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No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

by Jacqueline Murray Loring

At 6:30am on Saturday, July 13, 2013, as the sun rose above Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains, I was printing and collating movie scripts, ten at a time. I'd been up all night as part of a 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) short movie writing team,

Our responsibility was to write an original short, in 12 hours, then email it to actors and film crew by 6:00am. Within 48 hours the script would become 'Reel to Reel's' movie "Mistaken Identity" but at 6:30am I was stapling pages and handing them to an office full of sleepy people.

How did a Cape Cod writer whose preference is to squirrel herself away to write in silent, unobtrusive corners with a laptop, a cup of coffee and a view of a cranberry bog end up in such chaos? Purposefully, I'm proud to say.

Upon my move to Albuquerque (ABQ) in December 2012, I promised myself I wouldn't reinvent my Cape Cod self, but explore creative, hopefully unique, ways to express my art.

Though I usually isolate when I write, on Cape Cod I never felt a lack for companionship, stimulation or inspiration. If the poetry muse sat on my shoulder, I'd join the Guyer Barn Poets.

If a cinematic story knocked on my muse, the Cape Cod Screenwriters Group meets every Tuesday. For ten years I'd driven every other Sunday from Monument Beach to Provincetown to immerse myself in playwriting and production at the Provincetown Theater.

In ABQ, where the 'art' community is wildly alive, choices abound. My first New Mexico creative reward had to be with film so I joined the ABQ screenwriters.

A new friend, Terry Hicks, invited me one Sunday to drive with her to a Women in Film and Video Meet & Greet, in Madrid (Mad-rid, an artsy town outside Albuquerque which was taken over in the comedy film 'Wild Hogs').

On the ride, my ABQ life was altered as I chatted with writer/producer Sheryl Brown. Among her creative ventures Sheryl was about to tackle directing a 48HFP movie,

Sheryl is the queen of networking and before long I found myself eating BBQ at the Mind Shaft Tavern, watching award winning shorts, and discussing film with folks from the TV program 'Breaking Bad' and with a member of the New Mexico Film Office.

A week later, Sheryl invited me to be a part of her 48 Hour team. I was thrilled but anxious. I would have to work with Terry, Nina Knapp and Stanly Ray, all seasoned 48 Hour people. A Cape Cod experience gave me the courage to consider the invitation.

In 2012, I had participated in the Provincetown Theater's Playwrights' Lab's 24 Hour Theater Event that featured a program of short plays, written in 12 hours, by eight playwrights. These original plays were based on three props provided to the writers by the Event Committee. Each play was entirely written, directed and performed within 24 hours.

The main difference for me between writing a play that night and the 48HFP was that in Provincetown I rented a hotel room, squirreled myself away and wrote feverishly from 8:00pm till 5:00am. Alone! In Albuquerque I was part of a team.

Playing nice in someone else's sandbox could turn out to be a challenge in and of itself. The process, though daunting, promised a sharp learning curve and a box checked off from my bucket list. I said yes on the spot.

Provincetown Theater Company Playwrights' Lab members from L-R: Candace Perry, Jerry Thompson, Jacqueline Loring, Paul Pilcher, Bragan Thomas. Photogrpah courtesy of W. G. Loring

Sheryl's plan was for writers to create from 7:00pm to 6:00am, have camera, sound and lightening teams 'ON SET' and ready for filming by 8:00am with actors, scripts in hand, ready for a read-through. Filming would last to 7:00pm.

Sunday's work then belonged to the composer and editing team. On Sunday by 7:00pm Sheryl would arrive at Kelly's Brew Pub and hand the edited video to the 48 Hour folks. Completed first drafts would be shown to the community at the famous KiMo Theater four days later.

Pre-production meetings are allowed by the 48HFP so crews and cast can meet and discuss filming essentials such as the number of cameras needed, possible set locations, availability of props, the amount of food Craft Services would supply. Writers can be introduced to actors who would be on-call. The set, costume, hair and makeup designers would have a frantic few hours on Saturday morning to conceptualize their art.

On Friday, July 12, 2013, after weighing my passion for brainstorming, my ability to create story quickly, to work with others and to stay up all night writing, I set my ego aside and arrived at the 'Reel to Reel' office at 5:00pm ready for an adventure.

At the same time 50 Albuquerque directors gathered at the 48HFP offices. Writing cannot begin before the 48HFP discloses the required story prompts. Once unveiled, Sheryl called our team with the good/bad news. Our story must include a map, the character name Roman Rodriguez, tightwad as a characteristic/quirk, "You are so smart!" as a line of dialogue. The script genre was Mistaken Identity.

The night whizzed by as we exchanged pieces of what could be a story line. As head writer, Stan had final say as to when brainstorming ended and the writing began. I took my lead from the other writers and found my suggestions valued and considered.

Once we settled on a plot, a good story evolved, came alive with dialogue and actor potential and quickly filled eight screenwriting-formatted pages. Somewhere around 4:30am Murphy's predictable Law showed up. A computer/internet problem kept us from emailing our script to the crew.

Jazzed up on no sleep and a dozen cups of coffee we shifted into Plan B. I printed and collated the script while the other writers conferred with the director/producer, the director of photography and script supervisor to discuss the story. A shaky start, but all in a weekend's work for the 'Reel to Reel' team of consummate professionals.

At 8:00pm Sheryl called filming a wrap. The day's work was handed to the composer and editing team to perform their magic. At Kelly's, on Sunday, our team celebrated as Sheryl handed the final draft to the 48HFP committee.

On Thursday night I sat in the darkened KiMo Theater with my new friends and watched 'Mistaken Identity.' Provincetown or Albuquerque, it's pure joy to see your art come alive.

In 2013, the 48 Hour Film Project will visit more than 120 cities, Boston included, where more than 60,000 people will make short films.

The 48 Hour Film Project includes filmmakers from Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas who compete to see who can make the best short film in a weekend.

'Reel to Reel' crew celebrate their Albuquerque 48 Hour Film Project submission. Pictured in the immediate foreground on the left is Terry Hicks, on the right is Jacqueline Loring and Stanley Ray. Photograph courtesy of Nina Knapp by

For more information about this project visit:

Jacqueline Murray Loring writes scripts, poetry and stage plays. Her poetry collection The History of Bearing Children won the 2012 of the Doire Irish International Prize. 'History' was awarded 2nd place in the 2012 New Mexico Press Women competition.

Her plays have been produced at the Provincetown Theater Company, Provincetown, MA.

Loring has received several professional development grants and artist residencies at the Ragdale Foundation in Forest Lake, IL and at the Heinrich Böll cottage, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland.

In July 2013, she participated on the 'Reel to Reel' team to co-write a short movie for the New Mexico 48 Hour Film Project. She is the Coordinator of the Eventide Arts Full Length Playwriting Competition, the past-president of the Cape Cod Chapter of the NLAPW and the past executive director of the Cape Cod Writers Center.

With the support of the Nam Vets Association of the Cape and Islands she is presently working on a nonfiction book, SURVIVING THE PEACE AFTER WAR.

The History of Bearing Children Is vailable for purchase at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod and at Cape Cod Writers