All posts by danit1107

My life has consisted of random and often comical, strange, and sometimes disastrous events. Although my age is young, my soul is old. I am bold, witty, and sometimes just plain weird.

Filming on Location: Advice and Insight


The most important thing I have learned and can share with others is, that filming in the field isn’t easy. In fact, it’s pretty darn difficult.

This is not for the weak and I mean that literally. You must to be able to carry heavy equipment in locations that are not always ideal or easily accessed. Which brings me to my next point; you must always be prepared.

First, figure out what you are shooting.

What’s your story, angle, and point? Then figure out the location and the obstacles that particular location may have for you. For instance, I was shooting a feature on a local musician. I wanted footage of him in his natural habitat. He just so happened to work at a local bar in downtown, Wilmington.

Bars are typically dark and a little dingy…among other things, which posed as a problem. How was I going to light him? How was I going to record audio? What angles should I use? What type of shots/frames was I going to get? These are all questions I asked myself days before the shoot. Reading the articles I listed at the bottom of the page confirmed that planning ahead of time and being prepared for anything and everything is essential.

After you have figured out the what, when and where, go scout your location.

Find out if there are windows and which direction they face. At certain times of the day, if the sun is coming straight through the windows, that could be a problem for you. Check out the lighting that is available, which will help you figure out what type of lighting kit you’ll need. Are there mirrors or decorations that will distract or interfere with your shooting?

This one is super important, check your power supply. Make sure that your location has an adequate power source for your equipment. If inside, locate where the outlets are and plan around that.

For shooting outside it is important to know the weather forecast and examine the elements. Will it be cold, hot, rainy, etc.? Following the sun and managing your time is also important. If you are wanting a sunset vibe in your video, get to your locations hours before so that you are set up and ready for that type of lighting. Checkout the articles below for more information on location scouting.

What should you bring with you while filming in the field?

This is something I struggled with and had to ask the advice of those more experienced than I. It never hurts to get the opinion of others on what equipment you might need. However, I have learned from personal experience and from reading articles online, that there are some essentials you probably always want to have on hand.

You will want to have a Camera kit, Audio kit and a Lighting kit. According to the first article listed below these are the basics for those kits.

Your core Camera kit should include:

  1. Camera + Lenses
  2. Tripod
  3. Camera Kit Bag
  4. Batteries + Charger
  5. Storage Cards
  6. Reflector
  7. A small lighting kit (perhaps two Dedos or LED LitePanels)

Your core Sound kit should include:

  1. Audio Recorder + Spare Batteries
  2. Shotgun Mic
  3. Boom Pole
  4. 2 Radio Mics / Receivers + Spare Batteries
  5. Headphones
  6. XLR Cable + Backup XLR

Kit Bag essentials include:

  1. Lens Cleaning Fluid
  2. 1-Inch Brush
  3. Multi-Tool
  4. LED Torch
  5. Camera Tape
  6. Dust Off / Compressed Air
  7. Spare Camera Batteries
  8. Spare Cards/Tapes
  9. A Camera Rain Cover
  10. A Small Umbrella

They say this is “traveling light”. From my own experience you might not always have people willing to help you. Be prepared to carry the equipment yourself and invest in a cart of some sort. If you do have someone to help you, I highly suggest bringing a colleague, intern, student, friend, family member or whoever! It’s not really smart to film by yourself. One person, alone with extremely expensive equipment is just asking to get “jumped”. As a female, I find it essential to bring someone along when I’m filming even if they are just there for moral support. My sidekick is my sister. Although she never went to school for film, she finds it interesting and always offers me a creative eye.

Filming can be exciting and rewarding.

It definitely feels good to look back at your footage and see what you have accomplished. It also can feel really crummy to spend hours and hours planning, setting up, and filming, to end up not having any usable footage. Make sure you prepare and do it right the first time. Don’t feel embarrassed about being Knit Picky. If you have a vision, make it happen.


