Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dear Daniel Craig

Dear Daniel Craig,                                                                                          11/6/16

So here we are after a triumphant tour with Letters to Daniel the documentary and my screenplays and 5 days out from shooting on my first solo short film Broken I find myself in the midst of a relapse. It is very hard for me to admit this. Especially so publically. There seems to be this perception (in society in general) that mental illness can be transcended. That the daily struggles are simply not there anymore and that all is well once you are jettisoned from a health care provider’s care.

All of this is complete and utter bullshit. Bipolar disorder is like any chronic disease. You might go into remission but the ugly reality is relapse is part of the deal. I have been lax in penning these letters on a regular basis. But the truth is some really crappy stuff happened over the course of last winter and this spring before and amazeballs agent and friend came to my rescue. The feature film fell apart nine days out from shooting about a year ago. The people responsible have since made up for it, and the truth is I know there was no malice in it on their part. Sometimes things just don’t happen no matter badly how much you want them too. I left one questionable agent for another which was a really bad fit. They couldn’t see mental illness as a real definable thing and so I left them but not without a fight on their part.

In the time I was attempting to get free of them Julie Fink appeared. I had no idea what I was going to do. She offered me representation but only if I were legally free and clear of who I was with. The fight they put up was ugly and dirty. And it took its toll on me I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I am now with DBFW Inc. And it has been a happy marriage so far. She has not lied to me or tried to squash my creative fire. In fact it’s been just the opposite. She stokes it.

Some very dreams are coming true. So in that respect things are wonderful. Up to but not excluding the shooting of Letters to Daniel the feature film next May. At the same time Julie is suffering Cancer. Fuck Cancer this was the breaking point. When she went on radio silence I freaked the fuck out. First and foremost Julie is a friend who is more like a big sister than anything else and secondly she’s in the driver seat of my career. Put those two things together and well it was just too much.

I’d like to officially call Cancer out on shoving me across the relapse line. There are so many reasons to hate that fucking disease this is just one more very powerful ones to hate it for myself.

How do I know I’m in the middle of a relapse?

My sleep schedule is completely off. I’m not exercising. I messed around with the timing of my meds. My mood is all over the fucking map and I had a manic rage with Missy after a relatively good day yesterday. And my ANXIETY HAS BEEN THROUGH THE ROOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another thing which I am forcing myself to talk about is a common symptom of spending money you just don’t have. I put myself in the hole in my bank account. Even after my entire disability check went in I was still in the red by two dollars. So I did what I knew I had to do. I called Missy, gave her the paypal info and asked her to change the password and change the security questions. I then called BBT and asked them for a new card and cut up my old one. And when the new one gets here I will hand it over to Missy. All purchases all festival entries will go through her until I am stable and able to handle my own finances once again.

I will admit due to the stigma so pervasive in society I didn’t want to write all of this down. I don’t wish to be alone for long periods of time right now and even contracted for safety last night before I went to bed and have already had an anxiety attack today and it’s not even noon.

So to everyone who has bipolar disorder relapse is actually the only normal we bipolar’s are gifted with. I didn’t notice I was in a relapse until the anxiety attacks were pummeling me. Truthfully I am happy to have written this letter. I feel good about it now. Much love to the caregivers of this world. Especially the ones in my life. Mom and Missy especially you. Special shoutouts to the second team responders Delilah, Julie, Tim and Barbara.

As for those looking to put more good days together than bad days? I’m in the struggle. I know the fight. And we are not alone.

Sincerely,


Amy McCorkle

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

The last forty-eight hours have been a rollercoaster. Yesterday kind of a hair on fire kind of day. I woke to news that for perfectly legitimate reason my agent was not going to be available for the trip to Film-Com. It was an emergency for both of her because it dealt with the health of a family member and me because, well, Film-Com was fifteen days away and that left me and another person without a way to Nashville. Pam didn’t want to drive. Which is fine but we had no wheels. I called my Aunt Debbie who had been prepared to drive up there in Julie’s car. When I asked if she would drive her car if we left the VERSA for Frank and Jan to drive she said she wouldn’t be comfortable with that. With doors slamming in my face I could feel that hard earned spot at Film-Com slipping through my fingers. A place that could bring much needed funding to our project Letters to Daniel.

