The Struggles and Triumphs of a Dream: Shooting Revolver

A Peek of Still Footage from Revolver:
RevolverScreenGrab-26
One thing I have learned in the past 30 days…
Dreams are not sane.
You have to be willing to journey to the Seventh Circle of Hell if you want them.
Vehicle breakdowns.
Burned out clutches.
Flash floods in Nebraska.
Tire Blow-Outs.
Begging favors.
Pleading for permits.
Going renegade.
The band of us working morning, noon and night to make this work.
“No sleep til Brooklyn” has never meant more than now.
There will be no sleep until the Mothership rolls across the country and back to Brooklyn.

You push yourself until you feel like you can’t anymore and then something in you keeps going.
And then you see the story, the art that the entire crew created together
and you know that when you look back on this moment
this moment
is the time you will remember most fondly.

Cinematographer Marshall Rose and Burke Heffner discussing shots.

Cinematographer Marshall Rose and Director Burke Heffner catching a beautiful sunset.

There are 13 of us.
And a chihuahua.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.46.42 PM

Makeup Superstar, Allison Elizabeth with Revolver Mascot (leader of the Wolf Pack), Niney.

And there are countless people on the way that have helped us with kindness more than they will know.
There is you.

Kurt Schwarz as Chuck in a Revolver Still Film Still.

Kurt Schwarz as Chuck in a Revolver Still Film Still.

And there are sunsets across this beautiful land that have awed us.
There are things we’ve never seen before.

Sound Mixer, Bill Hennessy, walks into the sunrise.

Sound Mixer, Bill Hennessy, walks into the sunrise.

There are days when the weather shines on us and Colorado Rocky Mountain passes are opened to us for the most gorgeous footage we’ve seen.
There are days when the locals have pitched in and made our film that much better.
There are days when we meet kind people who own junkyards and let us shoot chase scenes in them weaving through the cars – and they let us shoot all day for free and bring donuts and coffee.

A screen grab of footage from Revolver.

Police Chase Still from Revolver.

There are days when we have unlimited access to the most incredible abandoned motel/convenience store and restaurant from the 1930s that I’ve ever seen and we are given the keys for days…just because.
There are days when we arrive at a country hideout in the badlands with the most amazing food and company and warm candlelight.
There are nights when the stereo turns on in the Mothership and we dance until we can’t anymore….
under the moon
on the wild roads of America.
There are nights when we howl at the moon…
when we make campfires under stars.

RevolverScreenGrab-1

Sunset on the Mountains – A Still from Revolver.

We are living.
I have never been more alive than I have been in the last month.
Never.
Exhausting.
Terrifying.
Challenging.
Exhilarating.
Rewarding.
Breath-taking.
Mind-blowing.
Once in a lifetime.
Burke-Heffner.jpg

The first time I watched the footage we got
I cried.

RevolverScreenGrab-32

An exhausted Blue faints – a still from Revolver.

I know what we have.
I believe in it more than I believe in anything.

And I wouldn’t trade anything for this moment.

Revolver Film Still

Walking off into the sunset.  A still from Revolver.

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Revolver and the Abandoned Places on the Edge of the World.

veronica-varlow.jpg
There comes a moment when the road opens…
It wants to test you.
It wants to throw the curves of itself at you marked with yellow lines.
And then it decides that you’re worthy at one point.
And everything opens.
Brett-Knott.jpg
We found ourselves at the abandoned places again.
A motel from the 1930s that’s been shuttered for 10 years.
A restaurant abandoned with schedules for 6 years ago still pinned to the cork board and menus still left on the remaining tables.
Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.45.34 PM
We film the things
lost
hidden
left behind.
Burke-Heffner.jpg
We shoot with the ghosts of this town.
This sign lit up for the first time in ten years last night as the sun set.
Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.53.58 PM
The Revolver Wolf Pack watched the sky change and celebrate the end of another successful shooting day.
Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.53.26 PM
Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 4.46.21 PM
I cannot wait for you to see the magic we’ve been creating on the road.
Want to join us on our journey?
We’re headed to:
Cheyenne, Wisconsin
Kremmling, Colorado
Moab, Utah
St. George, Utah
Newberry Springs, California
Do you have a car and want to help us run around and go on this adventure with us?
Email me at veronica at dangerdame dot com and put Team Revolver in the subject heading.
Off we go for one more day at the abandoned motel!
I’ll say hello to the ghosts for you…..