External hard drives, extra SD cards, whatever you have to backup EVERYTHING, do it! If your computer crashes, so does all your media, time and hard work. If your external hard drive is stolen, make sure you have that info/media saved elsewhere. Prepare for the unexpected because chances are, it will happen to you at some point.

Never leave your equipment in your car. Not only for the purpose of preventing theft but also because equipment does not do well in extremely cold or hot  weather. You could come back to find your equipment not functioning properly or warped (it actually happened to me once).

Final thoughts…

I thought I knew so much more about filming on location. I have worked on numerous big name productions but I was never the sole camera operator. I was never the person in charge. It’s easy to sit here and write all of this or to tell someone what it is supposed to look like. Actually being out there is a different story. When I had to make all of the decisions, set up my equipment, and be the director and camera op, it was tough. As a bit of a perfectionist, the biggest thing for me was admitting that I don’t know something. I think of the Socratic Paradox, “ I know one thing: That I know nothing.”. This is what makes you the wisest man.

I have accepted that there is always something I can learn and the way to do that, is through research and just hands on experience. Prepare and learn from your mistakes.


Being a Big Girl In a Small World

Big, defined as, ‘of considerable size, extent, or intensity’.


I am a Big girl in a seemingly large world. However, when I take a closer look at the world around me, it seems so small. Splashed across fashion magazines, television, and film, are images of women who are small. Small equals attractive. Big equals unattractive. That’s the message that I have always received.

However, this narrow-minded image of beauty has never really phased me. I have always been a big girl. As a child there were a few playground bullies that would pick on my weight, yet thankfully I am left with no emotional scars. I had some harsh uncles who would also say things about my weight. Once, my uncle even called me a walrus. I find the insult quite humorous now, when I was 13, not so much.

The most critical of the lot was probably my father. He would stoop as low as to use gifts or offer me money to bribe me to lose weight. I recall him making snide comments about everything I ate “That sure is a big helping.”

He would order for me when we would dine out and he constantly berated me for my cheese consumption.

The criticism made me resent him. I never wanted to eat around him. I’d try to eat before he got home from work or I’d take my meals to my room so that he wouldn’t harass me. I know he was concerned for my health and worried about bullies, but it still hurt my feelings. I hated that he couldn’t see that I was already beautiful as I was.

I knew I was attractive. I never had to fret over not having friends. Friends came to me like bees to a flower. I also never felt cast out by anyone. I was intelligent, good in school and often favored by my teachers. I never took the back seat. I always wanted to be in the spotlight. I was told I had a way with connecting to people that made my presence relatable even desirable. All of these things kept me strong against the attacks and criticism from the people around me.

But, I am Big. My body and my personality has never been small. How is this confidence possible when the odds are supposed to be against me?

My mother, father and sister were all gifted with natural beauty. Both of my parents tried their hand at modeling. They prided themselves in being small because they felt being small made them beautiful. One sister was often compared to Angelina Jolie or a Kardashian, however she is one of the most modest and sincere people I know. Despite the vanity of my parents and my sister’s own natural beauty, she never let it corrupt her pure soul. Although she did not use her beauty for success, she still believed small equals beautiful. My mom told me once that my sister’s beauty would get her far in life, but my charisma would take me to the top. At the time I felt like she meant I wasn’t beautiful but I know now that was not what she was saying. She was saying I was beautiful in a way that very few people are. I was Big, I was intense, I took up room and was impossible not to notice.

Have I had to fight adversity? Of course! Any women over a size 6 feels body shame at some point. In fact, women of any size are capable of feeling body shamed. One of the most embarrassing instances I have encountered was the horrifying moment someone assumed I was pregnant. Yes, that’s right, this woman broke the golden rule, never openly ask a woman if she is pregnant if you are not 100% sure. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who can relate to this situation. I was coming into work one morning and happened to be wearing a dress that cinched underneath my breast, which left the dress flowy around my mid section. I was the manager of a retail store at the time and we had security issues the night before, so a female security guard had spent the night in our store. I began putting my belongings into my locker in the back office where the security woman was sitting. She greeted me politely and said,

Gee, you’re about to pop, aren’t you?”