It made me mad. It pissed me off. It made me angry. The Letters film has faced a lot of hurdles over the last five months. I was at my breaking point. As a last ditch effort I contacted an old friend Shanni. I had known her when she attended the same church as my family and we shared living quarters. She had plans to take a road trip to Chicago June 23rd.

I asked her if she would drive me and Pam down to Nashville. That I would give her $50 in gas money. That she wouldn’t have to pay for the hotel room and that I could give her a badge to get into Film-Com. She agreed to take us and cart us around Tuesday and Wednesday and leave once we were back in the hotel to meet Missy when she arrived. Much to my relief.

At this point I had no DP for our short, or camera for that matter. Julie’s emergency prevented our plan to use Bill in the case we didn’t have a DP for the film at this point. I knew our film could not handle another setback. We priced cameras, lenses. It was all too expensive for the short we were shooting. I contacted my cousin Rebekah. She had a high quality camcorder which would work for our purposes. She said we could use it. We contacted Pam. Since it was a short shoot she agreed to DP, Letters to Daniel: Awareness.

Hair on FIRE.

Fires put out.

But the anxiety generated by those fires refused to dissipate. And when Dad got home he was hungry, amped and angry. When he realized he didn’t have enough food to eat he made an asshole out of himself. He snapped and yelled. And even though I said nothing he continued to yell and tantrum about how ungrateful I was.

It was like taking a verbal beating. I couldn’t even leave the room. I had company. Missy was there. Dad continued this attitude throughout dinner. Missy and I were about to make a shot list and costuming notes for our actresses when Debbie and Frank just invited themselves in. It was not something I really wanted.

No space. No quiet. No time to decompress. It was an impossible situation.

I wish I could kick him in the face sometimes make him realize his anger hurts and scares me. He has a right to his feelings but I have a right to mine too. He thinks I’m an ingrate, and that if I don’t worship at his altar of goodness and kindness that I’m not worthy of his better nature.

Yet for Sara and Brandy he’ll do just about anything.

But Dad when he’s fed and even tempered is a soft touch. On the way home from my birthday dinner tonight he bought me a McDonald’s coffee.

On the good side, the Action On Film Festival is allowing me to share my message of hope and recovery and my experiences with bipolar disorder. This is a huge step for me. Del and Theresa Weston have been awesome to me and I can’t wait to attend their festival. I’ve never been to California in my life. This will be my first time there.

Also a film studio head allowed me to use him as a referral to send several of mine and Missy’s scifi and fantasy features and television pilot scripts to their development department. So the last forty-eight hours? It’s been the best of times it’s been the worst of times. But all in all things are good. And I can’t really complain too much. And as always with this thing I always feel better at the end of the blog than I did at the beginning.

Sincerely,


Amy McCorkle

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dear Daniel Craig,

Dear Daniel,

Those bold enough to ask for the cookie, get the cookie.—my friend and agent Julie Fink

These days are full of ups, downs, excitement one day, jerk backs the next. I think I’ve reached a point where perhaps I can let go and let God with this movie. This not a state easily achieved for me.
You see in addition to my bipolar disorder I have anxiety and when things get rough I get anxious. I suppose it would be better if I could roll with the punches better that’s a work-in-progress state of mind. Right now I’m okay.

If can survive the rough seas of the past five months I can really survive anything. And to wit, as to anyone who’s read this blog knows recovery is not an end point with mental illness but a journey. A one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time journey you measure your small victories and come out a winner.

When taking a shower is a major accomplishment. When cleaning up your room only because you can’t stand it anymore amounts to a major victory. Applause is needed on those days. Validation for your efforts. Knowing your existence matters to someone may be the only thing that really has you hanging on. Sometimes it’s your pet who needs you as you need them that keeps you alive.

Depression is awful. It is, as I’ve seen the posts all day say, so much more than being said. 

