Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tamale Cup

Went down to SA to hang out and shoot with the Yarn Dawgz... again. They were doing an installation at the Tamale Festival in the Pearl Brewery. I was a little unclear on exactly what Dino, Billy and Sasha had in store but I was game.

One thing to know about San Antonio (and Austin to a certain degree) is that San Antonio loves having street festivals. Sometimes it feels like there's a street festival every weekend during the nice seasons of Texas. Even though it's December, it's still pretty nice outside in Central Texas. The Tamale Festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday. The fest celebrates local traditions associated with the holidays and feature cooking demonstrations, food from the roasting spit, and more than 30 vendors boasting traditional, sweet, vegetarian and other tamale varieties. The festival concludes with the River of Lights celebration, caroling, and music and entertainment for the entire family. (All proceeds benefit the Culinary Institute of America and local charities.) Why not have a festival celebrating tamales.

The Yarn Dawgz was going to be doing a public installation of a table, chairs, and dining set inspired by Mexican Serape blankets
that would later be sold at the Melissa Guerra Tienda de Cocina. It was pretty relaxed shoot. I was mostly interested in film the Yarn Dawgz just hanging out and knitting. Dino had some work to do back at Jump Star so it was just Billy and I for most of the morning and early afternoon. After several hours, it became obvious the the installation was not progressing fast enough. Once Dino and Sasha showed up, I took a small break and walked around the festival. I am a people watcher so I relished in walking around all the fest's activity. I was super hungy but was completely overwhelmed by all the options. I honestly didn't even know what line I was in but I ended up getting two Tamale Cups, which is a tamale in a cup. I brought one back to Billy and we joked about the concept of tamale cup. He even dubbed "Tamale Cup" as my new nickname. I can't remember why.

As the afternoon progressed on, Dino and Sasha worked diligently on the table and chairs. I felt a little bad filming instead of helping so I decided to help out a little bit. I'm not sure where most documentary filmmakers feel about the relationship between the filmmaker and the subjects. I'm starting to think I'm too close to the Yarn Dawgz. I'm fine with it but I wonder what others think. I personally have never yarn bombed. I knit like a madman but I don't bomb. I'm trying to stay an observer in that world. So all I did for the Yarn Dawgz was knit. I didn't do the actual installation.

In the end, they didn't finish the installation but I got some great footage.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Feelin' a bit Woolly headed

Back in September Magda Sayeg was contacted by an advertising company to make a commercial based off the British saying "Feelin' a bit Woolly headed" and using that to make a knitted a play-on-words. Magda worked with the Ad Firm and local knitters to help conceptualize the ad.

After months of hard work, the commercial is done, just in time for flu season.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I just spent the weekend filming with the Yarn Dawgz of San Antonio and I am filled with filmmaking adrenalin. I even called John on Friday night at like 3:30 am which means it was technically Saturday morning and said "I LOVE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING! I want to do this FOREVER" on his voicemail. I vaguely remember this, he had to remind me.

One rule of documentary filmmaking is that nothing ever goes as planned so be prepared.
The plan was:
* Friday night film B Roll of the Yarn Dawgz, shoot Dino and Billy doing stuff for JumpStart at First Friday.
* Saturday film the installation at Blue Star and shoot one interview.
* Sunday film the other interview and get pick up shots. If time get scenic B Roll of San Antonio

I was a little nervous about the Friday shoot because I would be filming on my own in a very crowded area. John is in Portugal, Spencer is busy with school and Taylor is working. First Friday is an awesome San Antonio South Town tradition where all the art galleries and local shops open their doors to the city and have a big party on the First Friday of the month. It was going to be hard to be a one woman crew but I was up for the challenge.

I got to Jump Start around 4pm because of all the traffic on I-35 from Austin, thankfully before all crowds showed up on South Alamo Street in the Blue Star Art complex. I put mics on Dino and Billy and just started filming them in their natural element. Jump Start was preparing for a window performance of a graffiti artist taggin' a boxcar. I wasn't really sure what I was in for but was excited by whatever it was going to be. The guys also took me around the complex to show me an old installation that they wanted to take down. It was great to see the decay of an installation. It was faded and kind of gross, (which is awesome). I'm starting to think that the rot of an old installation can somehow be an ending to the documentary itself. I shot the guys deinstalling the piece before getting swallowed by the twilight Blue Star crowd.

The guys got back to work while I absorbed the environment. When it was show time everyone in Jump Star was running around like crazy. Thankfully they were doing two shows so that I should get different shots of the performance. I was blown away by the show. It starred Cros, the other initial Yarn Dawg (who actually lives next door to Billy and Dino). It was about a graffiti artist sneaking around and tagging a boxcar and then being chased by the cops, only to have one of the cops tag a bench herself. It was really beautiful and powerful. I love live performances and theater. Nothing I could write or film could really capture just being there.

After a crazy long day I was exhausted but my adrenaline was still pumping through my veins. Billy and Dino invited me out to the Strip. Now I'm from San Antonio but I haven't lived there for 8 years so I didn't know what the Strip was. There's a delightful area of Main Street in San Antonio, called the Strip, that has become populated by gay clubs. It was awesome. I'll leave out the details of the night but it included some food at Luther's Cafe accompanied by a Drag Queen singing Adele (actually better than Adele sings), some drinks and dancing at a place everyone refers to as Gay Bennigans. I was feeling good. I logged my footage and was in bed by 4am.

Saturday I met up with Dino and Billy at Blue Star to shoot their installation. I suited up (put my equipment on) and the guys got ready. As we're filming, Billy and Dino notice that their knitted pieces don't fit the poles like they thought. They discussed the options. They looked around the complex to see if their pieces could fit anywhere else. In the end it started to rain and they decided that they would not do a project that they didn't feel 100% proud of. I went back to the guy's place which turned out to be a yarn bombed sanctuary. Billy even walked me down their street to show me all the stop sign posts he's done. We were running out of time because Dino and Billy were going to perform a song for their friend's birthday later that night. We called it a day and planned to meet on Sunday.

