I feel like this is going to be the hardest blog entry for me to write, so 1) I want to get it out of the way, but 2) and more importantly, it will help people know who I am and get a sense of why I was so excited to form DConstruction Arts with Tavi back in 2014, and what I did before the company was formed.
So, I’ve written dozens of bios for myself over the years, and I will confess that I have hated every single one of them. I hate them for a few reasons. Reason one is that I am not super comfortable with my writing skills and style and I feel like all of that is on full display in my attempts at writing these bios (I’m not any more comfortable or confident writing this, just to be clear, but more on that later. In a different entry where I talk more specifically about identity and insecurity). The second reason that I dreaded those bios was that I get really uncomfortable talking about the things I’ve done that have led me to this point. It’s silly and it doesn’t really make sense, but it’s the truth. I’ve had it happen on more than one occasion that someone has flippantly said something to the effect of “you’re showing off” or “way to make the rest of us look bad” (maybe this has happened to you!) when all I was doing was saying the things that I have done, or enjoying a skill or process. So then I started second guessing myself. I started thinking, “Am I showing off?”, “I wasn’t trying to show off..”, “Can someone show off accidentally? Doesn’t that defeat the whole idea of showing off…”
And it confused me. So I simply stopped talking about what I had done. I stopped telling people that I started working in Chicago Theater (as an Assistant Stage Manager to start, then a Stage Manager, then as a sound mixer and finally a sound designer) completely randomly when I was 15 years old, and kept working my way up and through the Chicago regional theaters until I was 23 years old and moved to Los Angeles.
I stopped telling people that I joined a dance group when I was 11 years old called the Amazonen that performed at German Cultural events like October Fest and Mardi Gras parties. I didn’t talk about how when I joined I was in the back row, and I didn’t even get to perform my first year in the group because I didn’t know the dances well enough. I fail to mention that I worked my way up in the group, little by little until I was a principle dancer and worked with some of the other girls to choreograph dances, create costumes and run our rehearsals. I don’t talk about how I only stopped doing this when I moved to Los Angeles and that for three years while I was in grad school at UCLA I didn’t have time to train dance or perform and I missed it every single day.
I don’t talk much about how I went to UCLA and got a Masters degree in Sound Design for Theater, Film and New Media. I don’t tell people that it was while I was at UCLA that I fell in love with immersive design and interactive media through work with people like David Beaudry and Bruce Vaughn, who I then went on to work with at Walt Disney Imagineering and that those perspectives on storytelling, design and technology has shaped how I think of art and creation today.
I don’t tell many people that I crashed (well was invited, but they didn’t tell the rest of the people there!) a foley recording session on the Oliver Stone film World Trade Center and met one of my film mentors Wylie Stateman and my future husband and (other) business partner Jeffrey Wilhoit. I don’t talk a lot about how during this process I also met the sound designer Harry Cohen and that he was kind to me and let me sit in his design room and watch him for a year, just soaking in information and techniques to be a stronger designer.
I kinda gloss over starting a Post Production sound company with my husband in foley recording and design called Happy Feet Foley in 2009 and then simultaneous to that taking a position on the faculty at CalState LA to help develop their sound program. I don’t talk about how both of these experiences have allowed me travel around the country and meet hundreds of people who have helped me become a better communicator and more thoughtful human.
Oh, and I don’t highlight that I got back into dance and performance at about this time as well with a random discovery of a pole studio in Thousand Oaks called Polelates and started to find ways to express myself through movement again. I don’t say much about how I was terrified and totally intimidated when I started taking classes, that everything was painful and difficult and I was pretty sure I was going to die when I did it (very glad that one didn’t happen!).
And I SHOULD talk about how all these things, this meandering backstory led me to where I am now. That it helped me find my community of polers, circus artists, and aerialists. That these past experiences prepared me to be open to others work, and to learn and grown from their voices and inspiration. That I am a stronger human, both mentally and physically, because of all of this, and that I SHOULD talk about it. Because these connections can’t strengthen if I only try and learn about others, but never share anything about myself.
There’s more, and I’ll find my comfort with sharing it, as well as talk about the process at DConstruction Arts, what our work is about and what inspires me to do it!
And what’s funny is, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be…
What about you? What don’t you tell people? What do you assume is uninteresting or makes it seem like you are “showing off”? Because I would like to know.