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Leave a comment

Making an Independent Film: Going Cross-Country with Revolver

1968-Chevy.jpg
Our 1968 Chevy leads the way.
Pocket and Blue are finally coming to life.
The dream we’ve had for 10 years, just hit the road five days ago.
pocket-and-blue.jpg
Rocking it out on the first day with Revolver Make Up Artist Allison Elizabeth, who kicks serious ass.
Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 6.10.03 AM

The Revolver Crew gets the pick up ready to shoot.
revolver-movie-crew.jpg
Luckily, we have a fully licensed safe driver to take all of us cross country.
Dog-drives-a-truck.jpg
The Revolver Crew custom built the inside of this rig – so we can sleep all 13 of us as we make our way across the country.
This black beauty was deemed The Mothership.
Our little driver gets out for her required break.
Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 11.53.02 AM
Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.21.31 PM
We hit the road and drive 62 hours cross country.
The crew rocks the caffeine at a truck stop.
revolver-crew.jpg
Within 24 hours, we had two tires blow out on our trailer because of the rough roads.
Who needs Triple A when you’ve got these guys?
breakdown-on-highway.jpg
Breakdowns.
Tire blow-outs.
A road completely washed out road where we were supposed to shoot a scene.
None of these obstacles were going to get us down.
And then google maps told us to take this road…..
fail-road.jpg
And we said Hell-to-the-NO.
We stuck our middle fingers up at it,
and drove ON.
The mighty Revolver crew forged ahead…
and to the Largest Truck Stop in the World in Iowa!
At 2:30am, this photo was taken there – I may or may not be having a breakdown.
You decide.
baby-bib.jpg
We drove all night under the stars,
all cuddled together in the bus,
watching the world go by.
As the sun rose, we scrambled out of the bus
a flurry of clothes flying out of suitcases,
coffee being made,
a wolf pack of wild adventurers
chasing after the dream.
We piled out in Alliance, Nebraska to CARHENGE.
You might remember this photo from our original scout during the Kickstarter.
carhenge.jpg
And now….the hope that I could shoot here when I first saw it,
was finally happening all around us.
We shot all day into the night,
wandering through the vintage cars as the sunset
and the wide Nebraska sky turned into another gorgeous starry night.
revolver.jpg
To Be Continued…..
Follow our Revolver Adventures by liking us on Facebook HERE.
We are truly independent – rocking out our dream with the help of people like you.
Wanna be a part of our team?
We will be posting our locations soon so if you want to help us run errands, make phone calls, and be awesome in general….
leave a note in the comments – we would love to hear from you!
Back to the set!

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Beat Social Anxiety – 4 Real Life Tips.

witch.jpg
I’m rocking out with my Revolver planning right now – so I wanted to share this with you once more because it was pretty damn important.
I jumped a life hurdle for me on Saturday night:

I went back to the club that I used to go every weekend with my best friend, Jeff, for the very first time since he passed away.

I was on a mission.
I had to do it alone.

I always want to share with you the personal struggles I go through and how I try and navigate them, so maybe some of these tips might help you guys, too.

I smeared on black eyeliner, red lipstick and pinned broken pearls into my hair.
I drove 45 minutes.
“Wish You Were Here” came on the radio.
I sang along loudly and rolled down the windows.
I was very aware of the empty seat next to me
after all those years of doing this drive together.

I parked
and I stayed in the car for 10 minutes
seized with fear.

What the hell am I doing?
Maybe I should just turn around…..
go home and close the door on this.

But I got out of the car and walked in the club.
Nothing had changed in the years it’s been since I was last here with Jeff.

Here’s the different things that pulled me away from crying and sulking by myself in a corner and I wanted to share:

♥  Act Like You Own It, Bitch.

Tip: Words are Wands – our minds can tear us apart with them, or build us up. Think something wildly bold, something that you would never say out loud even and keep repeating it in your mind…like “I OWN this place”.   Now notice what it does for your body language.   I bet you’re not slumping down anymore, right?

