Reel Stories

Tell Us Something brings live storytelling back to The Wilma on October 1st, 2015 . Storytellers will share their true personal story without notes on the theme “Reel Stories”.

Tell Us Something awakens imagination, empowers storytellers and connects the Missoula community through the transformative power of personal storytelling. It is a celebration of each other, our stories and how we move through the world together. All of the stories at Tell Us Something are true.

Doors at 6PM, storytelling begins at 7PM. Your community, your stories.

Zac Thomas and a wandering band of gypsy artists find extraordinary generosity in unlikely places.

Transcript : Gratitude

Since the day my professional career began, I have been in debt. We walked out of the University of Montana and we walked into Butte this gaggle, this rabble of gypsy artists and decided to produce original theater in that town. We had nothing. We had no money. We just had this vision of street theater, which quickly became a vision of our own place, and we went out looking for just a little spot. A little hole in the wall. Within a month, we had multiple locations.

My entire family had stepped up to the plate and offered money, and then the city of Butte came forward and gave us a five story red-brick church for a grand total of one dollar. And my family came forward with another $250,000 for renovations and they told us that that was not nearly enough. That it would take $3,000,000 over the course of two years to renovate this building into a functional theater. And with the work of my father and my mother and my counterparts and Bob Lackala and Big Chief we grinded out $3,000,000 worth of renovation in seven months.

And that is my family giving up every single solitary second of their free time to paint this building. My mother to design the layout. She sewed every single curtain in the building by hand. My father was up on extension ladders 45-50 feet high in the air painting single pipes, re-plastering the ceiling, building in the stages. They drove to Southern California to a Baptist church and picked up 229 used lime green theater seats and drove them all the way back to Montana. We buckled them down to the floor and we rushed and we scrambled and we cut corners and the city came out and they gave us grants. And the population came out and they gave us money to fund everything and the thing about our group was we were writing all original, but we were also writing things that were multi-disciplined.

We mixed film with live theater with live music with recorded music but the film meant that we had to be out in the community. And again, we are flat broke and so the community donated every single location. Every single property came out of the Butte Thrift Store, or a Butte antique store. Our meals were provided by our family, and over the course of four years, it came to the point where my parents actually evacuated their own home and allowed–and slept in the basement for four months so my rabble of friends could overtake their house and live in it and create insane theater.

And over the course of those four years, I mean the amount that were offered for was truly unbelievable and it ended up eventually crashing in a bad way and we kept on moving right through into the film Seven Eves,  Mark Nordhagen’s film which was primarily shot in Butte, Montana. And the city of Butte, Montana came forward, they did road closures for us, they offered us money and incentives, and every single location that that film was set in was provided freely to us. My uncle pulled out his vintage cars, Mick O’Brien used car dealer offered us up a white Cadillac. We burned and shot the hell out of another used car that we got for $150. We were offered literally 16 full giant boxes of hardback books for $100 from the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, which should have really cost us like thousands of dollars, but they were like, “Please get them the hell out of my face.” And they offered that up. And then the local talent that comes in works for free, and offers their bodies, the Cavalier Lounge, the Finland Hotel, the Silver Dollar Bar. Over the course of four months, we shot in every single beautiful place that we could think of in Butte, Montana. We were never charged a single dime for any of it.

Skip forward to–to The Triangle. And we go out into the middle of nowhere, and again there is very little budget for something like this. This endeavor is psychotic and we are in very real need of a friend and Gabe Clark’s aunt and uncle step up to the plate and provide us land. And they provide us time and they provide us resources and the bus that so many people have come to love and work on. That comes forward, and that’s offered up and our community of gypsies comes out and offers their time basically freely, and the town of Winnett, Montana offers us this backdrop and all of these people come out and they give testimonials. And the bartenders are just welcoming to us and they throw parties and we have it out, and we don’t have a dime.