Depression is loathing yourself. Where you hate yourself so much that you stop taking care of yourself. I’m lucky my depressions and my manias seem to have been cycling at a rate I can function at. But make no mistake there is not wanting to get up in the morning and your simply tired. But you don’t want to get out of bed at all. You don’t want to face the world. You want to physically hide from it and isolate yourself from all human contact. You self-worth goes into the crapper. It’s wanting the pain in your head, heart and soul to simply stop. It’s wanting cry uncle and give up things you are most passionate about.

Make no mistake. Making a film is hard. It is the fucking hardest thing an independent filmmaker can choose to do. You start with nothing but a script. And honestly writing it is my favorite part of the process because it’s the first and last it will ever just me, Missy and the words on the page.

Making the decision to produce was not a flight of fancy. Considerations were made and when I first stepped into the role feature film producer I had to find the money. At some point in your film’s journey people are going to exit from the project. Not taking it personally is hard to do when the material is as personal as Letters to Daniel is. It’s natural for others to get nervous and express this. But independent film is not for the feint of heart.

And though I have wanted to cry uncle on more than occasion. And lay in a ball curled in a fetal position. I have refused to do so. I let myself wallow. I vent to proper people. And when I’ve finished grieving that particular version of the film I start hearing the voices of my critics. And believe you me. They are out there. I hear them. And want them to know. I have overcome worse in my life than people telling me no you can’t. You need to find someone else to direct. You are not capable. You need to grow and learn how to play in the real world. Your illness isn’t real. I’m sick of Letters to Daniel and I’m sick of you promoting it all the time.

I hear these things and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t sting or fuck me up sometimes. But in the end they’re fuel for the fire. The kind of fire that needs to burn to power you like a steamroller over your critics.

I’m proud to say today the memoir launched from these pages is now an Amazon International Bestseller! Topping out at #4 in the United States, #3 in Canada, #2 in Japan, and #6 in Australia. Also #61 in Germany, #21 in the UK, and #57 in the Netherlands. The screenplay enjoying more success than any of our other screenplays. Hitting the board as at least an official selection in 6 festivals and placing second in the Los Angeles Film Festival Awards.

Admittedly with the film we’ve had some setbacks.

But in cinema, especially independent film there will always be set backs.

I should thank my critics for triggering my illness. It’s made me humble. It’s made hungry again. It’s fed the fire that was dying down. Now my critics don’t get any of the credit for my film’s success. No, I succeed in spite of them. It is mine and Missy’s and team’s hard work alone that determines the fate of this film.

I know people talk.

I know I’m a big personality, that comes in hard and that doesn’t always make for the softest of landings. But this film is my passion. I write my books purely because I love to write. I write scripts because I dream one day they’ll be on the big screen. Or the little ones. Television. The next frontier.

I was down. But my friends, Missy, Pam, Julie, Barbara, Stephen Z., Frank Hall, Delilah, Lea S., Leah (from Louisville), and my mom, dad, aunt Debbie, aunt Jan, uncle Frank, Tony (for president) Acree, my therapist, my psychiatrist, aunt Jan. You all put me back together. You laid the ground work so that this moment was possible. My mental health is key and you all play an important role.
You all picked me up dusted me off and told this was mine and Missy’s film and that yes we could do this. There are others out there I talk to all the time I could take half and just write names but you know who you are. You’ve seen me through difficult times recently and for that I thank you.

Hollywood or bust!

Sincerely,


Amy McCorkle

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

It seems the stress will never relent. My orange tabby Luke has hurt himself. Yes, on the heels of his respiratory infection what with, examination, bloodwork and medicine rang up to the tune $275 which is fine because of course because not about let my furbaby suffer. But on the heels of that he has hurt himself doing god know what in the midnight hours. He’s walking with a limp. Hiding, crying pitifully and I’ve only got the money to cover the initial exam. He’s two months away from turning two years old and I’m at a loss as to what to do.

I can’t bear to watch him suffer. I need to take him to the vet. I mean, you wouldn’t tell your child oh I’m sorry broke your leg, let me watch it heal in an improper fashion. Just put him down. I mean some people kill me.

I’m heartsick over my baby being hurt and watching him trying to understand why he’s in so much pain and mommy is doing nothing about it.

So I’m trying to figure out how to pay for an ex-ray and possibly a cortisone shot. Not easy, as most of my friends are like myself. Broke. This is a hard time of year for people. I get the sense mom would help but summer vacation is coming up.

