Some encounters are absolutely life-changing. Some experiences are out-of-this-world wonderful. The chance that these two miraculous factors meet one another becomes higher when one is involved in shooting a hippie film... speaking from my experience :-)
To begin with, the two directors and producers Bobby and Andrea have been two of the most amazing, loving and ambitious couple I've met in Los Angeles. They have supported my artistic production in many ways, keeping me absolutely positive that there are people in this country that love my artwork from their hearts.
So when they gathered their crew to shoot the hippie scene with Benny the Bus for Lost in a Sense, it was as if they had summoned all the people that shared and felt a genuine love for the script.
To say the least, it was the most beautiful summer experience I had ever lived through in my life. There are no words sufficient enough to describe the shoot and working with everyone as a whole, felt like. If I can relate it to some kind of state, it is as if I had gone through a lovely Twilight Zone; coming through it with a memory that will always stay with my body and soul and forever changes me.
I absolutely believe that we can all attract what we want whether it's good or bad. What fascinates me quite often is that when looking back at notes that I kept inside my private wish box, I realize many of them had come true. This is about one particular wish of mine that has fortunately been granted with the help of two film makers and people with big hearts.
Bobby White and Andrea Fordham are two brilliant, loving, wonderful film-makers from North Carolina, living and working in L.A. It was in the spring of 2009 that I first came in contact with Bobby, when he sent an email to the fine art department of the art school I had just enrolled in as a grad student. He was seeking an artist who'd be willing to paint a hippie bus for his film Lost in a Sense and I immediately knew it was meant for me.
The hippie culture and psychedelia of the '60s captivated me as a teen when I was going through a tumultuous culture shock. I was born in Japan and came to L.A. at the age of 3 and spent 9 years of my childhood absorbing the Disney colored landscape and Hollywood, America. So when my concerned parents decided to take me back to my home country to balance out my Americanized self a bit, I was enrolled in a private Catholic girl's school.
(destructive sound of shattering glass)
For a teenage kid who was wanting to meet boys, discover the world and have fun, it was hell.
So herein lay the reason for it all. Mostly as a resistance to conform to the Catholic beliefs, ideology and behaviors enforced upon by the school, I was drawn to and admired the counter-cultures that fought institutions. To me, anything "rad" was cool. So when I found out about the 60's, its music, fashion and Height Ashbury, I fell in love. Mainly because of its colorful presence and symbolic fashion, but also the idea of freedom and liberating sexuality. In my case, hippidom was the extreme opposite of the Catholic girl's school world that I was living during my sweet teen years. And seeing all the artwork done during that time, it became a grand dream of mine to paint a hippie bus.
So when the sudden opportunity appeared, I immediately made contact with Bobby and told him I would love to do it. He sent me the short version of the script along with photos of the bus and bus plans. Five days later, I sent him my design that was instantaneously inspired by the script. The rest was history.
We met at a Cheesecake factory in Old Town Pasadena, close from where I lived. Bobby kept asking me if I knew what I was in for. "It's a city transit bus you're painting. Now, that's pretty big." Yes, the size was immense for a small girl like me or for that matter, anyone else, but that was what was so great about the project. My motto is: if I'm gonna do it, go big. Who would have the chance to "hippie" a city transit bus? It was awesome. This night marked the beginning of everything. I've spent days and nights with Bobby and Dre on the beautiful ranch where "Benny" the hippie bus is parked. After days and nights of travelling to Los Alamos, camping out, working hard, getting tired and cranky and inevitably smelly, Benny was completed in September 2010. Magic is what he's become.
We owe our endless thanks to the gracious ranch owners for being so supportive of our film. Lost in a Sense will go into filming this July. To follow the production, please take a look at the sites below for more information. Yay!!
Indie GoGo: http://www.indiegogo.com/Lost-in-a-Sense
Gate City Filmworks Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/20231062@N04/