We move out of that story and into The Orphan Girl last year, where the city of Butte comes out for this major production as far as the town is concerned and we are offered up locations that are so unique that they could never be duplicated anywhere else. Giant freestanding galas frames that over the course of the last 80 years have been restored and reclaimed and kept beautiful. And architecture that you couldn’t possibly duplicate and it is offered up to this band of people that no one really knows, save for four or five local artists that are affiliated with the film. People bring us into their homes, they offer us meals, and these are local working families with five children of five different age ranges that are mixing in – creating this huge meal for 40 people in their house while shuffling their children off to soccer practice and Taekwondo and they are embracing to us and they push us through this insane process that was actually very costly, but still it wasn’t costly in terms of what the community received.

We move forward into Love Like Gold, and I show up into Eureka, Montana –- which I had never been. And the people are instantly warm, and every craftsman, fine craftsman in this community step up and they are making knives and they are making space for us to sleep and they are providing us with food, and they are bringing us into their homes where we are shooting the film while someone is actually cooking the meal. And we are sitting with their children and we have nested in with them and they are welcoming us into their homes and into their hearts and it is amazing.

And I wonder you know, why? Why do these people in our communities step up to the plate to gift us these things? To offer this stuff forward and you know, is it that there’s this, this hope for economic boons, or that they’re -– you know, are they bored out of their minds and here, this is going on. Or are they interested in the film industry? Or is it just in, simply in their nature to give to something that needs? And I think that that’s true, but I think that the heart of the reason is that they hope so genuinely that one of these young people in their community might just crawl out and find some poor in this insane industry and break through and become something successful. Something grand, that they might just do it. And through that they would well up with pride and that pride would just impregnate the entirety of their community and it would drive the next generation of artists, it might inspire them in some way and they would know that they had a hand in fostering that thing.

And we look at these communities sometimes as something outside of the project. It is where we are doing it but they’re surrounding it, not immersed into it and that is just not the case. I feel like when we are immersed in these communities and they’re giving over to us that they are as much a part of our team. As much a part of the company as anyone else is, and they deserve to share in the congratulations and in the glory of that project. And I’m not sure that I have ever offered that up, and so I want to, I want to, I want to shout that from the rooftops. I want to say Butte, Montana look at the team we are! Missoula, Montana man, it is a hell of a thing to have you at my hip! Hey, Winnett, Montana, my god! Look at what we’ve done together! Eureka, stand up look out, congratulations, we’ve done it! We’ve freakin’ done it!

And I hope they feel that, I want them to and that congratulations is just a petty thing. It’s a beginning of a greater conversation that we need to have as an industry. I think that we need to make it an industry standard that we are giving back to these communities as much as they are giving us and we need to begin that conversation from a place of sincerest gratitude.

Allison Whitmer recounts her unexpected job expectations while producing a film in Milwaukee. Time is running out as she tries to properly dispose of the remains of her producer's deceased pet.

Transcript : Here Kitty, Kitty

So when I was visiting, earlier with these guys about what kind of stories to tell, we decided to do a classic film technique and focus group my three stories. so, you get to choose. My stories probably could use the guidance of Mr. Grady’s crow, and here are the titles: “The Day I Took the Producer’s Dead Cat to the Veterinarian”, “The Jungle Room”, and “How I Shot the Last Sleeping Deer on the Crow Reservation”. So, you get to pick! [AUDIENCE SHOUTING SUGGESTIONS] “The Dead Cat”, oh good. We love the dead cat!

Alright, so I come from a ranch and farm in Eastern Montana. My grandfather came here in 1915, and I grew up on the Assiniboine – Sioux Indian Reservation. So, I’m a little pragmatic, I guess is the word for it, and so I come from films from a production perspective. It’s all about getting things done, and my goal is to get things done.

So, I’m on location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in Milwaukee — I’ve been traveling around the Midwest making movies, and I happen to be on the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson. And we had been filming this Harley Davidson extravaganza, with pretty cool people. Like, I’m not into motorcycles, but I got to take Jay Leno through like the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Museum. We like [whispered] “tell it’s his motorcycle”. So, I’m having a pretty good day, and we survive the last night of the Harley Davidson extravaganza, in which over 100,000 bikers gathered in a field to watch the headliner of the Harley Davidson concert, who was Elton John. Does the word riot come to mind? Yes.

