The Dru Mack Spotlight Series

Last year, I worked with professional climber, Dru Mack, to create a documentary series that focused on himself as a climber as well as his then upcoming trip to Spain. Three videos separate videos were created and then compiled into one mega film which can be watched here.

Cats of Greece | Photo Series

I think possibly one of the best things about Athens, Greece is that there are cats everywhere. They’re in the squares, the outdoor restaurants, the parks - you name it. And people are okay with it.

What better an idea for a photo series than our lovely feline friends. Enjoy.

The NYC Short Screenplay Challenge

late last year i signed up to participate in a short screenplay challenge hosted by NYC Midnight.

the challenge consists of 4 rounds, the final two of which you have to qualify for based on the amount of points you earn. the rules were simple: participants were placed in groups which would be given random parameters - a genre, a primary location, and an object that physically appears in the story - that needed to be followed. screenplays could not exceed 5 pages in length (not including the title page) and had to be written and submitted within 48 hours of the round parameters being released. let the games begin.

for this challenge, i was placed in a group with 27 other writers who i was then scored against. i participated in the first two rounds and did not qualify for the third, but finished in 7th place in my group. i am extremely grateful of the experience i gained through this challenge and am happy to have participated. both of my screenplays were written in 24 hours rather than 48 due to scheduling complications.

below are more detailed breakdowns of rounds 1 and 2.

ROUND ONE: a comedy / a house for sale / a swan

comedy is hard and it’s definitely not my forte. i had two main ideas for this script:

idea 1: an amateur realtor holds her first open house and it seems to be a bust until an eccentric middle-aged couple shows up. oh yeah, they also have a swan for a child.

idea 2: an eccentric, homeless, middle-aged couple and their family of swans are squatting in a house when a realtor shows up for an open house. now they have to go room to room hiding their flock and evading the realtor and potential homebuyers until they can make a clean escape.

i decided to write to the first idea because with my time limit, it seemed like an easier plot to write to and something that i could do in 5 pages or less. the second idea is something that i will most likely come back to and develop in the future.

read it here: Open House

for this round i placed 12th and earned 3 points.

ROUND 2: a thriller / a beach cottage / a banana

turns out that i love writing thrillers. probably because thriller falls within my top three favorite genres.

i only had one idea for this round which took elements and inspiration from Inception, Black Mirror’s White Bear, and Black Mirror’s White Christmas. this one’s a little hard to explain and i personally think it’s easier to read it.

i’m really proud of this story and will definitely be returning to it with revisions. i’m not quite sure if i want to expand it as i think it serves well as a short.

read it here: Playback

for this round i placed 1st and earned 15 points.

after each round we receive some feedback from the judges and in this round i received invaluable feedback from one particular judge. they stated, “if i were an exec, i’d read anything you had.” let me just say it here: it is hard to be a creative. every day i wonder if i’ve made the right decisions and if it’s truly possible to make a career out of something you love. i put myself down and compare myself to professionals who *surprise* have been doing this for far longer than i have. you can think things all the time, but this judge took the time to specifically tell me this and the inspiration and encouragement it has fostered is something i was in desperate need of.

2019 Goals

so i’ve never actually done this but i read it somewhere that if you write down your goals you’re more likely to complete them. so here it goes.

  1. travel. you’ve got a valid passport. you’ve got some money. go some places.

  2. start writing your book. you’re writing it in your head and it’s going somewhere. your idea is so much clearer than where you began. putting it down on paper does not finalize it. write.

  3. earn your delta. and then some. race your heart out and have fun. good luck on those back-to-back trifecta weekends.

  4. film stuff. you need content to make your documentary so just film everything. too much footage is better than too little. don’t get in your head about it not turning out the way you envisioned it.

  5. send 5.13. you’re strong. others have faith in you. enjoy the season and work hard for your victory whip.

  6. do whatever it takes to be proud of what you create. this one is important. don’t be afraid to let go of the things tying you down to better the things that make you fly. you don’t have to carry other people’s worlds on your shoulders. you have people behind you to support you when you make these tough decisions.

  7. take care of your mental health. take a break. take a nap. don’t stretch yourself thin. cry sometimes. feel sad. accept sadness. you don’t have impress anyone. you don’t have to carry other people’s worlds on your shoulders.

  8. create stuff that’s ‘good enough.’ it doesn’t need to be perfect because i’m telling you now that you’ll never get there. make sure it’s the best thing you can create with what you have at your disposal.

  9. nolite te bastardes carborundorum. have a good year and have a good one after that.

Skeletons - My Current Thoughts On Young Adult Suicide and Mental Health

Earlier this week I attended a memorial for my friend's brother. He was 23.

