Archive for Month: December 2016

Fight or Flight

Hello all!

I’m writing this while laying on my parents’ couch. Ahh, I can’t remember last time was I able to lay down and just relax. I’ve already mentioned the fact that I’ve had less than five hours of actual free time since September, right? Well, anyway, my point is that I made it back to Norway! Yay!

But things didn’t look too bright when I checked in at the airport in Sioux Falls, and they told me I’d miss my next flight because of a two-hour delay, and that I’d have to get a hotel in Chicago before I could fly out the next day.

The next day?! Uh uh, I wasn’t in the mood for that, and you already know I’m too competitive for my own good, so what did I do?

Well, as soon as I landed in Chicago, I ran. And I mean — I RAN! I can honestly say I haven’t run that fast since before I quit track. I was also wearing a dress coat, boots, a scarf and a handbag, while wheeling my carry-on suitcase next to me, so yeah, things could have been more comfortable, to say the least!

My outfit looked something like this. Very athletic.


As I dug out my best stride, people started cheering, and I heard several “oh-my-God”s and “wow”s underway. Yup, it must’ve looked pretty bizarre, especially considering my clothes, but the thought of possibly having to wait another full day before I could even begin the 24-hour journey, made my primal instincts kick into full overdrive.

About a mile later, I nearly threw up out of exhaustion, but through blurred contact lenses I could see a lady waving a huge sign with “Munich” on it. She yelled, “just run, you’re almost there.”

The climax of this story is that I did make it. The gate crew had just locked the doors, but after quick phone call they let me in. I could feel sweat run down my back and I coughed for the next 20 minutes — but I was on my way home for Christmas!

About 20 hours later, the whole thing repeated itself. This time — because my luggage got lost in Oslo — and I had to run across the whole airport to get a ticket for the night’s last flight. But I’ll spare you the details of how I could feel the plane-food crawl its way up my throat and how I almost— okay, okay, I said I’d spare you, so, yeah. I got the last seat, and made it to Haugesund where my dear family was waiting. Hallelujah!

24 hours after I left Dakota I didn’t exactly feel at my freshest. #sweatyisthenewskinny

I can hereby confirm that the “fight of flight response” is real, and since we’re talking about airplanes I thought the title was appropriate. Consider this a follow-up to my earlier post: Sweaty is the New Skinny.

Bless you,

Mini-doc: A Place to Belong

Good afternoon!

In my previous post I talked about the mini-documentary I’ve been working on for my photojournalism class — and it’s finally done!

My group — consisting of Taylor Olson, Shi Almont and Kaylyn Deiter — was assigned the “Arts & Entertainment-beat,” so the theatre felt like a natural place to start. But we quickly realized that the three minute-limit was too short — too short for all the amazing stories we found underneath the costumes and behind the stage at the Edith Mortenson Center.

However, I want to thank everyone who helped us out with the interviews we didn’t fit into the film. I still have all the footage, so if I find myself overly bored on the plane across the Atlantic on Wednesday I may extend the whole thing and let everyone’s voices be heard — because you were all amazing.

Now, without further ado, hit the gear-tool to turn on the HD-quality and watch it:

Shot with a Canon T2i Rebel dslr camera.

Sam Mettler, Malia Lukomski and Juvyan Abobakr.

Maria Lavelle — Director, Producer, Editor + Camera and Sound
Kaylyn Deiter — Assisting Camera/Editor
Shi Almont — Assisting Camera/Editor
Taylor Olson — Assisting Camera/Editor
Sarah Kocher — Editing Adviser via Facebook (Everybody could benefit from some Kocher-opinions, just saying.)

People featured in the film:
Andrew Canaan, Jocelyn Schipper, Sage Backer, Alex Meyer, Michal Barnes, Derek Somnis, Katie Jenkins and Tristan Love.

Special thanks to:
Rachel Polan, Matthew Schilling, Alessandra Abel, Jayna Fitzsimmons and the cast of “7×7 Plus One”


A mini-documentary in the making

In my previous post I mentioned “a much appreciated reunion with the editing room,” and it wasn’t just something I said to sound cool — it’s actually true. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent a significant amount of hours in the in front of a computer editing video. It’s been a while since last time. In fact, I haven’t edited anything since Over the Bridge in early March. It’s not that I’ve avoided it, I’ve simply been so busy. But man, it was great to be back at it!

Throwback to this past spring’s long days of editing. Click to play.

I’ve been working on a 3-minute video about the Augustana Theatre. I know three minutes sounds like nothing, but the shorter the video, the harder is to actually tell a story.

I must’ve spent close to 20 hours editing this piece, which probably wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to create a film that I could, for the first time, be technically satisfied with — at least for week or two. I’ll soon find something I could have done better, and in a few months I’ll hopefully laugh at how bad it is, because that means progress happened somewhere along the way.

Don’t get me wrong though; I’m still proud of Over the Bridge, but it feels so long ago that my filmmaker-heart hurts a little every time I listen to the jumpy sound and see the shaky, unfocused footage. We were working in extremely rough conditions, but I now realize that I didn’t know as much about the technical aspects of filmmaking as I thought I did.

So this time I really wanted to focus on the “look” of the film, and I must say that I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s not perfect, but considering I’m still shooting with my “lousy” Canon 550D, it’s not too shabby.

“I didn’t pick theatre because I wanted a lucrative career. I picked theatre because I wanted a place to belong.” — Sam Mettler, with Jocelyn Schipper.
“The people who don’t want to involve different sexual orientations or different ethnic groups . . . they don’t make it here.” — Malia Lukomski.


Screenshot. Malia Lukomski.

I’ll publish the video on Monday, so stay tuned!



First of all, thank you so much for the beyond-amazing response on my last post! It took a lot to share that story, which is why I didn’t do it earlier, but I’m so happy that at least some of you found it inspiring. More than a 1,200 of you stopped by the blog in the hours that followed, and I’m still sort of overwhelmed by all the hugs and nice comments I received the days after. Wow, I have a lot of amazing people in my life. Thank you.

In that regard, I figured it was time to post something less serious, so here’s a perfectly shallow post about what I’ve been up to since last time.


I’ve been swimming (but mostly drowning) in my homework, so the relief of having finished several huge projects is now real.

Also, with the current situation in the US, I probably shouldn’t speak too loudly about building walls, but that’s what I’ve been doing — I’ve designed, built and painted two so-called “Hollywood flats” for my stagecraft class!

It was kinda awful because I had to do it while also catching up on a project I missed when I was traveling for three weeks. But thanks to a couple of very late nights and a lot of rushing, I finally got it done.


I’ve never painted anything except a wall in Rannveig’s house, but I think it’s something I could learn to like …  without the pressure of a deadline, mind you … The lack of hours turned the whole thing into a very sloppy process, but it’s not fine art, so who cares if I went to bed with paint inside my ears.

I’ve also spent the weekend in Minnesota and had a much appreciated reunion with the editing room, but I’ll tell you more about that and my little film project next time.

Have a blessed evening,

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