OK, so I have been with this major New York production company who has been hired to produce the behind the scenes – all the big stuff on this screens we’ve been shooting, we’re crazy. And what we have done is the good people of Milwaukee have wisely packed up and left town, wisely. And we have rented an array of houses in the Milwaukee University district. Big beautiful three- four story Victorian ten bedroom houses, gorgeous houses. And today is Sunday, and we are packing up and leaving town, so we have editing equipment, and crews and truck and people and flights, and there’s a lot of stuff going on. So, I am running a whole crew of people who are going to clean out all of these houses and put all of their furniture back, and put all of this editing equipment into trucks and we’re going to drive away from Milwaukee. Think Keystone Cops, doors doors doors doors doors, stairs stairs stairs stairs stairs, trucks trucks trucks trucks trucks. OK, I have my whole day planned. Chugga chugga chugga chugga, alright.

So, I go down to breakfast, 7 o’clock in the morning, and I hear someone weeping, and it is my producer, who is this lovely woman from New York, who has brought her pets out from her – from New York. And one of them has been ill, and it turns out over breakfast I find out that one of her pets has died. I’m like OK, I’m very sorry, your pet died, breaks my heart, I really need to go. I have stuff – I’m really sorry, but I have stuff to do, and you have a plane in like three hours, like you need to be on a Milwaukee airport plane, going to New York. Tears, tears, tears. And I’m still, you know, work friendly with this woman to this day, um, so I go off and I start preparing my day and I’m waiting for my crew to show up, and I’ve got people coming in to do all of these things. And I turn around and she’s holding a towel. And in this towel is an object, and the object is her dead cat.

And she’s weeping, and she’s like, “What do I do with my cat?”

And my Eastern Montana brain says, “Um, well. You can throw it away – I mean it’s dead, right? It’s dead. No one cares about your cat anymore.” I’m like there’s a garbage bin out back, I can throw it away. I can freeze it and mail it to you, through the Postal Service. $17.95 – one dead cat. I’m like, “I can dig a hole in the backyard and bury it, or I’m like you know, you can have your cat cremated and they can send your ashes to New York.”

And I turn around and I dash off to do something. A couple of minutes later she tracks me down again, and but this time I’m like, I have so much to do, why are you still talking to me? And she’s like “I want you to find a veterinarian and cremate my cat and have the ashes sent to New York.” I’m like “OK, whatever.”

And she says, “I want you to have this taken care of before I leave on the plane today.”

Uh huh. Did I mention it’s Sunday? Yeah, when 10,000 people are leaving Milwaukee. Uh, so all of my work comes to a halt, this is the producer. I’m like, “Mike, I can’t get fired. It’s really impossible.” I was fired once for losing a piece of paper that I never had, um, that was entertaining. But yes, I’m like, “Mike, I, I cannot get fired. Because people don’t fire me that ask me to do crazy things like find veterinarians for their dead cats.

So, um, this is pre-Internet. I mean the internet is like a baby with one tooth, um, it’s like AOL or nothing. Um, and there’s no smart phones and there’s no text messaging. So I find a Milwaukee phone book in this poor woman’s house we’re living in and I call every single veterinarian in Milwaukee. I find a veterinarian that is open on Sundays. Yay, angels! I get in the minivan, well no, I don’t get in the minivan yet, but I make an appointment because you have to make an appointment to see this veterinarian. So in the meantime I have to wait for my van because someone else has it down the street, so I’m hanging out on the front lawn where I have all of this work to do with cleaning out all of these houses and turning them back to the good people of Milwaukee.