Immediately I knew what she was insinuating. I hoped she had meant that she could tell I was stuffed from my breakfast, which I was. I had just scarfed down an egg sandwich and a large coffee. However, I couldn’t help sounding surprised when I retorted,

Excuse me?”

I wanted to press my finger to her lips and stop the words from coming out of her mouth. The look on her face said it all. She knew she had f**ked up. Her face washed red with embarrassment.

I’m so sorry. I….I assumed you were pregnant.”

I could hear her pride somewhere down in her stomach grumbling in pain. I wasn’t sure who I felt more embarrassed for, her or myself. I sarcastically assured her that I was not pregnant, just fat. She winced at the word fat as if I had hit her. I could tell she was mortified. She apologized again before quickly grabbing her belongings and rushing out of the store. I must admit it left a damper on my mood but who was she to ruin my day with her small minded assumptions? Not to mention, she didn’t call me ugly or really use any harsh or harmful words. She simply assumed I was growing a child in my belly, when really I was only growing a food baby. In fact pregnant women are often marked as glowing and beautiful. I suppose I could take it as a compliment, right?

I’ve also dealt with the “Mean Girls”.You know? The ones that cake on makeup and wear the least amount of clothes possible to get attention…yeah, those girls. I’ve heard whispers of, “How did she bag that guy? He’s so hot and she’s so fat?” or the backwards compliment, “You’d be really hot if you just worked on your body”. I always smile and say “Thanks” while thinking in my head, I already feel hot. I don’t need to be small to feel attractive.

The point I am trying to get to with all of this is, the views of the world will always change. It’s your view of yourself that truly matters. I don’t condone being unhealthy, but I do believe you have to love yourself even when you aren’t at your healthiest weight. I have my moments of insecurity but ultimately I know my strengths and that is what makes me feel beautiful. I can find humor in almost any situation. I make people laugh with my random rants. When I do my makeup I know it’s on fleek. I dress my body appropriately and keep up with styles that fit my personality. I can give a sexy stare like nobodies business and I have no problems attracting men. I am Big. Bigger than the adversity I face. Bigger than the close minded individuals who think it’s ok to judge and shame others’. My personality is of considerable size. I am intense and my beauty is extensive beyond my dress size. Could I improve my health by eating better and working out more frequently? Absolutely. I do desire to do right by my body. My temple deserves to be treated right and I have made steps to do so. Whether I lose weight or always stay thick, I will always hold the same confidence and love for myself.  My view of who I am is not valued on my weight or size of my clothes.

Find a way to feel beautiful about yourself and once you do you can be Big too.

To Losing Friends and Growing Up

Remember those days where your friends were all that mattered? When your biggest worry was who your crush liked or how were you going to get ungrounded to make it to the dance? Those memories fade as we grow older. To me it seems like a century ago, even though not much time has passed since those “Good Ol’ Days“. When I was younger I moved around a lot. I was not able to make real, close friends until around 6th grade. I moved from California to a tiny back road town in Kansas. I was a city kid living in a country town where spurs and cowboy boots weren’t Halloween costumes but actual everyday attire, for some. The first few months in this tiny town, I had difficulty adjusting to my new setting. Once school started things changed.

I met my first “best friend”. B was everything I wasn’t. She was tall, slender, athletic, spunky and highly outgoing. I was short, chubby, awkward, and an all around goofball. She had lived in Kansas her whole life, which was also something I found odd. My life had consisted of 5 states and over 100 different towns/cities. Because of her permanent residence, she knew pretty much everyone. In fact, everyone seemed to know everyone. I had never lived somewhere with this kind of community. I found it intriguing and terrifying.