On Sunday I got a call from the guys who had to cancel because of family stuff. I was feeling so good from the stuff I got on Friday and Saturday that I didn't even feel sad about it. I could always get their interviews another time. Plus I can come back to shoot the finished installation.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vancouver Trip

This post is a little overdue. John and I went to Seattle and Vancouver over Labor Day weekend to visit Jessica Glesby, Leanne Prain, Mandy Moore and Yarn Core. Jessica of Yarn Core, based out of Seattle, ended up canceling on us which just meant we got to spend more time in the great nation of Canada. It was really great productive trip. I wish I could just work on my documentary all the time.

I'm temped to sit here to tell you all play by play how the trip went, list the great food we ate, talk about the wonderful things we saw, the feeling of adventure I felt in my gut but I'
m not going to. This is not a travel blog, this is my documentary blog. Of course this brings up an interesting issue, how honest can I be here? I mean if I confide in the blogosphere all the worries and problems I encounter, it might make me extra vulnerable to the world of criticism, doubt, and other negative vibes that come from being in the film industry. What if an investor reads one of my blog postings and thinks I'm too ____(fill in blank) and then doesn't want to invest. Just something to think about.

With each trip I take and each shoot I do I get better which is true for most things. I've had many conversations with people about what does a documentary director actually do, w
hat does a documentary producer actually do and interestingly enough, the answers are never really the same. Different people have different ethics and ideas about what you can do and not do in documentary filming. After our International Yarn Bombing Day shoot in San Antonio, I learned that I needed to make a wishlist shot list to help organize the shoot. Before we left on our trip I had written all the interview questions out, I had made a shot list, listed potential locations down, printed out maps to everything, scheduled the trip, and budgeted everything so we could not spend too much. A lot of these things are things producers usually do but for this trip I ended up doing most of it. I was pretty damn prepared. I even knitted John a hat and me a scarf for our trip.

Most of my hard work paid off while John and I were out in the field. I didn't account for a tremendous amount of traffic on I-5 coming into Vancouver which made us miss our first interview which was with Jessica Glesby. Thankfully Jessica was super cool and we rescheduled to do the interview in the morning, before our interview with Leanne and Mandy. She even gave John and I some suggestions of places to eat in Vancouver. Everything worked out because John and I got to squeeze in a little nap before we wandered around the downtown area in search of dinner. I won't get into it too much but Vancouver is beautiful and so are its people. We had a great time and got to go over everything for our big days of production on Saturday and Sunday.

We got up early Saturday and headed out to meet Jessica. Even though we were prepared, batteries charged and all, I felt a little nervous. It felt vaguely like I was about to go on a blind date. She and I had been in touch for months now but we hadn't really met. Once we were face to face it felt like we were old friends. John and I set up and dove right in. We had a two camera set up. Producer Spencer Stoner, lent us his Canon 5d Mark II. Jessica was really fantastic on camera. I felt like the interview went really well. John thought I was a little too formal and made the criticism that I should talk more conversationally. He said that Jessica was great but other interviewees might be more stiff on camera. Duly noted.

After lunch with Jessica and her boyfriend, we headed back downtown to meet Leanne and Mandy. We were meeting at Leanne's apartment on Bute Street. We got there and started setting up while casually talking to both of them. I had mentally prepared myself to be a better interviewer, I was relaxed and ready to be more conversational, less formal. They wanted to be interviewed together but I was also planning on interviewing them each on their own first. I could tell what made them great professional partners, they easily complimented each other. When one was stuck the other jumped in and vice versa. Once we got all our audio set and ready to go, we only had about an hour worth of battery power and space on our cards. This was disappointing but not devastating. Once we got as much as we could, we left knowing that we would meet up with them later for a nighttime yarn bomb.

We rushed back to the hotel to dump all the cards, power up all the batteries and physically and mentally rest. We got some dinner, tested all the equipment and packed the car again only to head about again. Once we met up with Leanne and Mandy we walked over to the Carlyl statue that they were going to yarn bomb. Some people stopped and watched, or just made comments as they walked by but no one stopped them or stopped us for filming (I love Canada). We got a lot of great stuff. I even used my GoPro camera to get some super low angle shots. After I looked at the footage later, I couldn't be happier with what we got.

After it was done, we all decided to go get a drink and just unwind. I was temped to put mics on them and film while we were hanging out but John talked me out of it. We hung out with Mandy and Leanne and got to know them better. Leanne has another book coming out called Hoopla.
Mandy has been writing for some craft sites and magazines. I wish I would have brought my knitting with me, I feel like I could have used her expertise. (She had to leave a little early that's why she's not in the picture to the left.) All and all it was a great day.

The next day was all for B-roll. Again, I had made a wish list of shots to get. John and I drove around Vancouver, each taking turns getting some shots. This was pretty fun. Eventually when the sun started to set, we reluctantly had to leave Canada and head back to Seattle where we were flying back at 5:00am.

I might have to go back to Vancouver at some point and meet back up with Jessica, Leanne and Mandy and see how they are all doing. This trip was really amazing. I now have 100 more Gigs to log and transcribe. I just realized that today is September 11th and everyone is remembering tragedy but I'm trying not to look back to the horrors of the past, I'm looking forwards to the beauty that people can create with yarn.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

a (not so quick) quick update

It's been a while since I posted but I don't want you to think that I've been taking a vacation from my documentary because it's actually the opposite. I've been so busy with a hundred different things that I keep forgetting to post updates. So here's the scoop:

I have been planning a trip to Vancouver / Seattle to visit Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, authors of the book Yarn Bombing, yarn graffiti scholar Jessica Glesby, and maybe the Seattle-based group Yarn Core (I'm still waiting for confirmation). John and I leave for this trip on Friday morning and come back on Labor Day. It's going to be really exciting. There are a lot of things to think about when planning a trip for a documentary. It's not just hotels and rental cards, I've been having to secure equipment, release forms, scout locations for places I've never been. I've been reading and reading about my interview subjects and writing question. I've even made a shot list of what I think we should shoot. So needless to say, it's a lot of work.