So as my crew shows up for the day, they say, “what do you have in your arms?” and I’m like “Wanna pet the kitty? Right here.” They run in horror, I maintain my hold on the lovely cooling dead cat, and finally my van shows up. Kitty cat goes in the passenger seat, I considered a seat belt and went eh, whatever. Off I go, like this is me and the producer’s credit card going to the veterinarian. Off I go, I drive and I drive and I drive and I drive and I drive, now I’m 20 minutes away from my location and I have found the veterinarian and I go into the veterinarian’s office, with my package and I say, “Hi! I am here with my – my deceased animal, who needs to be turned into a little box of ashes and sent to New York.”

And she goes, “Great! Sit right over there and you’ll be next up in a few minutes to see the veterinarian.”

I’m like, “Uh, can I just give you my cat?”

She’s like, “No, you have to see the veterinarian first.”

She obviously has no joy in her job.

So I take my towel wrapped package and I sit down with all these other people with their cats and their dogs and their birds, and I wait. And I wait. And then I wait some more. And pretty soon I am very anxious because by this time, the clock is ticking, because one of our houses is owned by a lawyer who has taken his whole family to Colonial Williamsburg for the week who is returning at noon, and expects to be able to walk into his house as beautiful as the day he left it. Only he doesn’t know that we have completely destroyed his house. We’ve moved all the furniture, we’ve rearranged all the rooms, we’ve taken down all the curtains, and 35 people have been living in his house. And I’m the one responsible for turning this house back to him at noon. OK, finally my turn comes at the vet. I’m very excited, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp.

I go over, he says, “Oh, put your pet on the table.”

And I do this, and I’m standing and I’m like, “Come on, I have places to be!”

And he unwraps the cat and he looks at it and he pulls out his little stethoscope and he puts it on the cat and there’s a moment and he looks at me and he says, “Ma’am. This cat’s dead.”

And I’m like thank god! The Cat’s really dead! And I said, “Great, how much does it cost to cremate him and send him to New York?”

And he says, “That’ll be $100, fill out this form.”

So I’m like, fill it out, fill it out, fill it out, fill it out, fill it out. Great and I said, “Is there anything else I need to do?”

He’s like, “Do you want the towel?”

“No! You can keep the towel, donate it to the cats in the back room.” Great, this transaction is finished. I look at my watch, I’m like, I have got to get back!

So, I dashed back and we do a Keystone Cops routine. Up and down the stairs and stuff and stuff and stuff and the housekeeper shows up and is like, “Oh no! All this furniture’s in the wrong place!” And we move it around and move it around and move it around, meanwhile the producer keeps calling me to find out when the cremated remains of the cat will arrive in New York City, and I’m like, “At Tuesday, right?” I’m lying, I don’t care. And we close the front door to the house as the truck full of equipment backs out of the back door and the lawyer and his three nice children drive in from Colonial Williamsburg. Ugh, thank god. And that is the day that I took the producer’s dead cat to the veterinarian. [CLAPPING]

Joseph Grady shares a story about sitting drunk in a field full of ramshackle abandoned, decaying buildings and the conversation he has with a crow that changes his life.

Transcript : Conversation With Crow

Amazing to be in such company. I’ll start by saying that. I want to tell you a story about a crow. It’s kind of a transformative story as well.

I’m a drunk and a horse thief. Wait, it gets better. That’s actually how a lot of people in the sober community refer to themselves when they straighten up, fly right.

I started drinking when I was 21 years old, by the way, this is not an AA meeting. I started drinking when I was 21, and that first experience I blacked out. Which should’ve told me something, but I really took to it, or rather it took to me. However you want to look at it, and off I went.

Let me back up real quick. I was born in Browning Montana. I’m an enrolled Blackfeet Nation member. My parents died when I was very young, just a baby, and I was adopted off of the reservation by an Irishman and a woman who was Swedish German. Beautiful people, some of the most beautiful people that I know. I grew up in Catholic school and public school, like many many people in the United States. The suburban central Arizona, Indiana, Washington. Parts of Montana. My father’s a professor of electrical engineering dragged us around the country. Very smart man.