Two days ago I learned that a classmate passed away. He was 21. 

Both lost their battle with mental health.

 

My mind is in all sorts of places right now and I'm not exactly sure how to explain it. I felt like a stranger sitting at the memorial for my friend's brother, as I didn't really ever know him and was more in attendance to show love and support for her. I didn't cry and yes, I was sympathetic, but I otherwise I felt like a stranger who wasn't supposed to be there.

When I learned of my classmate though, my reaction was different and his passing was much more effective on my heart than I could've imagined. Yes, we were friends, but we never really hung out with each other. We were more like friends from afar. He kept up with my life and I kept up with his via social media but other than that we never really talked.

My heart hurt though, much more than I could've ever planned for. I could actually feel the heaviness of my heart.

Perhaps it was because I kept up to date on his life - the achievements, the wonders, the art. Or perhaps it was because his passing was so sudden and so unexpected. 

Mental health is something that we seem not to talk about, but very much know it exists. Like a great big secret that could destroy the family if it were to be let out. But it's not a secret because it's very much real and very much dangerous.

Through all of this, I couldn't find the words to explain my thoughts and feelings on young suicide and mental health; so I wrote a screenplay that hopefully conveys those feelings. I have no plans to revise this nor incorporate it into any current projects. This draft serves solely as a statement of where my mind is.

Read it here: Skeletons Draft

 

I Was In A Disney Movie

okay, so i wasn't in an actual disney movie, but it was pretty damn magical. 

her favorite movie is Tangled so why would she not be the one i take to a lantern festival? no words can ever describe the emotions i felt while we launched our lanterns into the sky. and yeah, i'm sure it's not exactly environmentally friendly, but it was worth going to at least once.

you never think something can happen the way it does in the movies, but it did. 

okay, so the lanterns aren't easy to get in the air. instead of flying up, they fly sideways and hit anything in their path. you spend so much time trying to get yours in the air that you don't realize the marvel occurring around you. in Tangled, it starts with one, slowly floating up towards the heavens. then a few more and cut to a wide shot, the sky is filled with impromptu stars. even in the movie it's so beautiful and spectacular and you can't help but stand there gawking at it. 

none of the photos or video i took will be able to do it justice, but they'll definitely help in remembering the magic.

 

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KENTUCKIANA PRIDE 2017

yes, i am aware that it is not in fact 2017, but that we are in the year 2018. 

last year, the aclu of kentucky asked me to film their float in the kentuckiana pride parade and it is officially one year since the video came out! (my facebook let me know.)

in honor of the 1 year anniversary, i thought i'd share it here with you as well. i am super super proud of this video and hope you like it.

produced by KADEN QUINN
camera meaghan and olly
music "only love" by scomber; sourced under a creative commons license

 

If I Am A Straight Cisgender Person, Can I Still Come To Pride?

The month of June is upon us which means that it is Pride month. Something I see pop up every year around this time is the question "if I don't identify as LGBTQ+, can I still come to Pride?"

In my opinion, the short answer is yes. You can still come to pride.  It would seem hypocritical to ban a group of people from a place or event based on the way they identify.

But if you do not identify as LGBTQ+ and come to Pride (allies, I'm looking at you too) you need to understand that Pride does not exist for you. This is not the moment to pat yourself on the back for supporting a marginalized community. I wholeheartedly agree that the LGBTQ+ community and progress would not be where it is at without the help and support of allies, but Pride is not meant for you. Think of it like a birthday party. You are by all means welcome to come and party with us, but you're not the birthday kid, so don't make it about you.

Pride is a celebration of identities. It's a celebration of who we are, where we've been, and the future we strive for. It's a celebration to remember those we've lost, for any reason, along the way. It's a celebration of the trailblazers, the revolutionists, and all the beautiful people in this community.

The way I see it, anyone is welcome at Pride as long as you are open to and recognize the history that it incites from. So, a couple of things to set straight (haha) before you come to pride.

If you are homophobic, transphobic, bi-phobic, queer-phobic, literally just hateful to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community the other 364 days of the year, you are not needed at Pride. This is not your 1 day to forget your hate so you can come to the party.

If you are coming to Pride to gawk, stare, and criticize LGBTQ+ culture, you are not needed at Pride. 

If you are coming to Pride to spew hate or say how we're all going to hell (Religious protesters, I'm looking at you) you are not needed at Pride. Literally do anything else. 

If you are coming to Pride because you like rainbows and that's it, come have fun, but please open your heart to learning about the culture revolving around Pride.