There's been a shift in my crew. I'm happy to announce that Taylor Hagan has joined the prestigious rank of producer along side Spencer Stoner. John is taking a hiatus from producing to work on his own project (check it out, it's pretty incredible, ONCE AGAIN). With Taylor and Spencer behind me, I know we're going to get more organized and get this thing made. Now none of my crew, Spencer, Taylor or John, can knit or crochet but they are all lovers of the craft. Hopefully by the end of this project I will teach them how to knit or crochet so that they can have some
yarn cred* in the community.

Lots of other fun things going on with the documentary. More grant applications. We're currently looking into securing fiscal sponsorship. I've also been toying around with the idea of getting an intern to help me get my footage transcribed and organized.

One thing to know about documentary filmmaking, is that it's a lot of planning, a lot of quick thinking, and a lot of work in post-production to make everything come together. It's never ending as far as the workday goes. I dream about making my doc. I'm starting to realize that documentary filmmakers must be a little crazy because it's a very unpredictable life that is almost constant stress, but I love it.

Last night I was happy to attend a Documentary Filmmaker Panel sponsored by a group at the University of Texas at Austin, Women In Cinema. The
panelists Laura Sobel, director of Cereal: History in a Bowl, Rakeda Lashae, documentary television director, and Mike Nicholson, producer of Better This World came together for an evening of shared non-fiction filmmaking secrets. I was really inspired by each of the panelists. As I heard them talk about their struggles, it gave me strength to persevere through this tough patch. I know that I'm on the right path.

* Yarn Cred is similar to Street Cred but it has to pertain to the world of crafts specifically the fibered arts. I don't think I came up with this on my own, I'm sure I've heard this or read this. Actually I think someone praised me and my documentary because I have yarn cred.
Yarn Cred - Commanding a level of respect in the craft world environment due to experience in or knowledge of issues affecting those environments.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Indiegogo is over

Well our online fundraising campaign is over. We had a good run. We raised $5,640 of a $15,000 goal by 112 different funders made up of friends, family, colleagues, knitters and strangers. I got 65 comments including favorites like, "Sarah Gonzalez has a true vision and I am glad o even have a small part in her success! All the best!", "Who knew that knit one, pearl two could unite the world. I look foward to seeing more.", "I am very impressed with your vision and the powerful message I know your film will send. Every action people take to make the world a better place is a worthy action. Congratulations in advance for this great work." and many many more.

Even though we didn't hit the goal, there is no doubt that this campaign was a huge success. Many people have found out about the documentary and are generally excited. We got enough money to travel to the Pacific Northwest to films some more yarn bombers. I'm excited. This is another beginning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's the Final Countdown!

Well there is only 5 days left in the online fundraiser on Indiegogo. I've been blasting everyone I knew on the internet and I'm sure a lot of people are getting annoyed with me and will be happy when my campaign is over too. We've already raised a little over $5,100 by 101 different funders which is amazing but isn't as much as I would have hoped for. I'm feeling really good though about the campaign, even though we are no where near the $15,000 goal. I'm glad we finally hit the $5,000 because it feels like a lot more than $4,000 which doesn't make sense. I'll also be glad when this whole campaign is over because it's been really stressful. Thankfully I'm not measuring my self worth by the success of this campaign.

Other exciting things that are happening: I'm working on the ITVS application even though I probably won't get it. I've been pulling my hair out trying to finish it. Both my producers, John Moore and Spencer Stoner, are too busy doing their own project to help me. (John is working on his MFA graduate thesis documentary and Spencer is working for the Discovery channel, producing a show in South America.) ITVS would be the dream grant if I get it because they help secure exhibition through PBS.

Redseven Entertainment GmbH, a German company is currently working on a TV-show named "Galileo Big Picture" for German national free TV broadcaster ProSieben is wants to use some of my footage for a segment about new fads in art and graffiti. We're still working out the logistics but it's pretty neat that I'm getting their attention.

I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to write about but I've been filming some things with Magda Sayeg lately.
I'm not going to name anything but she's been directing a commercial that has a lot of knitted/crocheted stop-motion animation. I've been shooting the behind-the-scenes of the making-of which has been really exciting. I'm going to share my footage with this ad adgency and in return they are going to share some of their behind-the-scenes footage of Magda and give me access to the finished commercial for my documentary. Because everything has been really last minute, I couldn't get anyone to help me shoot. I was running both sound and camera. I'm a little afraid that the ad company isn't going to like my footage as much as they would've hoped.

Tomorrow I'm suppose to be interviewed for
K&L Media in Bellingham, Washington, which is always exciting. Yay for more press.

As you can tell, it's been busy around here in yarn bombing documentary central. After the indiegogo campaign is over, I'll be planning a trip to Seattle and Vancouver.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stupid Me

Today I did something that may be stupid, I quit my job. You might be wondering why I'm sharing this here, well I'll tell you: I haven't been working on my documentary at all lately because I've been caught up in work drama. Lots and lots of drama. It was all just too much.

During the normal school year, I teach a high school film class and I work at UT helping the students in the film school produce their movies. I also work at a filmmaking non-profit which was my sole job this summer. I was suppose to work at a film camp this summer but not enough kids signed up so the job fell through. Needless to say I've been living on a part-time wage this summer and it's been rough. All the stress has been piling up. How could I raise money for my documentary when I barely had enough money to buy groceries? Today I woke up and realized that I didn't need that drama in my life, I need to focus and make sure I'm not going to bring work stuff home with me.