To get back to the story, after taking those first drinks I drank for the next 17 years. I started my day with a jug of wine, and that was my lunch, my dinner, my dessert, that was actually my life. There’s a son in there as well, who was born at the beginning of this downward spiral. And the downward spiral started very, very quickly, much to my chagrin. I was homeless throughout most of that, disconnected from my kid. We didn’t connect with each other until much later on in life.

Public school did a deplorable job of informing me about Native American people. I was a little bitter about that. I don’t have as long an acting career as many of the people here. My first role was the Native American in the Thanksgiving pageant as a child and subsequently every Thanksgiving after that. That being said, by the time I was out of high school and had graduated, I was over mascots, the Bellingham high school Red Raiders. I was over the Thanksgivings, I was over the Columbus days. I was so freaking sick and tired of it, because I had no idea who I was.

The only person that I had ever connected to, who was Blackfoot, in my life, was James Welch. It was a book that I had found when I was a child called the earth, Riding the Earthboy, Riding the Earthboy 40. It was a book of poetry, and there was one poem in particular that stood out to me. I won’t share it with you tonight. Suffice to say, that was kind of a huge role model for me. Something I was very disconnected from.

Moving forward, I went on from high school, to this lengthy homeless tirade. Where I went through friends, I went through women, I went through jobs like they were going out of style. The last job I lost was right here in Missoula, Montana. A little restaurant that had just opened up.

Subsequently, I had been fired for being drunk on the job. I had been kicked out of the home I was at. I had lost connection with my son again. I hadn’t eaten in three days I was sort of lost. A couple bottles of wine in my bag, my backpack. That’s where I lived, was used to living there.

So at the end of this, I was sitting in a field, in a little place that’s now known as the Old Mill District, I think that’s what it’s called. It used to be an open field with nothing but crumbling concrete, weeds, refuse, old broken buildings. Quite appropriate for how I was feeling. Felt right at home.

As I sat there that day, drinking my breakfast of wine, feeling like I’m going to go back home to Washington with my tail between my legs and my kid off somewhere. I don’t know what’s going to happen. After a short while, this kind of fog lifted, if you will. It’s like the booze wasn’t working. It’s like it was just very clear, and situated to my right, on this concrete piling, this old sort of slanted broken piece sticking up out of the ground.

There was a crow, there were several others around. They were flying around, but this one was a little bit different. It spoke to me. I didn’t know what to do with that. So I continued, I had this conversation if you will. Talk about an existential crisis. There I stood, or sat rather, with this bird, and it was telling me things.

As it spoke something became very clear to me. I was thinking about Native American history. Thousands of years of Native American history. Suddenly, just hit me like a fist, like a memory almost. There was a clarity to it, a deep fulfilling breath. I asked the bird, “What about all of this religion stuff, and stuff I grew up in? I’m lost and I don’t know what to do.” “Give it up. Put it on the ground and leave it. Leave it for the spirits.”


Well, I kind of went on. I listened a little longer and after a while, I was just sitting there alone. I was drunk, felt like I had just come out of a blackout. Which I had done many, many, many times in my life. Except for I never remembered any of the blackouts. That stuff was just sort of lost to the world, but this was crystalline in my head, what had happened. It was clear, and the thing I realized in that moment is that I don’t have to do this anymore.

So, I stood up and I went across the river and I checked into this hotel. I had a couple hundred bucks in my pocket, and I rented a room. I detoxed in that room. I spent about a week in there convulsing, seizing, throwing up. By the time I could keep a glass of water down, and a little bit of food, my time was up in the room.

And what I realized at that moment was that it doesn’t matter if I’m homeless, penniless, jobless, no prospects. I’m going to stay here, and I’m going to be with my kid. I’m going to figure it out, because I’m going to listen to that bird.

I moved on, of course, and I haven’t, that was October 11th, 2006, and I haven’t had a drink since. Thank you. Turns out this is an AA meeting. Alright, this doesn’t have to stay here by the way.

