moved! I moved all the way from Indianapolis to Winston Salem, NC. What a trip that was. I had one of the best sendoffs a friend could ever ask for! The people that came to say goodbye and talk and laugh with, are truly the best sort of friends one could ask for!! I will remember this night fondly. I hope I can be there like that for others in the future because it’s quite admirable. As hard as it was to finally move, this was the ray of light days before we moved.

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Waking up after a stopover in TN, to SNOW!!!

A very long drive, through mountains and corn fields and rain and snow. With 3 kitties in tow, trying to bend myself sideways from time to time to assure and comfort them, and a car filled as much as it could with a truck filled going ahead. All this. I made the move for an editing job. I’ve never moved further than across town, you know? It was something… I’d always wanted to try getting away from the home town of good ol Indianapolis – where I struggled greatly to find paying edit work (or for that matter paying work with a subject I enjoyed immensely!), but was able to find some very satisfying opportunities. I do miss some things back there, but I’ve proven to myself that I can handle being anywhere. I mean really, as an editor, you’re in your #editcave most times anyway right? So it’s just a new location, but your editcave is yours, and once you make the new one feel like ‘home’ it matters not where you are. Though it does help to come home to my kitties who are so entertaining and familiar too. I never dreamed to end up in North Carolina… I think it’s funny how your path takes you to unexpected places like that, though, and I have found some neat gems around here. Some of which I hope to do or visit when I can get the time off to do them, but if not, I’ve found other ways to enjoy it.

So there’s the great editing related schtuff. The big things I am proud of and celebrate the end of this year with those in mind. A toast to them, in fact! ^__^

Moving onto more general non-editing related 2013 accomplishments:

armstrong_fmasparkleHealthier Lifestyle!! standing desk – stability ball chair – better noms – etc. etc. I’ve struggled and conquered some in the health department, as in caring more about me and less about other things. Losing some weight, getting stronger with strength training, and learning not to cringe or expect a mirror to break as I pass by. I have by far been the meanest villain internally.. and heck, it’s easy to lose yourself in projects and games (when there’s free time that is) and slowly by little, you forget yourself and snap out of it like a bad dream. I’ve chipped away at that more and more. Taking more control of it and forcing it’s way into even the most insane projects to keep myself overall better feeling. I may always have the knack of seeing that cloud overheard, but I try harder to also find the light in things. To laugh at myself, stress, and pick myself back up where I before wanted to stay down at and wallow. Not letting stress get to me AS badly, in where I’ll go all day and refuse to eat a meal until I can feel calm.. but see, if you knew me, you would know I did this because I suffered horrible nervous stomach and IBS. That was a large cause of anxiety as I grew up, because I had so much nervousness going on. Because life is not often calm anymore enough for me. so I’ve had to adapt. And I love what I do too much to let that get me down long.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 7.52.29 PMAlpacas – aka: FREE time to be imaginative and create things with my hands!! And some hot glue. and glitter. Because glitter is awesome (and reproduces everywhere in a fury from just one glitter piece haha) this isn’t really post production related, but this year I finally tackled crafting something, albeit if my alpacas looked a little slow or very handcrafted, I enjoyed this activity a lot and hope to include more and improve on it.

Some personal thoughts which I rarely felt comfortable to share so openly with others. But after the year I’ve had, I’m ready to face it. Maybe you don’t know me very well, or perhaps all you see is the goofy GIFS and !!! mark filled tweets or silly Pusheen cat FB posts I often make and perhaps dismiss anything deep or rational out of me. I just wanted to say, that is not who I am. Or rather, that I am worth knowing past that. Maybe you merely randomly clicked on this wondering out of curiousity. I will never know. I have changed enormously this year. I’ve had, just as I’m sure many others have had as well, one HELL of a year. I had a good bit to celebrate, and in another hand, a hard grasping to keep things afloat, together, happy. This has affected me in a number of ways. I have been dealing with a growing depression, a looming social anxiety, and because of this, namely the strongest introversion towards others I think I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m a naturally private person.. but this isn’t right.

Well – as part of growing myself, I’ve decided to share some little known things about me in an effort.

What I don’t want you to know, dear reader:

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I dread this place. but moreso now. 🙁

Hello! (that’s a good start right) I’m Ninjakittay, I’m Katie, or maybe you know me as Wulfie from gaming. Maybe I look a bit strange or entirely normal to you. I suppose that doesn’t matter much, so long as you understand. I have colourful hair and a very oddball sense of humour. I’m missing a tooth and wearing a retainer with one every day right now because of a bad crown done by, as I dub it, Dr. Doom, that HAD to be pulled or risk infecting me even further. He got me twice, if you will believe it, as he managed to mess up BOTH my crowns (one not sealed properly, the other not cleaned of cavity thoroughly), and I am facing the same fate on this other one. An unfortunate turn of events… it’s made me very sad. I feel often like a frankenstein monster, but there is little to be done about it now except to accept it happened and work towards saving for an implant or other solution. So what. Why am I afraid anyone knows this? This has caused me immense anxiety daily. To that I say, hell with it. Conjure up whatever  images, if it somehow spins this humorously for you. I know I have. “ARRR I AM A PIRATE now, WHAR be teh RUM!?” (ps: I do like rum!)

This is how I start letting go of these things.