B showed me what it was like to have a close friendship with someone. A friendship beyond school buddies. We were truly the best of friends. We did everything together and my whole life was surrounded by her and other friends I had acquired.  Even when I found myself grounded, my grandmother allowed me to talk to B. We told each other everything and even made a friendship pact, promise, and scrapbook. One summer my mom told me I had to go back to California. I had never had a problem moving at the drop of a hat until that year. I remember the day I told B that I would be moving. It was as if someone had kidnapped my puppy and burned all my stuffed animals. I couldn’t imagine life without my new friends.

Once the school year ended, I moved back to California to live with my mother. My grandmother stayed behind in Kansas. I was depressed to say the least. My mother could see how much I was hurting. She knew I was missing that small town life and because she loved me, she agreed to let me move back to Kansas. It seems odd that I let a friendship control my happiness and well being but at that point in my life it felt like the right thing to do. What happened to B and I? Eventually, in high school we began to drift apart, as do most friendships. I got a serious boyfriend and she got…two…or three…or more. Ha-ha. We began to disagree and have different views and opinions. We even went through a period of not being friends at all. She eventually moved out of state to go to college and I moved back to my origins in NC. I frequently think back on memories I had with her and wish things were that simple again. Although, we went through a rough patch, we have always managed to stay good friends.

I’m not saying that because you get older, that automatically means you lose all your friends but as life goes on, things become more complicated. People start careers, they meet boyfriends/girlfriends and eventually get married and have children. You have so much more to stress and worry about and a majority of that gets dumped on to the people closest to you. This in turn can have negative effects on your relationships. When I was in middle school/high school, I remember getting so lonely and bored when I wasn’t hanging out with friends. Now, i find peace in being alone. On a normal day i would much rather stay home, read a book or watch T.V and snuggle up with my dogs than go out with friends. As an adult “going out” with friends often requires one to spend money (which i do not have much of) or drinking (which i don’t really enjoy that much). I miss the days where i could go to a friend’s house and just hang out. Watch TV,  play games, go on walks, and just talk. Talk and talk and talk about anything and everything. No one talks anymore. Everyone texts, facebooks, emails, ect.

So when did growing up mean losing friends? When does life start to become more important than your relationships? When you go to college? After college when you start a career? Meet a husband or wife? I wish i could say i kept in contact with all my friends from high school but the truth is we all went our separate ways and became different people. Half of us probably wouldn’t even get along anymore.

Political stand points, personal morals, religious views, habits, money…these things are factors in adult relationships but as a kid/teenager these don’t matter. B didn’t care that my family didn’t have much money, she didn’t care what religion i was, and we sure as hell both didn’t care about politics. All we cared about was how we had fun with each other and were comfortable enough t0 be ourselves.

I am blessed that i have met people whom i can call close friends yet i still feel saddened by the memories of lost friends. Today i went through pictures and took a journey back to the past. Most of my memories were happy, yet for some reason i felt a twinge of sorrow. I wondered what was that defining point in B’s and I’s friendship that no longer labeled us as “best friends”. I thought back to my good guy friend W and remembered how sweet and thoughtful he used to be. We would text every single day and see each other every day and now i’m lucky if he says hello to me on Facebook. One of the best guy friends i ever had still to this day, ended our friendship because, “We have different beliefs and views. We don’t even hangout with the same people anymore nor do we have that much in common as we used to. It’s best if we just call it what it is and move on.” That loss was particularly difficult. It was nothing either of us had done, it was just who we had become.

I am sure many people feel the same way that i do. Everyone reminisces on the past. I just find relationships interesting. They can end just as quickly as they blossomed. I am determined to make the friendships/relationships i currently have be lasting ones. No longer will i look back and wonder when was that defining point?

Take a look into your own life, do you have a friend that just faded away? Can you pinpoint the defining moment of when you just stopped considering that person a close friend? Or have you ever been demoted from friend to acquaintance?