Alright, so, I have this experience and I’ve every moment since that point, I take that with me. I wake with it, and I say thank you. I think about that bird. I go to bed I thank that bird. I’ve been through school, I’ve acted. I’ve been around amazing people. The first role I was cast in was Winter in the Blood, a James Welch story. It was a bucket list moment, full circle.

The thing I’ve come to learn throughout all of this, aside from being an actor, not being an actor, telling stories etc. is that the Blackfeet are storytellers. That’s who we are. We share with community, and that’s the thing I took away that day with that bird. Ever since that moment, all of that disconnect, and loss is completely gone. I feel like I’m part of a community. It’s unbelievable, for a guy who was looking at the possibility of just checking out.

I’m going to end with this real quickly. I was invited to the home of Lois Welch, where James used to sit and think, and I sat for a moment, out by this, on this wood carved seat. And it wasn’t like everything had started to make sense. That feeling of being part of something actually became real. I felt inspired. I wanted to help my friends. I wanted to be a part of something much larger, and it was the most humbling experience of my life. To be in that place in that moment. So I thank that crow for all of these experiences, whatever comes next. I’m going to capitalize on it. I’m going to make the most of it. Life is really juicy now, I really love that.

Anyway, that’s all I have.

Following your dreams can feel like getting bucked off of a horse. Lily Gladstone shares her story about the time that she finally gave Chance a chance.

Transcript : Real Role

So, I had a very very large career shift this last year.

This is Reel Stories R-E-E-L, play on words, “reel” being film. Something that stands out to me especially after Mike saying it, film does kind of, it’s there forever, crystallizes these moments in time.

So, to give you some context, last year, in, well this last year in April wrapped on a film that was then called the Untitled Kelly Reichardt Project. Those of you that don’t know Kelly Reichardt, she’s a fantastic independent director who shoots film 16mm now what is called “Livingston”. It is now in color correction, and with any luck, with any luck and a lot of talent, it will maybe be at Sundance. It will maybe be screening in lots of festivals around the world.

So, this is not the first incredible film or reel story that I can tell, but it is a strange little holding place right now. So, just going to share what I know as an actress, three things that most actors can identify with. Your work is not compelling or interesting if you don’t have objective, if you haven’t made a choice. Good stories rarely happen if there’s not something about them that feels a little …magical, a little by chance. And three, you get really, really used to rejection. After the rejection happens it’s like getting thrown from a horse. It’s like suffering an injury. Your character is really defined by, do you get back on the horse or do you just let it go?

So after being an actress for the better part of my life, facing lots of rejection, I kind of reached this point where I decided that a lot of the roles that I’m going to be going for are not ones that I am going to be too excited about. The ones that I am excited about come by rarely. But can I build a life on that? So, I decided maybe make a choice to do something different than acting.

Now about this time last year, those of you who want some context this is my second Tell Us Something this year. And I won’t say much about it, but go to the Podcast and I have an episode that’s there now called “Choice and Chance”. There’s a recurring character that pops up in my stories now, both as the person, and as the concept of Chance. About this time last year, I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. Stay on the horse of acting where you continually get bucked off and hurt and heartbroken and then just dust yourself off and get right back on. And I was seeing, a guy, very briefly, who I’d taken to call Chance because that’s kind of what he represented in a way. And, I’d been bucked from a horse earlier that year. A five and a half year relationship ended. So, this essentially was a rebound, and it was awkward.

We were having a conversation one morning where I was just not wanting to process any of it. He was trying to make small talk, admitted that he had looked me up on Google, saw my IMDB page, and was asking me about some of the films I had been in. I didn’t really want to talk about it, because it was kind of heartbreaking to give up acting, but seemed like the responsible thing to do. So, I didn’t really talk about it much, and then he asked me, “Well, what do you think about acting?” And I just looked at him and all that I could think of was the rejection. The committing to characters that you maybe half believe in. Not the case for a lot of my work, but a good part of it, and I just looked at him and said, “I fucking hate it.” And I knew I was lying but I also knew I was telling the truth, and then he was oddly really encouraging. He was saying, “Well it looks like this film Winter in the Blood might be doing pretty well. Maybe you should ride it out a little bit.” And I said, “Yeah, I love it, it’s great. I’m doing everything I can to make it get out there, but I don’t know.”