In my college career I have been thankful enough to have heard some great people speak: Spike Lee, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, Mike Judge, Richard Linklater, Morgan Spurlock etc. During one night, probably 3 or 4 years ago, I got the opportunity to hear Francis Ford Coppola speak. One thing stuck out to me about what he said, he credited his success in film to being a father. He said that when he first heard that he was going to be a father, the thought that he would be supporting his family pushed him to do whatever it takes to be successful. I don't need to get knocked up to hopefully push myself. I'm hoping that being unemployed for the next two months, barely having enough money to pay my bills, will light a fire inside me to do what it takes to succeed. It's been more stupid of me to neglect my doc. I not only owe it to myself to make this doc, but I owe it to the yarn graffiti community and all the people who have back my project on Indiegogo.

Sometimes it's okay to be stupid and take risks. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


When I was at work today, I wandered down the hall and was water-cooler talking with the guys at Picturebox Productions. In a lot of ways, I feel like Kevin (J. Smith) , Mike (Nicholson) and David (Layton) are my older brothers. They are all definitely super supportive on my doc. I'm hoping to raise enough money down the line for my doc so that I can hire them during my post production phase of my documentary. They did an amazing job with a feature documentary called Better This World. If you get a chance to see it, SEE IT. It was easily the best documentary I saw at SXSW Film Festival this year (Where Soldiers Come From at a super close second). I digress...

Today Mike showed me an article on Slate which was talking about this Craft Social Media Networking site called Ravelry. "The best social network you've (probably) never heard of is one-five-hundredth the size of Facebook." I feel stupid that I haven't been utilizing craft, knitting, and crocheting online communities. Today I joined Ravelry (user name Gonzography, please add me as a friend). It's awesome. I can't believe my friends and even my aunt have been on this site for years. It's funny because people are freaking out about Google+ but I'm getting excited about Ravelry.

Thanks Picturebox guys for always looking at for me! I now have a new way to waste, I mean spend my time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Side projects

Part of the reason I love this doing this documentary is because I'm a knitter. Ever night, after dinner is made and eaten, emails are sent, my boyfriend and I curl up on the couch and either watch movies or tv and I knit. I've only been knitting for the last 3 years or so and I'm honesty not every good. I only started purling a year and half in. I mostly taught myself through books (I wonder if I plug my favorite knitting books if they plug my documentary?) and through the encouragement of some of my more crafty friends.

I'm still trying to get crocheting down. My mom is a huge crocheter. She made my baby blanket while I was an infant in her arms. She said she never got into knitting. She's tried to help me with crochet but I just can't get into those hooks.

Here's what I've been working on recently:

Last summer I heard that I should expect to have a new nephew by the spring of this year. Once I heard the good news I started to make my first baby blanket. Since I'm really good at knitting squares and rectangles, I figured I would make a checkerboard square blanket. I cast on 40 knits then I alternated knitting one row then purling the next for 80 rows (classic stockinette stitch). My good friend Julia advised me to knit all the ends so that the ends of each square won't curl up too much. After 10 months, Jackson Douglas Gonzalez has arrived to the world and he has a new blanket...
My mom crocheted the edges to give it that more polished look. It's probably not the best blanket ever made, but it was my first blanket and is Jack's first (special) blanket.

After this huge task I really didn't have much inspiration to do anything. I had hit a wall with my knitting. During International Yarn Bombing Day I was hanging out with the Yarn Dawgz and Billy was making a little knitted pouch while we were sitting and hanging out. He ended up giving the pouch to David which David continued to gush about for the rest of our shoot. It really inspired me to try to make one myself.

I randomly switched between knitting and purling. I made it the size of an ipod/iphone and then I gave it to Amanda to cheer up her day. I made it in one sitting but I thought I could do a better job. So then I did this...

Again, it didn't take me long to do and it turned out ok. I still wasn't satisfied. I thought it was time to learn to knit with circular needles and double-sided needles. I took me several tries but ...and what I made was...

A much nicer ipod pouch! I'm pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

International Yarn Bombing Day

2011 has been a big year so far; a lot of great things have happened, especially for the fiber arts. Saturday June 11th, 2011 was the first International Yarn Bombing Day. It started off as a half-hearted idea to help spread the joy of yarn graffiti but became a huge world-wide sensation. It's really amazing. Thank goodness for the internet.

In this early stage of the documentary, this new holiday snuck up on me but I did not lose hope. John (my producer) and I got together to figure out this best way to utilize our resources. We were only going to be able to be in one place to film. I had to be in San Antonio for the weekend for another obligation so we found some San Antonio knitters/yarn bombers to follow. Brandy B.Link Garcia had contacted me a couple weeks ago about a project was doing with a Texas flag she was knitting that she was going to put over the Riverwalk. The Yarn Dawgz, which is a male knitting group, were also doing a project that they were inviting us to film. After our shoot was pretty scheduled, we decided we needed more: We did a call for footage which is a crazy idea that craft groups around the world could submit there home footage of their projects to us for the documentary. As the day comes to a close we already have 15 submission! I'm sure we'll get more.

Any excuse to come to San Antonio for a weekend is a good excuse but it's especially nice when I'm coming to SA-town for yarn graffiti. Friday was a long, productive day. John and I recruited friend and fellow filmmaker David Bukstein to help us film this weekend. We left Austin around 1:30 and got to San Antonio with just enough time to eat, regroup and leave to meet up with the Yarn Dawgz at the Pearl Brewery. We were greeted with hugs and smiles. Dino Foxx, Billy Munoz, Sasha Zeilig and Karen Arredondo were already busy installing there knitted piece. John miked them and David and I hopped on shooting all the activity and color. We were instantly at home with this group.
We couldn't stay with the Yarn Dawgz all night because we needed to me
et up with B.Link but we could have easily done so; they were a lot of fun. After lots of whip stitches, interviews, yarn, anecdotes, and Dino doing a quick freestyle while Billy keeps the beat with the knitting needles on the pipe (see photo on right), we left the Yarn Dawgz.