Growing up sucks and so does losing friends yet unfortunately it is all part of Life.

Local Wilmington band, Rio Bravo

Hello Readers!

(Totally just spilled my juice all over the table! Saved the computer though! Whew!)

For those of you who do not know, i am from Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmington is a beautiful college beach town with lots of art, music and culture.

I really love listening and discovering local music/bands/artists. I believe it is important to support and get involved in your community. Recently, i have discovered this band named Rio Bravo. Yes, that is the name of an old Western movie ha-ha. Not quite sure why the boys decided on that name as their band title but it works for them. The band consists of four boys in their early-mid twenties. Micah- is the vocalist, Bryan- Guitar, Ed-Bass, and Christian- Drummer.

I enjoy all genres of music but Indie/rock/acoustic really does it for me. These boys scream Indie/Rock. They have the whole Hippy-Chic or “Hipster” style goin’ on which really suits them well.

I first met the group while at church because all four of them are members of the praise band at Port City Community Church. They are characters! From what i have witnessed they are quite the goofballs and i love it! They always bring a lot of energy and passion to the stage. The new Ep they recently released called Unbelievable Lie is intriguing. Interested lyrics and compelling vocals from Micah and an overall neat sound.

Not only are the guys funny and entertaining but they are also compassionate. The drummer, Christian and his sister Carmin created a clothing line called HALF UNITED ( ) which gives HALF of their profit towards feeding hungry children all over the globe. The company has some creative ideas and cute clothes and accessories.Image

A way to shop and NOT feel guilty afterwards Ha-ha! I love seeing people give back and try to make a difference in this world. It is inspiring to see young people working together in any sort of charity. I love that Rio Bravo promotes that.

I see a long future ahead of these boys. They have the look, the sound, and the heart of true musicians and i can’t wait to see their journey. Go ahead and check them out and see for yourselves.

The Things They Don’t Tell You About Learning Guitar

For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in music and learning to play instruments, particularly the guitar and piano. I always wanted to learn but never truly put forth the effort. Growing up, my family was not wealthy. In fact some would even say we were “dirt poor”. This contributed to not owning an instrument.

As time went on I became interested in music and singing. I discovered I would carry a tune and wanted to be able to create my own music. So after many years of saying, “I want to learn guitar” I finally decided to stop saying it and do it.

My sister got an acoustic guitar for her birthday this past August and when she did my eyes lit up. Every time I went to her house I would stare at her guitar and oh so casually ask, “So uhhh… do you ever play your guitar?” and she would reply, “Not really, I don’t have the time.” And that my friends is when the idea struck me. If she wasn’t using her guitar perhaps I could use it. I practiced a little bit on her guitar but eventually I found a inexpensive one of my own on Craigslist. Thus it began.

 Thing They Don’t Tell You: Your finger tips will feel like they have been burnt off. I have soft girly finger tips which already is NOT good for playing guitar. When you press down on the strings you must press firmly. I had heard that your fingers would get calloused but no one told me about the pain I would endure until they became calloused. I continued to practice and practice so that my fingers would get rough but the more I practiced the more my fingers began to hurt. I had permanent string indention’s on my fingertips. The second day was even worse. FINALLY after a week went by I could feel the skin on my fingers had began to callous. Downside, I had lost some sensitivity in them. When I touched things with my left hand it felt different from when I touched things with my right hand. I asked a few of my friends who played guitar and were in bands and they all told me this was normal. One of them even told me that their fingers had BLED before! The thought of my fingers bleeding was a little alarming but it did not discourage me. It has been a few weeks now and my fingers are still sensitive but they are getting there. I still can’t decide how i feel about having calloused “musician” hands.