After this conversation, the next day, People Magazine featured Winter in the Blood as a People Pick. So that was a nice little, “Oh, well, maybe I should stay on the horse a little longer”. Chance and I saw each other for a little bit after that, but I got thrown from that horse too, and it really hurt. Almost more than the horse that I had gotten thrown from earlier that year. I spent all fall shaking the dust off. Healing my breaks. And I did so at home with my folks, processing.

Do I want to move somewhere where I push the acting career? Do I want to commit to a community that I love? Do I stay here in Seattle and be the kid to my parents for awhile?

And at one point I just looked at myself, I looked at my parents, who had been struggling with some health issues, and decided that if I’d stayed I would end up being there forever. I would be the only child taking care of my aging parents, and that would be my story. So, their fine. It’s kind of the story I was telling myself.

So, I ran from home. Not too far, though, came back to Missoula here. And one thing I love about this community, and particularly the community that was built around Winter in the Blood, was written by one of my favorite authors of all time James Welch, adapted by the sons Alex and Andrew Smith of Annick Smith a producer of A River Runs Through It. And she has a film, Heartland, screening in the festival. So when I was transitioning back to Missoula I was staying in Annick Smith’s cabin. And an origin story of Winter in the Blood is my friend, and dear community member of this lovely film community, Ken White was watching her place in the middle of winter, snowed in with a bout of insomnia, pulled Winter in the Blood off the shelf and decided that it needed to be made into a film. That’s where that one started.

So I was in Annick’s house. I was feeling the sacredness of this place. All of the creativity that had been seeped into the rafters over so many years. And I just did not want to make my choice. I didn’t want to choose acting, I wanted it to choose me. I wanted Chance to choose me. So, I just, let go. I was in Annick’s house. I let it go to the house. Whatever magic was in this place, whatever creative spirit lives in this house, It’s up to you. Either I stay here and I build a career working with kids, fostering and supporting their creativity, or I push my own. But I don’t want to decide, Chance can decide for me.

Next day, I get an audition notice for the Untitled Kelly Reichardt Project, and it’s an ethnically specific role. Which I’m used to seeing Native American and white, but it’s not typically what you see in projects like this. I recognized Kelly’s name immediately. I love her films, one being, Wendy and Lucy, Old Joy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves. Couldn’t believe it. I looked at the cast list for the other characters. Oh, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams…OK. Well, let’s just see what this character is about, probably about five minutes of screen time. Last thirty-five percent of the film, leading role, compelling story of a ranch hand who was snowed in, in a cabin, over the winter. Kind of in the throes of her first existential crisis, in my opinion. Deciding what she wanted to do, and by Chance, a really beautiful opportunity passes through.

So, I submitted my audition. I got cast, and I don’t really know what’s going to happen, but the real story behind that character when you’re if, and I know that people are going to see it. It kind of goes back to that conversation that I had that morning with Chance. I don’t fucking hate acting, I love it. I’m really thankful that Chance is the concept, even if Chance’s character chose me, deemed me worthy, and gave me this incredible role where my character refuses to get thrown off the horse. It happens over and over again, but she always gets back on. That’s all I’m going to say about that film. Look for it when it’s out next year. It’s called “Livingston” starring Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, and Lily Gladstone. Thank you.

Getting lost in Saint Louis on the way home from the airport, noticing a potential safety hazard on set and pointing it out to the creative director & missing a phone call are all reasons to get fired from a job in the late 1990’s Hollywood. Mike Steinberg recounts the details surrounding each one of these incidents reflecting on the true meaning of film making.