Our next destination was to meet Brandy at the DIY Factory. The DIY Factory is a wonderful little store and community craft education center. They were having a party of Etsy's Birthday which created a bundle of activity. We were a little more relaxed with our shooting since Brandy was just preparing for her late night installations. We charged some batteries, got some footage of Brandy getting ready, did an interview and got ready to go out on the Riverwalk with Brandy to install her knitted and crocheted pieces. John and I had a little trouble finding parking near where she was going to install the knitted Texas flag, so David came to the rescue and popped out to capture the moment while it was happening. We found parking and met up with David and Brandy and started doing our thing. Because Brandy was installing her pieces after midnight, in the shadows, on the Riverwalk, near the Pearl, she was a little nervous. As filmmakers, we respected this and backed off and took extra steps to not draw attention to what she was doing. We didn't have any problems other than some sprinklers and some drunk passerbys. After a long day, we got some late-night sustenance from Mi Terra.

Today we met back up with Dino and Billy from the Yarn Dawgz and just hang out and knit. We got some shots of all the pieces, including Brandy's, in the daylight, and just hung out. Overall I had a really amazing International Yarn Bombing Day. We learned a lot and had a good time.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Give us your International Yarn Bombing Day footage!

Hi! Sarah here, director of the feature length Yarn Graffiti Documentary. As many of you know, This Saturday, June 11, is International Yarn Bombing Day (Woo Hoo!). All around the world, hundreds of crews will simultaneously carry out knitted and crocheted projects. I'm so excited, as a knitter and as a filmmaker.

My crew will be in San Antonio, TX filming a group as they knit a giant Texas flag over the River Walk. While we're really excited about this my producer, John Moore, and I have been trying to figure out how we can best utilize our resources to capture this awesome event.

WE WANT YOUR IYBD FOOTAGE! My crew and I can only be in one place at a time, but we want to gather as much footage as possible for an elaborate montage of bombers around the world. If you plan on taking part of any project and plan to have video, pictures, or any other documentation, please send it to us. Use your IPhone, old Handicam, Flipcam, 16mm, MiniDV, or whatever. We know that most of you are not professional filmmakers or camera-people but that's okay. We just want to make sure we get this world wide event captured! This is an imperative part of the film because it will show the international community of yarn bombers.

Here's how it works:

-- You can upload any materials you have to (up to 2 GB) or (up to 5GB).
-- When upload is complete it will give a link to the file.
-- Email this link to

PLEASE NOTE that even though you retain ownership of all media uploaded, by submitting materials you give the filmmakers full permission to use the media in the film, without compensation. Though we can not pay you for your footage, credit will be given for the work done in the end credits of the film.

Again, this is a call to ANYONE doing some sort of fiber art project on this day. This is your chance to feature your work to the world!

Thanks and keep crafting!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Texas Filmmaker Production Fund

Well I just mailed off my Texas Filmmaker Production Fund application. It feels good. This is the first in a series of grants that I'm applying for. I'm a prime candidate for this award, not only because I'm a Texas resident, but mostly because I'm a first-time feature film director and I'm doing a feature-length documentary. Plus my documentary subject is pretty frickin' cool.

It's not my best work but it works. Here's what I submitted as my work sample.

TFPF 2011 Work Sample from sarah gonzography on Vimeo.

I'm not going to get my hopes up about the TFPF grant. A lot super talented people apply to it every year so I know the competition is stiff. If I don't get it, I will just try again next year and hope for the best. Getting this grant would be amazing because it would be the catalyst to all the other grants. Grants are funny like that, they usually want to give to you if another grant has already awarded you a grant.

I should feel really good but I can't help but feel like I forgot something. I keep reminding myself that there is no use worrying about something I can't do anything about now.

We're still doing our Indiegogo Campaign and it's going well; I appreciate all the contributions but we're not where I would have liked to be. I hope that the next 60 is goes well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


It's been busy here at Yarn Graffiti documentary production central. John and I have been busy working on promoting our Indiegogo campaign and working on the Texas Filmmaker Production Fund, Cinereach, along with ITVS grant applications. I feel like we have a better chance at TFPF than ITVS but we are guaranteed to not get anything if we don't apply.

In the last month or so my documentary has gotten a little bit of attention, specifically in the blog world. All this attention makes me feel amazing. It's as if the bloggers has given me their stamp of approval.

Check out...

Modern Knitting

Laughing Squid

Tree Hugger


Arts Media Lab
Fashion at Liberty
Penn Alternative Fuels
Cool Craft Sites
Green Dump
Design Talk
Knitta Please

and many more. I've been noticing that a lot of the blogs like to repost from each other. Tree Hugger seems to be a trend setting in the blog world. It's crazy but it feels really good.
I won't say too much more but there have been talks with TrendStop, The Guardian, and Time Magazine about doing a story about the documentary.

Many many people have tweeted about the doc and I really appreciate everything. Thanks to @KnittingNews, @ModernKnitting, @LaughingSquid, @knittyattitude, @knittaporfavor, @emperorsclothes, @CrochetBlogger, @StitchLily, @StreetBandits, @KnitoriousMEG, @deadlyknitshade @KnitsforLife @laidbackknitter and many more.

On top of all the blogs and tweets, I've been on Austin's KOOP Radio FM91.7 talking about my documentary. Unfortunately they don't archive their shows otherwise I would have shared my part here. It was really fun and since, I've been invited on Sherry Mills's show every week since to kind of keep her company.

