GUEST BLOGGER - May Challenge: F is for Filmmaker

Monday, May 6, 2013

Julia and I junior year

My guest blogger for this post is one of my favorite people in the entire world. I met Julia Turner in the Spring of 2006 upon returning to Loyola for Freshman spring semester after two roommates transfering after the Fall. As I entered my bedroom I saw this random girl unpacking her stuff that included every type of athletic gear: tennis racket, lacrosse stick, basketball and for all I know, a bowling ball could have been included. While thinking this girl was insane, little did I know she would turn into one of my best friends and roommate for three years in college. We always shared a room - and sometimes a bed - as we had pillow talk before bed each night. She truly has opened my eyes to allow myself to have a good time and to treasure what a true friendship is. She wanted to kill me for my overbearing/demanding motherly ways (which honestly saved her almost every weekend) and I wanted to kill her if she made me rearrange our bedroom furniture one more time...bunk beds, no bunk beds, bunk beds, no bunk beds/I had to come find her in the bushes drunk one more time. I miss you everyday, Juls, and I cant wait to see you in November. I am so proud of you for going after you dreams!!! xox

My name is Julia Turner, and I am a writer/ producer / filmmaker.

Since I was 5 years old I wanted to work in the movie business.  I always knew I belonged in it, always knew it was what I was going to do. I grew up Los Angeles and despite my father, an agent for over 30 years, who warned me to avoid this business at all costs, I did what any normal daughter does – I ignored him and took an internship at a production company two weeks after graduating college.  

I began as an intern at a prominent film production company when I was 23.  I would compare internships to initiation. I’ve made more coffee, placed more lunch orders, and toasted more bagels than I’d like to admit. I alphabetized thousands of DVDs, read unreadable scripts, watched unwatchable films… and did I mention this was an unpaid position? And it’s the only way to get your foot in the door.  But like any job or really anything in life, you have to pay your dues and prove yourself. I worked as much as I could and tried to soak in everything. Six months later I landed my first desk as an executive assistant. The door had finally swung open. 

June 1 will mark my four year anniversary of stepping foot into that production company. To look back on all that I have experienced in that time, what I love most about this business is how creative and collaborative it is. To have an idea and see it come to life is the most exciting thing in the world to me. Development of characters, creating a world for your characters to exist in and bringing it all together as a living is still unreal to me.

When I was 24, I began writing my first feature with my best friend, Hannah Rosner, who I met at a screening. For months I had been told I had to meet this girl by a fellow intern at my production company. I had been told this girl once decided on a whim to get in her car and drive to the Sundance Film Festival in a Prius, which led to her partying with Bill Murray, so I wasn’t opposed to finding out who this chick was. Hannah and I hit it off over a love of a strong vodka drink and six months later, we began writing our first feature based on her experiences at Sundance and the rest was based off of the memories we had from partying our faces off.

We wrote the first draft of the script in about a month, and decided what the hell, let’s just shoot the damn thing. It was the best decision we could have made. This movie, now titled Park City, brought us together and taught us things we never could have learned in an office. We were actually making a feature and it was awesome. The best part was how eager our friends were willing to come aboard and how supportive our families were. We were fortunate enough to get a well respected and veteran casting director to read the script. Fortunately for us she loved it and helped us cast the likes of Don McManus (Shawshank Redemption), Cynthia Watros (LOST), and Mary Birdsong (Reno 911, The Descendants).

Three years later after a long and road had been traveled, on Saturday, April  27, 2013, our film screened at The United Film Festival in Los Angeles.  To see our film sitting in a real movie theater on the big screen is a feeling I will cherish for the rest of my life. From the moment I walked up to the theater, knowing I was going to watch a movie I wrote and produced, to being given an official film makers badge, to sitting in the theater and watching the film with all the people who helped make it possible and were there to support us was a feeling that I thought would only exist in my wildest dreams. That night was literally a dream come true.
The best thing about the film industry, despite the insanity of it all, is that by being in the business you work everyday to make your dreams come true. It’s incredibly difficult, but incredibly rewarding. You just have to have the guts to dream it in the first place and perseverance to never take no for an answer and as my father said,  never let the bastards get you down. 
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