Ruby Park, Tricia Fukuhara, and Angie Kim toast the film’s completion

Words to live by: Done, done, and done

Well, that's another notch in the ol' filmography: as of last Tuesday, June 25th, 2019, Words to Live by is completely finished. We actually "finished" it nearly a month earlier, but I wasn't happy with the original sound mix, so I hired a new sound editor to essentially start from scratch. That took a while, but now we're done.

We shot Words to Live by way back in February, so it feels like it took an eternity to take it through post production. (That said, friends of mine have been mostly impressed that it "only" took four months to finish this short.) Hence the lack of updates between then and now. But talented people have busy schedules, and a small film like this sometimes needs to sit on the back burner until all the collaborators can find a moment to work on it. I don't mind this at all. I'm just grateful to have landed such fine talents as editor Cheryl Campsmith and sound editor Daniel Russell.

The next goal is obviously to get this film on the festival circuit. Already I've submitted to around two dozen festivals, with at least three dozen more to go. Those later festivals, which mostly take place in the spring of 2020, haven't posted their calls for entries yet; if I get summarily rejected from all the fests I've already submitted to, this may discourage my plans about submitting any further.

What would such rejection say about Words to Live by? I don't know. Although I feel like I'm too close to it, and I need to pull it out of my brain for a few weeks, I do like the film very much; I think it has some wonderful performances (especially from Angie Kim, Armando Torres, and Leandro Cano, as they have the most screen time) and I love the visual work done by cinematographer Andie Ximenes and colorist Tristan Seniuk. But I took a few offbeat narrative risks, inserting some light moments into a relatively dark storyline (the film's about a man considering suicide, and the burden he places on a stranger to talk him out of it), and I have no idea whether this will work for any of the festivals that I have submitted to. Hopefully some, at least, will find it a poignant and human film worth sharing with their audiences. We shall see.