Long story short, things are good for the documentary. Thanks for all the support.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Everything helps

So we're a little over two weeks in on Indiegogo and we've lost some momentum as far as contributions but we're still doing good. I feel very loved and supported. I want to keep reaching out to more and more people, just like yarn bombing does. Next week or so will be day 27 / 83 days left which is our first quarter marker. I would like to have at least 25% of our goal at that point, $3750.

One of Indiegogo's strongest selling features is that it focuses on utilizing social media and online communications to help projects reach the right people.

Here are some things you can do to help:

Ask to feature it - If you go to our Indiegogo page and scroll down, right below the green perks box on the right, there's some pink text, Please click "feature it"! If we get enough people to do this Indiegogo might feature my project on the homepage which will help with the visibility.

Like us on Facebook - Make sure to like us on Facebook,, it's such small gesture but it makes all the difference. The more people who like us, the more fb popular we become which again, helps with our online visibility.

Follow this blog - please "follow it" because it helps my online visibility and feel free to bookmark it in your browser. Because Yarn Graffiti is based in the blog world, I'm keeping a production blog to log my journey as a filmmaker diving into the yarn bombing world.

Join the newsletter - subscribed to my Production Newsletter at you will automatically get updates on what the project is doing.

Tweet - On our indiegogo campaign there's a "tweet" button which makes this really easy for you. I'm @gonzography and John is @Jumpupfilms. You can look at our tweets for creative ideas for ways to mention the project. You can also follow us if you want.

Talk about it - Yes it's just that easy. Talk to your friends about it this amazing documentary. Yarn graffiti is amazing because it brings the urban graffiti world and the warm craft world together - it bridges generations, genders and generally just brings people together.

GIVE - this is an obvious one. We obviously need your contributions, small or large. I didn't put this first on the list because I know some of you can't right now or already have or whatever.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ready, Set, Go - Launch!

We did it - we launched our online fundraising campaign on indiegogo for the Yarn Graffiti Documentary. Here goes nothing. It's been online for 24 hours and we've already raised $1,110! It's crazy.

The second I published it, I felt a little remorse because I know I could have tightened the edit on the video, and I started to think that maybe $15,000 is too much to ask for in only 110 days. What's done is done. This whole thing is very nerve racking. I keep looking at the Indiegogo account and refreshing the page to see if anyone else has donated and every time someone new has donated, I'm hit with this wave of amazement like, "wow, I can't believe someone just gave us $20!" I've been getting really emotional and sentimental and it's only been a day. I can't imagine how the rest of the next 3 and half months are going to go. I think I need to pace myself.

If you don't know, online fundraisers like Indiegogo are all about allowing anybody to raise money for any idea. The sites structure allows users to create a page for their funding campaign, set up an account with PayPal, make a list of "perks" for different levels of donation, then create a social media-based publicity effort. Users publicize the projects themselves through Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms. The site levies a 4% fee for successful campaigns, and 9% for campaigns that fail to reach their target amount. Unlike similar sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo disburses the funds immediately. According to the Wall Street Journal, 10% of Indiegogo projects raise their requested amount, while 40% of projects raise at least $500. Indiegogo is also used by already-funded projects to create publicity or find distributors.

We have a lot of money to raise so I hope that this campaign will get us going on being able to shoot more of our subjects. We desperately need to travel and cover more ground. Watch the video, you'll get the idea. It's been a long day.

If you want to be added our production newsletter

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's in a name?

Believe it or not but I feel like one of the hardest things in filmmaking is coming up with a good title. Titles can make or break your movie. If you have a good title, it might entice someone to be curious enough to go see it. A good title should be catchy, yet leave you wanting more. If it's too long people don't say or don't say it right. Plus if it's long then the font will be smaller on a movie poster or post card. If it's too short or obscure people won't have any idea what your movie is about. "There exist single-pronoun films that are considered classic. Two come immediately to mind: Them and It (The Terror from Beyond Space). Somehow those two titles inspire a sense of dread. On the other hand, They conveys nothing—and is only marginally better than its clunky alternate title, Wes Craven Presents: They." (06.28.10 | Jason Marcewicz ) There is obviously a happy medium but I'm not sure if there is a good criteria.

I'm struggling with giving my movie a title. I've honestly just been calling it Yarn Graffiti Documentary but that is very long and not exciting at all. John likes
City in Stitches or Cities in Stitches. He also thinks that Yarn Bombers or Yarn Bomb would be ideal. I'm not sure if Leane and Mandy have that term trademarked or whatever. Some people I met at the Knitted Wonderland installation came up with City Stitchers but John pointed out that sounds silly and almost cartoony. There are a lot of puns with knitting lingo but I don't want to exclude crocheting. I like the term "Fiber Artists" because it includes everyone but I'm not sure if that's a title and it sounds more arty and less graffiti thug-y. I'm working on my treatment and I keep referring to my doc as "Untitled Yarn Graffiti Documentary" which is clunky and not working for me. I'm frustrated. I need help. Any ideas?

The other thing is that it's still early to glue myself to a title. For example, if the documentary takes on a heavy feminist element I could call it Femiknitist. How can I come up with a great title when I've only filmed like 1/6 of the material?

Please give me some of your suggestions!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Knitta' SXSW

So we're about half way through SXSW Film and I've had an unbelievable amount of positive response to the Knitta Doc Bumper that plays before 1/5 of the movies at SXSW. It's exciting to know that people like this small little preview of a my documentary. Joe Nicolosi did an amazing job cutting this together, even though he spelled my last name G-o-n-z-o-l-a-s, and Steven Quinlan's music was perfectly composed for this teaser.

Unfortunately I have been so busy with SXSW I haven't been focusing on what Magda has been doing. She was on one of the SXSW panels (which I hope to get some footage from) and has a knitted "exhibit" of knitted yoga balls somewhere in the convention center, apparently near the Green Room, as a part of SXSW Interactive. I still haven't found it but I have been finding pictures...

