A Lesson in Newness

For me, this weekend at Fresh Coast Film Festival — and arguably the last two years — has been a lesson in newness. 

I have been new at more in these last two years than any other two years in my life. Except maybe my first two years. But in lieu of learning to walk and talk and do the things that are a foundation of being a human, I've learned to not be afraid to be new — and sometimes really bad — at things.

During the last two years, I've been new to Spanish and spey casting. I've been new to banjo and woodworking. I've also been new to firefighting, which was probably the scariest thing I've ever been new at. 

And this last month, I've picked up another thing to be new at: filmmaking. 

I'm the first to admit that my film (Wildfires in Wild Places) doesn't have the best filming or the crispest narration; yet, I showed it to dozens of people over the last few days, and am sharing it publicly today. Hundreds of people will see that I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to making films. 

But I've embraced the newness, and am immensely grateful to those that embrace it with me. I am indebted to the people that convince me to keep being new at things, to do the things I don't know how to do and to do them imperfectly and unapologetically. In that regard, I owe a huge thanks to the masterminds, volunteers, filmmakers and attendees at Fresh Coast Film Festival, all of whom inspired this post and have ignited in me a passion for filmmaking that I had known was laying dormant, unused and pushed away. Many thanks, also, to organizer Aaron Peterson for telling me to not lose sleep over not having fancy fonts or clean transitions and to just tell my story by whatever means and skills I have, and for giving me an audience and a sense of belonging in a community I never thought I'd be a part of. I can't wait to make my next film, and I truly can't wait to attend the festival again next year.

So, if there's anything I've learned in the last two years, it's not necessarily how to edit a video well, or play complicated banjo licks, or effectively spey-cast without getting tangled in my own line; I have, however, learned that if I keep doing a thing, I'll get better. I'll learn. And, eventually, I won't be new anymore.