If you come to Pride, will people automatically think you are gay or LGBTQ+? Probably not. To be honest, no one really f*cking cares so just dance your heart out. (But usually we can tell who's straight and who's not. The Gaydar is strong.)

If you see someone you know at Pride, whether they are out or not, go up and say hi! It may be awkward, but seeing people at Pride can also be a relief because it expands their support system.

BUT! On Monday morning, do not shout across the office that you saw someone at Pride. Closeted people still go to Pride! Do not out someone because it can be harmful, embarrassing, and frankly just rude.

If I take my kids to Pride, will it be traumatic? No? What's traumatic about people being happy and celebrating? If you're worried about people's outfits (or lack thereof) then it's up to you to decide what you consider inappropriate for your kids. Even if you don't feel comfortable enough bringing your kids to Pride, thank you for your support nonetheless.

There's probably much more to say, but that's my spiel. If you want to come to Pride, then come to Pride, but please do make an effort to learn about the history that it derives from. Come with an open mind and to celebrate this beautiful community. Also, please don't make it about yourself!

My Biggest "What If" Play

today the class of 2018 at dupont manual high school graduated. today, i watched another class of brilliant minds walk across the stage, receive a diploma, and be inducted to the crimson alumni. and i am so happy for them.

in 2016, i watched another class, my class, walk across the stage and receive a diploma from the "top school in kentucky." i knew their faces, i knew their names, and i knew their brilliance. and i was so happy as i watched my classmates walk across the stage radiating their greatness. 

i remember those months in eight grade frantically applying and anxiously waiting to hear if you had been accepted into high school. that sounds so strange, to have to apply to high school, but that's what we did. and i remember coming home and receiving a letter with red and black confetti inside. and i remember being so ecstatic to be accepted into the best school in kentucky, because it meant that you were going to get into a great college and be successful because you went to dupont manual high school. at least that's what they always told us. and once you received your letter, you still anxiously waited for your friends to receive theirs and celebrated when they did or cried when they didn't. but in all honestly, it probably would've been better just to have been rejected because then i would have gotten over it by now.

in 2014 after finishing my sophomore year of high school, i made a quiet and silent exit from dupont manual to st. francis school where i would complete my high school education. i told few people about my leaving and throughout junior year to even moments after their graduation, people asked if i still went there. (note: st. francis was fantastic, it was the right and best choice to be made.)

dupont manual high school was the first and is still one of the largest triggers of all of my mental illnesses and i transferred for the betterment of my physical and mental health. dupont manual high school was the darkest time of my life as of today, and yet it is still my biggest "what if" play. 

i believe it exists as my biggest "what if" because i have this unyielding longing to have "dupont manual high school" printed on my diploma, which is frankly absurd because all associations with the dupont name did not apply to me. i was not the top of my class. i did not score a 30 or above on the act. i was not winning awards or titles for my school. there are many students who do not fit into these brackets either, but while enrolled, it felt like my core responsibility to uphold the esteemed recognition of the dupont name. i had to be great

perhaps it's because louisville does this weird thing where when you meet someone you ask what school they went to - not college, high school because it matters for some reason. and when i tell people i graduated from st. francis they nod and tell me that they've heard of it and that it's a good school. but it's not manual; they know what manual is.

i guess the point of this is that i'm angry and i'm upset and i'm frustrated and i don't know why i am all of those things. i am still stuck and i've been stuck on the "what if i hadn't left manual" for 4 years and it's just getting exhausting. doing poorly at manual made me feel like a failure but somehow leaving and excelling at st. francis makes me feel like an even larger failure. i didn't graduate from the "top school in kentucky." i couldn't make it through; i wouldn't have made it through. 

it makes me so mad because in everything i do i am a perfectionist. it has to be great. but great can be toxic so i'm trying to practice "good enough." it is good enough. and yet here i am writing this long and drudging post because it is stuck in my brain that i was not good enough to graduate from manual. i keep telling myself that the only way to move forward is to accept and forgive so that i can start to heal. there's no way in my heart that i can forgive dupont manual high school for how its affected me, nor should i have to forgive them. so maybe its myself that i need to forgive, but i just don't know how to do that. right now it'll just have to exist as my biggest "what if" and the only thing i can do is deal with it.