Also during SXSW week, Magda knitted the stairs of the GSDM building, an Austin-based ad company that’s teaming up with Google to sponsor The Industry Party on Monday night building for their The Industry Party.

Now that SXSW is coming over the mid week hump, I'm ready to start getting back to my documentary in a serious way. I will definitely be working more on my budget & proposals and will be starting an IndieGoGo very soon to get some initial funding started, on top of contacting over potential knitting, yarn bombing subjects. I hope to travel with Magda and her crew to NYC the last week in March to capture her knitting the inside of the Etsy Building.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Knitted Wonderland

What a weekend. After all the permit drama, all the stress and heartache, everything happened smoothly.

I woke up early, got to campus, signed the contract, and got my permit. John got us some audio equipment from the IMC and we were ready. We got to the Blanton early to get some "before shots" of the trees. Once 4pm hit all the volunteers seemed to show up at once and start installing their piece on their tree. I had borrowed my friend, Mike Rose's, Canon 7d so that John and I could cover more ground. We split up with our two cameras and shot around.
It was really relaxed. Eventually we shot out the 7D, which I only had one card for, and turned our focus on miking Magda and shooting her experience with the volunteers and the Knitted Wonderland. We got some amazing footage and audio of her talking to people.

We stayed through dark capturing Wonderland being created. It was so amazing being a part of this process. As we were driving home I just felt great. I got what I wanted to get. It was definitely all worth it. We got up the next day to finish up shooting around. Magda help a lecture about the project and about what she does. Saturday was the icing on the cake. Everything was very rewarding. Magda even invited John and I to come by her house and shoot her knitting some yoga balls for SXSW but we took a rain-check to review footage and decompress. Filming other people working hard and being creative, really take it out of you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Doing things the "right" way

I don't want to say too much but I thought it was worth mentioning: John and I have been working very hard at making this documentary the "right way" meaning getting release forms, contracts and permits etc. For the last two months we have been working with the Blanton Art Museum preparing for the Knitted Wonderland Project that Magda Sayeg is heading. They have been beyond kind in helping us stay organized. They even went so far to get all the participants to sign release forms to be filmed before the event even takes place. I love them. They were the ones helping us get a permit to film on the University campus for the event. I don't want to name names or point fingers but getting the permit has been hell. I'm not even sure if we'll be filming the event tomorrow and Saturday. It's been a long couple weeks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

W is for Willie Nelson

Another productive day for the documentary! Magda let it slip on Thursday that she and her crew would be yarn bombing the W's W sign on Sunday in celebration of Willie Nelson playing at the new ACL studio. They had knitted a headband and some braids to be fitted on the W. Magda said we might have to shoot it guerrilla style because she wasn't sure how her project would be received. She was worried that the piece would have to be taken down right after it was put up. Oh, the life of a knittin' graffiti artist!

John and I drove back from San Antonio at noon after a weekend of Hanna's wedding stuff.It was a
relaxing afternoon, until I got a text from Magda saying that they were going to start the installation at 4pm (she had told me on Thursday it would probably be 6pm). We grabbed our camera and spider brace and headed downtown.

We were greeted by Moody (who works for the ACL studio) and his camera guy .
John got to shooting the process while I chatted with John-Paul, the other camera guy. Luckily, they were very happy to share their footage for my doc. Moody asked us to be respectful of
Magda's crew and try to stay out of their way. This was a given but we made a special effort to be a fly on the wall. It was super bright outside which made it hard to shoot with our 60D.

After some discussion, John went to the car to grab the tripod and move the car (we had parked in a valet spot). I took over shooting. I couldn't make up my mind which lens to use. I put on the 28mm and got some stuff but then got anxious and switched to the 75-300mm. Then the 50mm and the 18-55mm etc. I got some good stuff but I feel better knowing that John-Paul was also getting some coverage. John came back with the tripod just as they were finishing up the W-band and getting ready to drop the braids.

The whole time this was going on, people on the street were watching, which was awesome. Magda says that's one of the best parts, was watching people look at the project. Thankfully the project was received well and no one asked them to take it down. One thing about Austin, people love their Willie Nelson!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Preparing for the Interview

Tomorrow is my big interview with Magda. This is the first of many, but I want to get as much footage as possible. Natural light would be best. I've been sitting here for God knows how long, trying to work out the order and wording of my interview questions. Here's what I have so far:

Magda Sayeg aka Knitta

-First off what do you call it: knitting graffiti, yarn bombing, fiber art???
-When did you first learn how to knit and crochet? At what age? Do you like to knit or crochet more?
-Describe what your life was like before all that, the knitting graffiti? What did you do for a living, for fun?
-How did you get into knit graffiti?
-Describe what your “girls night out” was like, what would you do?
-Why did you do it?
-What were you trying to accomplish?
-What does your family think about this? your siblings? your kids?

-Talk about PolyCotN and the other code names, why did you do it?
-How do you get your supplies, yarn needles and hooks?
-Did and do you knit and crochet by hand or do you get help from a machine?

-When did it “explode”?
-Was there a moment when you surprised yourself?
-Talk about the bus in Mexico...
-What was your proudest moment? - why
-Was there ever a project you weren’t as proud of? - why

-Do you consider knit graffiti in the same league as street art/graffiti?
-Why do you think women gravitate to something like yarn bombing rather than tagging?

-Describe when it transitions from being a thing you did for fun to a profession?
-Did you ever feel like a “sell out”?
-Since you’ve taking on knitting as your day job, was there ever a moment you were worried about paying your bills?
-How much would a large installation cost coming from you and your group?
-How many employees do you have?
-What would you say is your signature or personalized style in the fiber art world? What do you do that’s better than anyone else?
-How have your goals changed from when you started until now?
-Do you ever feel competitive with the other women doing similar things?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Knotty Knitters

I met Heather Sutherland at the the Blanton Museum's Knitted Wonderland meeting. She runs a MeetUp group in town called the Knotty Knitters (clever). After some last minute emails, she welcomed my filming with warm knitted arms.