I love my cat like a child but we’re at a point where I have to eat the cost up front and I have no idea how I’m going to cover Film-Com food wise. It’s a necessity to go. But kitty’s medical bills are going to make it rough for sure. I will have to pack food to take to eat in the room. Skip meals that sort of thing. And for someone with diabetes that’s a bad scene.

But I’ll do what I have to do in order to make things work. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.
I say people like to underestimate me. They may see me at my worst or weak moment. That’s the thing I tend to be very open. I wish I could change that about myself sometimes. It’s a double edged sword.

With that openness people tend to come into my life. Mostly good, some not so good and I don’t always ready them well. Especially when I’m manic. With mania I have severe lack of ability to read a situation clearly. It is not something I wish on anyone.

Thank god I have people in my life who I can lean on in situations like these. Missy, Julie, my parents (although they are not always the best judge of character either) it’s these people I depend on to guide me through situations I might not always know best on.

You already know how awesome I think Missy is. I think Pam is awesome too. But Julie is truly the newest godsend. She offered me a way out of a bad situation and I took it.
I feel stress in my back.

Tension just by sitting here and writing. That truly blows.

But anyway Julie Fink is my friend and she is awesome. I cannot explain how much I love her. Yes I’m a little bit scared of her. But then I’m scared of a lot of things.

Anyhoo.

Missy and I soldier on with the film. The Kickstarter campaign has been hard. We just crested $500 but we also have hooks in the water with 7 producers and one contact which could yield some big results. But as they say nothing is definite until the check is cashed and it clears and then sometimes not even then.

Well as we prepare for Film-Com with a proof of concept video shoot, I hope all is well with you and yours as it is with me and mine.

Sincerely,


Amy McCorkle

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

People want to know what my secret to recovery is. None of it’s a secret. Here recently our little film that could has suffered some setbacks. It has stressed me out. It’s made me question whether or not it is worth forging ahead with the dream that is Letters to Daniel. You see stress is a big trigger for me. The more stress I feel the more unbalanced things become, the more vulnerable to manic or depressive episodes I get.

Is it anyone’s fault that this is the case? Of course not. It’s not even mine. But when the stress bears down on me it becomes difficult to function properly. It often pushes me to the edge and that can be hard not just on me but everyone around me who must deal with the person I become under these conditions.

It is incumbent upon me and those around me to make sure I don’t make a rushed or rash decision. No one deserves that. Not the other producers, the cast or the crew. Letters to Daniel is a team, a family. One that is reliant on each working part doing its job to see to it that the film makes it to the finish line.

If there is one thing I am most proud it’s my ability to acknowledge when something becomes too much to deal with. And when it is, to lean on those around me for support and encouragement.
Perhaps things would be much easier if I could just learn to roll with the punches. Alas it is a specific skillset I am sorely lacking in. I absorb each punch and feel its full force. These punches hurt. They often sending me flying only to land hard on my ass each time. It takes time to recover. Some punches aren’t as hard as others. Therefore they don’t take as long as to recover from them. 

Sometimes you absorb multiple blows in a short time and it leaves you questioning whether or not you should be on this path at all.

But then my best friend on this journey, Missy absorbs some of my attitude, picks me up dusts me off, and drives me through the park and brings me to the bookstore where I go to get in touch with the true joy of what I do.

The writing.

Writing is where I keep my balance.

Writing is where I find my joy.

Writing is where I find my healing.

Writing is where I find the strength to get back up to fight another day. It’s where I find the purpose of why I started writing this blog in the first place.

Letters to Daniel has never been about the fame and the fortune. It’s been about following the light your work has inspired me to follow my own creative endeavors. It’s been about shining my light so that others might be able to find their way out of the darkness.

Sharing my hope and day to day recovery, and showing them that, even when there are setbacks, as they will happen, it is possible to keep going, one foot in front of the other.

That it’s not about when you get knocked down. That it’s more about the decision to get. back. up.
Already, with the penning of this blog I feel better. I know that the journey ahead, although stressful will be worth it when all is said and done.

Sincerely,


Amy McCorkle