  • Second Thing They Don’t Tell You: Your hands and arms will ache. Guitars are not particularly heavy but holding anything long enough will make your arms become tired. Having straps help but even those sometimes can begin to become uncomfortable. Not to mention strumming your guitar over and over and over and over can give your arm quite the work out. Your hands will also ache if your fingers are not used to being spread out while trying to play chords or from being in the same position for too long or moving too quickly. It is similar to having writers cramp. No one ever warned me of this! So when I woke up with my arms and hands aching I was a tad bit surprised.
  • Stolen from Google
  • Third Thing They Don’t Tell You: How dang difficult it is! Perhaps for some who are just stupid, naturally, musically, talented people it might not be difficult. For those of us who were not blessed with natural instrumental skills, it is tough. As a beginner I am trying to learn basic chords, finger placement, strumming techniques and things of that nature. No one tells you how in depth it actually gets. There are SO MANY different chords and techniques. Not to mention I find it quite difficult to transition from one chord to the next. I realize of course that with an abundance of practice and time it will become easier as I memorize the chords ect…but right now I find it frustrating. A part of me secretly hoped I would be playing full songs within a week. Not how it happens folks. There are many details to playing an instrument that I never understood before until I started trying to play.

I have gained a new respect for musicians that I never had before. I have always appreciated talented people and their musical abilities as well as envied them but I never gave them the respect they deserved. Learning any skill takes time, patience and determination. When I would watch people play guitar I would be captivated by how quickly their fingers moved and the sounds that they were creating. I never thought about how many hours of practice they had put into learning that. Nor had I thought about the fact that at some point their fingers might have bled from playing so much. Not to mention the expenses of owning nice equipment. I originally wanted to learn guitar just so that I could perform and sing but now it has become much more.

Some tips to those of you who are interested in learning.

  • Before you spend money on buying a guitar make sure it’s something you are serious about. Guitars can be expensive and I have known many people who bought one, tried for a few weeks and then never picked it back up. Now an expensive and perfectly good conditioned guitar sits in their room collecting dust.
  • Be determined and don’t give up. Learning a skill is not always easy and most likely you will not learn how to play full songs right away. Do not let that discourage you.
  • Lessons are always awesome but if you are like me and can’t afford them, then find books, dvds, and YouTube videos to help. So many people make tutorials on YouTube which has really helped me because I can see what they are doing and try to mimic them AND I can hear how it is supposed to sound.
  • PRACTICE! Play all the time. Instead of sitting around and watching T.V, pull out your guitar and play. I like to play while I am watching T.V. I will watch the show and then during the commercials play around on my guitar. Sometimes I won’t even try to play songs. I will just pick individual strings or strum over and over just so I am familiar with the sounds. DON’T GIVE UP! Learning how to create music is so rewarding. It can be relaxing and healing. I encourage everyone to learn how to play an instrument!

Here are a few sites I have used:

I have also used a lot of Guitar for Beginners’ videos on YouTube.

To conclude this article I must say that learning guitar has been a bit of an adventure for me. I should have done a little research before I dove in but I am learning as I go. It has been a thrilling experience.

Much love to all of you musicians out there!

Xo Dani

Blogger V-Card Lost

After much pressure and pestering from my sister, i have decided to use my creative writing abilities to create a blog. I tend to be a very vocal person and i am constantly updating on facebook and twitter. My sister came to me and said, “Instead of voicing your opinion about everything on facebook, why don’t you create a blog?” I thought about it for a while and wondered what i would write about. I didn’t think i had enough to say to create a blog.

More time passed and my sister kept bringing it up to me. It took some warming up to the idea but finally i caved, hence my new blog WordsByDani.

I will warn all yee followers now that this blog will consist of the most random stories and rants. I plan to write and give advise about the people and events in my life as well as my interests, opinions, adventures and many many mistakes. I promise you though, my stories will never be a bore and there is normally something that you can take from it, whether it be a life or love lesson, a recipe, or just enlightening words of encouragement.

I love and encourage feedback so please feel free to comment or write to me.

I look forward to this new blogging adventure and I hope that through my writing that i may entertain, help, inspire, or encourage people.