Real Life Story: I show up and there’s exactly 8 people there. I sit by myself against the wall. Everyone else was there with a friend or in a group of people. I immediately felt out of place, super self-conscious and social anxiety was seeping in. I had to keep thinking to myself “I belong here, I belong here, I belong here”. Saying those things in my mind, made me sit up straight, made me feel more confident than I was and made me feel better. Before I was kind of hunching back, hiding myself in a corner and it was miserable.

Act like you own the place and you go from that sad kid in the corner to that mysterious figure that people are intrigued by. It takes a lot of guts to sit alone!

♥  Make It A Game.

Tip: Challenge yourself to do something daring.

Real Life Story: After I sat in the corner for an hour and the dance floor finally started getting going – I challenged myself. During the next five songs, I challenged myself to pick one to dance to – no matter what. Then I could leave if I wasn’t feeling it, but at least I wanted to push myself to try.

♣  Do Something – Make a Move, Bust a Move, Action Will Keep You in the Moment.

Tip: Make some action happen! With social anxiety – you need to force it into the corner by doing some action of your own – jump on that dance floor, get up and talk to that person, leap into a group conversation, go grab some drinks for the crowd, do something.

Real Life Story: Finally, Nine Inch Nails came on over the speakers and I moved myself along to the dance floor.   I was nervous at first, looking down at my feet, blocking everything out.  Then all of a sudden, I wasn’t worried about what other people thought, I was in my own world, back in the place I had danced with my friend, Jeff for so many years. It felt like home.

♥ Make Eye Contact with Others.

Tip: Let other people know that you are open to adventure with eye contact. If you’re by yourself – most times a group will pull you in to the fun if you just keep making occasional eye contact.

Real Life Story: As the club started to fill up, I watched while friends and regulars would tackle hug each other on the dance floor. I found myself wishing I knew these people and wishing I could be a part of their friend group. All of a sudden, I felt super alone again, missing Jeff and wondering what I was doing there.

A bunch of them were dancing right near me and I kept being brave and making eye contact. As the next song started, suddenly one of them grabbed me by the hands and pulled me in to dance. Next thing you know, I was dancing like mad with 7 new friends as we hurled each other around on the dance floor.
We closed the club down at 4am.

PS – If you’re one of the kickass people that I met at Respectables on Saturday…thank you. You helped me more than you know.

So what do you guys do when social anxiety hits? Please share in the comments – I want to hear your secrets and tips, too.

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Be Legendary: A Lesson from The Femme Fatales

femme-fatales.jpg“You can’t be afraid to say your own name in the same breath as legends.”

We were in a crowd of people at a party when she said that to me, and something about it struck me.
What makes a “legend”?
What makes us “legendary”?
I looked to some of my ghostly screen mothers for advice and they delivered:

From Marlene Dietrich: Stand Up Tall, Glide Walk and Don’t Be Afraid to Take Up Room to OWN it.

From Lauren Bacall: Look Them In The Eye and Say It Slowly and Confidently.

From Rita Hayworth: You Have The Power To Turn Everything Around.

And do you know what all of these 3 legendary femme fatales have in common?
In interviews later on, while talking about the scenes or films they were doing, they all used one word in common to describe how they felt going into it:
Terrified.

In fact, Dietrich talked about being terrified before shoots, but “faked” keeping calm until something else took over and she became calm and confident. There was a ‘click’ where her confidence would kick in eventually.

Watching them on screen – they seem like they’ve never been afraid of anything in their lives.

One week from now, I will be embarking on the biggest dream of my life, making our cross-country road trip, Revolver.
I am excited and
I am terrified.
At least I have that in common with the legendary femme fatales.

But in the end,
I know that what would be more terrifying
is not doing my dream at all.

Fuck the fear.

And I call the lively spirits of these bad ass women to swirl around me
as I hurl my body into the unknown of my greatest dream.

BRING IT.
veronica-varlow.jpg

What is something you want to push yourself to do that’s terrifying?
Let’s live wild together.