"You Cant Love Someone Else Until You Love Yourself" is Bullshit.

there's a saying that states "you can't love someone else until you love yourself." I call bullshit. 

if i've loved myself for a while, then why am i still single? don't worry, this isn't a petty post. instead of "you can't love someone until you love yourself" i propose "you can't love someone else until you understand yourself."

in today's day and age, many relationships fail and this statement is used as an easy scapegoat. does that make it wrong? of course not. but i believe it is something much more complex than the lack of self love. 

at the end of may last year, i walked out of my college's doors with no intention to go back. for a multitude of reasons (which i will not get into) i had the realization that college was not the best environment for me. though i had done some previously, i've spent this past year working endlessly to learn more about myself and the sources that my problems incite from. as a filmmaker, i've learned that there is always a reason behind a character's actions. this translates to reality as well. there is always a reason why a person does what they do, says what they say, and feels what they feel. i wouldn't necessarily say i've been soul-searching because that implies at one point my soul was lost and needed to be found. i've always known where my soul is. i just didn't know who it was. that sounds crazy, i know, but bear with me. perhaps call it "soul-dating" for lack of a better term.

at the beginning, all i knew was that my mental health was not great. and through following my path of triggers and then expanding from those, i was able to deduce that the main source revolves around my relationships. at the core of almost everything, i almost always came back to friendships: things that have been beaten, torn, forgotten, and abandoned. 

it is through this "soul-dating" that i have been able to understand the causes of my depression, my anxiety, and my inability to trust. but of all of these, absolutely the most important thing i've been able to learn is the way someone can tell me that they love me.

so back to the main idea: "you can't love someone until you understand yourself." from the relationships i've had and the relationships i've witnessed, there is almost nothing more frustrating than someone repeatedly asking "how can i help?" and you can't give them an answer because you don't know what you need. it's like when you go to a job interview and they ask you where you see yourself in 5 years and you don't know where you see yourself next week. because of my journey, i now have answers to all those questions. well, maybe not all of them.

to anyone who has the time, i definitely encourage for you to go on a date or two with your soul. not only now do i know who it is, but i am at a much more peaceful state knowing how i can combat the harsh, avoid the worst, and embrace the good.

 

separate, specific posts will be made in the future about my "soul-dating" 

Poppers and Pups!

the other day was my dear friend, Olly's, surprise birthday party. gathered with a group of great friends, celebratory poppers were mandatory. they also have the cutest dog who likes things bigger than him.

this was the first time i got to really try the Sony A7III's continuous and action shooting properties. 

 

STALKER - my first short film

two years ago around this time, i released my first official short film to the world, STALKER. 

looking back now, there's many things that are wrong or could be bettered about this film. but it's still the first and i'm very proud of what i accomplished practically on my own. this film was the main focus and project for my high school video class and presented many frustrations with the teacher and my "crew."

it was finished on time, nonetheless.

written and produced by KADEN QUINN
cast zoe, juan, jerry
assistant camera clay
all music licensed under creative commons or royalty free

My First 12c

three days later and i'm back out in the red. 

sport route difficulty is graded differently than bouldering, so i don't really know what my limit is right now. i've got a vague idea, though. in my opinion, grades are incredibly subjective and can vary based on numerous factors: outdoor or indoor, length, types of moves, and types of climbing holds (crimps, slopers, pinches, etc.). 

after warming up in secret garden, we headed over to the monastery to hop on middle path (12c). with some rough lil' crimps, two large moves (the first and second crux) and the final task of clipping the chains while being super pumped out, this route was tough.

after a fierce battle, i sent it, or at least my definition of what an outside send is. was it pretty or graceful? not exactly, but i made it to the top with only a few whips; my first time whipping on lead to be exact. this route was extremely fun and i will definitely be returning in the future to do a clean run now that i know the beta.

 

4.11.18

I Went Outside!

i finally did it. i went outside.

after 10 years of climbing indoors, i finally made the not-as-long-as-i-thought trip to the beautiful red river gorge. prepared only to top rope (climbing with the rope on a fixed anchor at the top), i took a leap of faith and lead climbed for the very first time. not only did i send Grandpa Joe (5.9), but i flashed it! the rest of the day was filled with incredibly fun climbs, joyous friends, and i left with an urge of inspiration and feeling of overwhelming happiness that i haven't felt in a long time. spoiler alert: i went home and immediately bought all my own gear.

so why did it take me so long to get outside? there's a number of reasons i can answer with, but when it comes down to it, they're all bullshit. the gorge was too far away. i didn't have the gear. i didn't know how to lead climb. i'd have to top rope everything. i didn't have the time. i didn't have anyone to go with. it was too hard to find a time that worked with everyone's schedules. blah, blah, blah, blah. 

this outdoor excursion opened a new door and release to the stress of my daily life and i absolutely cannot get enough of it. so take a chance and do it, especially with people you love. if you're waiting for the perfect moment to do something you've always wanted to do, it's never going to come. 

photos taken by myself and my lovely friend, reese garza.

4.8.18