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My daughter, Rachel ^__^ who also happens to like many things I do, including Hello kitty :3

I also have a 16 year old daughter (She’s a Leo, born July 31st!) who thankfully I am very close with but little know about. She means the world to me, and while I am not parenting her personally, I feel like the older she gets, the more she seeks me out and wants my company. That is a great gift. I realize now I have felt so closed off about this, with general people, for good reason – that I don’t want to share personal things like this. Because of judgements. Because of all these tv shows that came out of teens getting pregnant and dually suffering the mockery of that. It was not like that then growing up, but then, you don’t know my story.. and maybe in time if you don’t, you will. But trying to explain year after year is tiring, so accept it or not, with no backstory further, for once and all! Adding to that, not everyone has a choice in matters, remember that what MATTERS is what you do with the damn time given to you! And so I did make the best of what I could at the time. That’s all I want to say now about that.

Also, I have two mothers. TWO mothers. Not her “roommate” as I had to explain it years back when others would ask plainly when I was open about it, if I was going to have a girlfriend as well… or worse, make me feel like it was wrong, and at such a time in my life, some days were truly awful – it made me want to shrink into nothing. I saw what was wrong alright, and it wasn’t with my mom’s partner. I never saw a thing wrong with having two mothers, until people tried to force it on me. I dislike that greatly.  So if you are intolerant of people’s personal relationship in their lives that do NOT affect yours, (newsflash: it doesn’t!) I will continue facing this kind of ignorance on this front. You can call me an advocate if you like, but I call it normal – standing up against intrusive hate. Because it’s not worth acknowledging people with loose argument who insist most of your family life is a SIN in their eyes, or that I’m going to hell (which I don’t even believe in) when it’s not their place nor their business. If I had any wish for 2014, it’s that this stops entirely. But I am a dreamer…

By the by, I am not religious and have not been for years. I try not to make a large deal of this. Perhaps I believe in good, or just being a decent person. What’s good,

Enjoying a little Vitamin D + summer flowering trees.
Enjoying a little Vitamin D + summer flowering trees.

what’s decent? I think we all deep down know. I don’t need anything else. It’s sad to say, I’ve lost friends over religions, but not on my account as I try hard not to be intolerant. Just as I am not intolerant of your religion, I do wish I would not be excluded from your lives because of it. It’s not going to change. I don’t need religion to find happiness, I haven’t for over 15 years or more really. So please, this year oh 2014, I’d like to see less of this giant divide – we’re all people, aren’t we!? Whether you find or lose something you deem important, I hope we stay friends. but I can’t help but wonder how many many more years pass before we learn how to truly let others be.

I have one deceased yet fairly altogether useless father who died of MS and surgery complications before we could even begin to discuss where things went wrong. In this, I hope you will remember that it CAN be too late, for some things. Time is not endless, at least in our personal case. And you should try your best with those who matters because you cannot end it always on a good note, but perhaps better luck with ending it overall with good. My estranged grandfather committed suicide around new years, giving my new year a new meaning. In that life is precious, even if it feels miserable or going down a very bad path. You can change that, and suicide is sadly not the answer to your troubles, no matter how tempting it feels in that moment.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 7.52.54 PMEVEN though I point these things out, that seem negative – I still like to laugh at bad movies, have fun doing nothing, go out spontaneously to wherever my feet take me especially low to no-cost adventures, for money is not everything, and enjoy company over coffee and deep discussions. I find I can still be an extremely loyal and to-the-end type person so throughout the year, I have not lost that capacity. I would like to again hold hope that there are friends in the world who would understand where I’ve been and where I’m going. A place I truly belong. A foothold I can return to many times again and feel welcome. Which is why I am starting here where I most of all fear to toss these things into the wild. The innernetz.

I needed some time to sort some things out, of which I am still doing and will into the new year. There is nothing -wrong- with feeling or being alone. After moving, I feared that some connections would drift away, and some indeed have, although I suppose it’s fair to say others have strengthened. I am a person with many perspectives, so I hope to recall upon many of them in 2014 to pull myself through this hole. If you talked to me 15 years ago, I had so many friends I didn’t know what to do! I was equally overwhelmed in the other direction. That isn’t any good either. I’ve been attracted towards relationships and friendships that seem so far away they don’t make me feel uncomfortable to be around, to figure things out.  I was okay with that too, or I must have been. I feel sometimes so literally invisible and unimportant that I am rather unsure if I exist at times. Hence a ninja title is appropriate here. By the way, I am a ninja who’s also easily spooked by people popping into my room unannounced.

Anyway, my ultimate realization is that I’m going to put myself out more to reach out, and meet new people with as open of a heart as I can muster. I may get bit on the hand some as I do, but thankfully the years have given me a strong stubborn will, and I intend to use it where needed.

Well! That was quite enough thoughts, ramblings, hopes, admittances, and grievances for one year!

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pretty sunset I captured my first night after the move. 🙂

Did you all have a good year? I hope it was. What memories will you take away from it?

Remember that wherever your life is now, it is not locked down, chained up to a particular pattern or style unless you don’t do something about it. That is a very hard lesson to learn, very much easier said than done. Anything can change and don’t let anybody stop you. The past is the past – you can learn from it yes, but sometimes people like too hard to remind you of your past patterns, and don’t allow room for you to bloom and grow in other directions. That’s a large warning sign they are not ready to come along on your own adventures… it’s okay they may not be ready for change, or namely, for YOU to change.. and while that’s okay too, there is a wide world full of people waiting to meet and befriend, or at least know for a time. Fight against the negativity wherever possible, and do some winter cleaning of people that don’t support where you’re headed. Sound selfish? Perhaps. But some people could do with a dose of it, because no one can be there more for you than yourself. Be your biggest champion. If I have learned ANYTHING this year, it is that you must rely on yourself, no matter how much you might wish hard for a true partner or friend, and that it’s okay to be afraid when you’re knee deep in some of your darkest moments, it’s just you. Be okay with that.

 

Media OfflineHappy 2014 to everyone!

May it bring lots of luck,

good times,

and more adventures than you can dream of!

– Ninjakittay

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