Joe has been very eager to get shots of knitting as B Roll for the bumper. Even though I had a very long day bouncing between jobs, I headed over to the Hill Country Weavers on South Congress with John's Canon 60D to shoot.
I got there and was blown away by the atmosphere. I'll admit, I expected to see a bunch of grandmas making doilies. Instead, I was amazed by all the different women there, young and old, making different projects. Everyone seemed to be at a different level or had a specific strength. Some people were working on their tree sweaters, for the Knitted Wonderland project, some were just doing their own thing. Heather was crocheting a yarned arrow for the event. We would be carrying on a conversation about whatever (men, current events, movies etc) and once and a while someone would ask a how to question and everyone would be excited to give their input.

I grabbed some close up shots of fingers knitting and crocheting. I didn't give everyone enough notice to film their faces. They were a little bashful even though I can tell you they all looked beautiful. I used the 50mm and and got right up in there with the shallow focus. I didn't have a rig which worked against me. I tried to use my natural tripod (me crouched in a chair with the camera propped on my knees) which worked. I have to admit that I got distracted by these wonderful women and their stimulating conversation. I really wanted to be in there, knitting with the pros. I stayed for about an hour and a half, shooting and conversing before my hunger got the best of me.

I'm not sure how Joe will use this footage but I think I got some great cutaways. I really want to explore the idea of modern-day knitting circles. Making mental note...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

To knit or not to knit, that is the question

I've been knitting for almost a year now. I'm not very good but I'm getting better. One of my best friends, Julia, has been knitting and crocheting as long as I've known her and I've always been fascinated by what she does. When we lived together, I left one morning in a depressed funk and when I got home from my long day she had knitted me a stuffed turtle. She thought it would cheer me up (she was right). So that's what I love about knitting, it makes people feel good. One moment there was just yarn and the next moment there's a stuffed turtle that my friend made by hand while listening to NPR.

I've been reading quite a bit about knitting culture and history. I love how the government was pressuring women to knit for men during WWI as if it were their patriotic duty. What a great idea. "Well, you're sitting at home without your husband, you might as well be helping him over seas stay warm." I'm wrestling with the question of whether or not this is super sexist. Did this propaganda condemn knitting to always be synonymous with matronly women? Is there something wrong with that? If my boyfriend was fighting in WWII I know, propaganda or not, I would be knitting, mostly because know that it would brighten up his hard times.

Let's face it, knitting and crocheting is dominated by women. But why? Men are creative, why don't they want to knit themselves a nice sweater? I know I have the impulse to do wood work and jump at the opportunity to work with power tools but why doesn't my boyfriend want to learn to knit?

I rejected the idea of learning to knit for a long time because I did not want to become Suzy Q homemaker or June Cleaver. I already like cooking, gardening, and having a clean house, I didn't want to add knitting to this. I might as well start wearing white pearls and heals! But I saw how much fun people, like Julia were having with it. Julia got commissioned by someone to knit male and female genitalia, which turned out bad ass. Once I learned that people were using knitting and crocheting for street art and not just knitting socks for their boyfriends overseas, I figured why not. I don't have to be this stereotypical picture of "The Perfect Wife", I can still be me and like what I like. I'm still a feminist. I'm still the type of girl that likes doing things that are stereotypically associated with male interests and that's okay.

Magda Sayeg once told me that "We knit out of love, we don't knit out of hate." and this phrase keeps circling in my head. When I make something, there is usually someone in mind. I knit a scarf for my sister's boyfriend because he lives in freezing Cold Boston and I want him to feel like he's welcome in our family. I need to keep telling myself I knit for me; I knit for love. I don't knit for my country and I don't knit to embody some role that society thinks I should be.

FYI Wikipedia's Knitting History...

The word is derived from knot, thought to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, which is similar to the Old English cnyttan, to knot.[13]

One of the earliest known examples of knitting was cotton socks with stranded knit color patterns, found in Egypt from the end of the first millennium AD.[14] Originally a male-only occupation, the first knitting trade guild was started in Paris in 1527.[15] With the invention of the knitting machine, however, knitting "by hand" became a useful but non-essential craft. Similar to quilting, spinning, and needlepoint, knitting became a social activity.

Hand-knitting has gone into and out of fashion many times in the last two centuries, and at the turn of the 21st century it is enjoying a revival. According to the industry group Craft Yarn Council of America, the number of women knitters in the United States age 25–35 increased 150% in the two years between 2002 and 2004.[16] The latest incarnation is less about the "make-do and mend" attitude of the 1940s and early 50s and more about making a statement about individuality as well as developing an innate sense of community.

Within the 1940s, English knitting rose in popularity while Continental knitting fell. This is due to the fact that continental knitting originated within Germany and was spread by immigrants. During World War II, continental knitting fell out of style due to its relationship with Germany. It wasn't until Elizabeth Zimmermann publicized continental knitting in the 1980s that it again was popularized.[17]

Additionally, many contemporary knitters have an interest in blogging about their knitting, patterns, and techniques,[18] or joining a virtual community focused on knitting,[19] such as Ravelry, affectionately known as Rav to fiber-lovers around the world. There are also a number of popular knitting podcasts, such as the Manic Purl Podcast and the Savvy Girls Podcast. Contemporary knitting groups may be referred to in the U.S. as a "Stitch 'N Bitch" where a group of knitters get together to work on projects, discuss patterns, troubleshoot their work and just socialize.[20] In the UK, the term has been "knitting circle" since the early 20th century.