• Taylor-Alexis Gillard

The Real Catch Up Post

I apologize for going a little ghost on the blog posts. I had a few topics that I wanted to write about but the truth is that I didn’t have much to say on those topics at the moment. I also wanted to take some time to figure out what I wanted to truly say. Hopefully things will be a lot smoother on the blog side and releases will be on the day that definitely needs a cheerful rebrand. Mondays.


First things first, I’m honored and super excited to announce that my documentary (The Silent Willow) was selected for this year’s DOC NYC festival happening in November! I’d say I’m pretty good with keeping things confidential but this one was hard and the secret is out now! DOC NYC is one of the largest American documentary film festivals here in New York and this year it’s a bit of hybrid with in person screenings as well as extended time for online viewings. Exciting!

There will be an in person screening of TSW and three other amazing documentaries directed by my fellow New School program mates followed by an intimate Q&A. This screening is happening on Thursday November 11th at 1:15p at Cinepolis Chelsea. Tickets are available now for the screening here or you can watch online at your convenience from 11/10 to 11/18. Hope you can make it in person but if not you can watch online from 11/10 to 11/28!


While we are on the topic of TSW, I have to be honest with you guys. I’ve had a lot of time post grad school to prioritize rest, recharge and think about what I want to do next. I‘ve realized that I don’t actually want to expand TSW into a feature length or series for several reasons. It‘s not that I don’t want to advocate for fibroid awareness, but mainly because I would also like to move on to other interests. It's also one of those "preserve the original" sprinkled with a little "anti-sequel" artistic choices.

I’ve been thinking about what’s next for myself as a creative and in order to do that you have to really evaluate where things currently are. I really enjoy video editing and the joy it brings when it‘s done effectively, however, I enjoy being the director a lot more. Editing is a great art form but nine times out of ten, you’re not editing your own work especially when you’re on someone else’s dime. For me, that’s not the best feeling since you lack artistic control and I’d like to call the shots, figuratively and literally.


So naturally, I'd need a new project to work on. I do have a personal project idea that involves my favorite gal in the world and a nice selection of VHS home videos but that will also require some digital conversions and gives me an excuse to travel to St Kitts. In the interim, I do plan to get into directing and producing short music videos. I LOVE music like the next person but I live for those moments where you listen to a particular song and you begin to see things. That vision is what I want to act on. So stay tuned for more details on that in future posts as I go through the process!

I think the greatest part about blogging is that you can write something today and feel totally different about it in a week, month or year. This last month included a few setbacks which made me question adulthood, yet again. It turns out that one of the setbacks was actually a blessing in disguise.

A few months into the pandemic, I decided to purchase a car to be a little more mobile. I had just been accepted into the New School's Doc studies program and I knew I would be renting about $10K worth of filming equipment, which I didn't want to travel with on the subway. I also decided that paying for a parking spot in my building's garage was the safest choice as a woman in NYC. Fast forward to the beginning of September and Hurricane Ida was in full effect.


I remembered Hurricane Sandy's impact on the city and hoped for the best. *le sigh* The entire basement of my building, garage included, was flooded by at least 10:30p and Ida was set to continue pouring down until 3a. I figured my car would be okay and I threw on my rain boots to take pictures of the water levels for insurance purposes. Over the next couple of days, I ended up vacuuming a lot of water out of my car, but once I took it to a mechanic for an evaluation, it was over. My car was totaled, the repair costs weren't worth it and I decided against getting another car.


Initially I was bummed because I grew accustom to whipping around the city as I pleased, but truthfully I was relieved to let it go. Having a car in NYC is nice but it's not a necessity and it's not part of my savings plan as a film director. I also felt like having a car was holding me back because I didn't want to sit in heavy traffic or worry about the lack of street parking because of the now permanent outdoor dining structures. (Not big deals at all but they factored into whether or not I made plans or not. Sorry, not sorry.) I’ve been working on detaching myself most material possessions since the beginning of the pandemic and I felt like accepting the car loss was the perfect test of the work I've been doing.


What has no car life been like? Pretty chill. Lots of deliveries for the heavy necessities and more long walks, which isn't bad, right? Now that we are accepting this new normal, I'm happy that industry events and screenings are popping back up, so catch me there! I think that sense of adventure within this city was what was missing from my life and I'm looking forward to attending as many as I can.


I've also been taking my camera everywhere, capturing things that pique my interest and spending more time experimenting with the technical camera stuff. I wouldn't say that I'm a photographer but they say regularly taking pictures helps with composition and I'm sure that'll translate into future film projects. In reviewing the pictures that I've taken, I noticed that I've spent a lot of time using a zoom lens. A 3.5-5.6/28-70mm lens to be exact. So maybe for a week or two, in between writing a music video treatment, I'll be using a 1.8/50mm prime lens to see how I like shooting with it. Will update soon with pictures!


Here are a few pics that I like from my recent visit to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden:

As a thank you to making it this far, here's this week's MixTay selection:


'Name Ring Bell' by Wale off of his latest album, Folarin II. I'm such a sucker for a well done dancehall sample and hopefully you enjoy it!


Remember, all songs are updated in the Spotify MixTay (Resurrected) playlist if your ears ever need to revisit.


typed with love,


Taylor-Alexis





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