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living In New York City on September 11th: A Remembering

twin-towers.jpg
I took this picture out of my apartment window on a beautiful sunset in July of 2001.
It was the last one I ever took of the Twin Towers.

When I first got to New York City in 1998 and started going to college, I made my living working as a tour guide on the double decker buses.
New York City has always been a love story for me.
It is full of history and stories, poetry and bustling life.
When I arrived in this city – it was more like a sacred pilgrimage than just a ‘move’.
I worked the double decker tour buses, cruising the grids of the city streets every day, sailing out on top in the open air, telling tourists about the stories of the city.
I was lonely.
The buildings were my friends.
I had their stories and their history to build around me.
On Summer nights, I would sit with my legs dangling out of my window, wishing on the red blinking light on top of the second tower of the Twin Towers.

New York City does not give you stars in the sky, but it gives you the glowing lights of the skyline.
So I would wish on the red blinking light on top of the Twin Towers like the North Star.
It was the highest point in the skyline of the city.
It was the god of gotham.

Thirteen years ago, they were evacuating us.
I crossed the Williamsburg Bridge on foot with hundreds of other people when I heard the crashing.
I knew what the sound was.
The blinking light tower fell.
The wishing star was gone.
I didn’t turn around and look.
I leaned against the railing of the bridge with people I didn’t know and cried.

Two hours later, we went to the nearest trauma hospital to the Twin Towers to volunteer.
We waited for them to come in.
Anyone.
Someone we could save.
The firefighters returned with eyes bloodshot from liquid glass.
A man from the Ironworkers Union, a big man, came to me looking for his friends.
They had all rushed into the towers to save people, and the towers started to collapse as he was helping people out. He got separated from his friends and couldn’t find them.
Their names were not on the list of the admitted.
“Could you check again?”
I dragged my finger slowly down the list again
knowing they weren’t there
knowing they were dead
and wishing that I could suddenly make four names appear on that list
that didn’t make it.
I remember looking up at him when the paper ran out, when the names ran out.
“……no?”  he asked.
He sank down on the steps next to me. Put his head in his hands.
I put my arms around him and held him until more people came looking for names on lists.
I never got his name.

The next day their faces were everywhere.
Posted on missing person posters lining the city streets.
I wrote down their names in my journal.
I didn’t want them to be lost.
Writing their names down was my way to try and fight against death.

Three years ago, that journal burned down with my house
and all the names I had written down
drifted away in cursive writing curled smoke.
Some things you cannot hold to
no matter how hard you try.
Some things are not ours to keep.
And no matter how many years pass, no matter how old I get,
I will never understand it.

But on this day
I will
always
remember
you.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Poster That I Didn’t Lose My Virginity Over and Other Weird Things

Photo by Lisa Beebe.
I ran 4 and 1/2 miles.
There was a record store at the end of it.
Albums have stories attached to them.
My fingers found one I wasn’t expecting.

Psychedelic Furs – Talk Talk Talk
Note: Song number 3 “I Wanna Sleep With You”.
psychedelic-furs.jpg

I’m 17.
He’s dyed black hair, moody and 21.
He makes mix tapes. He puts cigarettes out on his arm.
He notices me when I feel invisible.
He nicknamed me “Heroin” because he says I’m addictive and I’ll probably end up killing him.
He’s known me for 3 weeks.

He calls.
You need to sneak out tonight. I’ll pick you up at the park and have you back by 5am. Nobody needs to know.

I can’t.

Come on. If you come, I’ll give you that rare Furs poster that I got with the album in London. The one over my bed. It’s yours. Come get it.

I hesitate. It’s a cool poster.
Wait. What? Fuck that. No.
I can’t.

You’re a baby.

There’s a click and I’m holding a phone in my hand.
He talked to me twice after that.
Within a month,
he slept with my friend
and moved away.
I feel like a baby.

Fast forward to Record Store. Brooklyn. 2014.
The album is in my hands.
Poster Included - the tag reads.
No
fucking
way.

The poster I didn’t lose my virginity over
is finally mine.

Suckers.
Psychedelic-Furs-poster.jpg

Man. Being 17 was so weird.
Anybody ever try to give you a poster for your virginity?
Share in the comments.

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , | Leave a comment