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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gilmour

Come Dine With Me

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Famished. Starving. Thirsty.

Like never before, I have an appetite to feed my artist within. So, dear reader, please have a seat at my table and let's savour a three-course meal with fine wine and a side dish of insight. 

What has made me so hungry? 

The fact that I have oh so much to learn. 

Recently, I joined a warm and visionary team of creatives at Curiosity Craves, a start-up media outlet specializing in stories about local culture. As their Assistant Creative Director, I have the chance to brainstorm new ways of storytelling through film. The best part of working with their crew is that I'm discovering the areas in which I aspire to grow. 

I have been humbled by the realization that my approach to filmmaking can be somewhat rigid - too linear, too controlled. The company's co-founder and former CBC reporter Leah Balass has shown me the importance of adapting our shooting style to each and every character we interview. No two people are the same, and so no two people can fit the same mold.

Some people freeze up in a standard, one-on-one formal interview and prefer, instead, to have a casual chat, perhaps while engaged in another activity. Others go into much more depth and detail when sitting down and talking while enjoying a cup of tea. And still others prefer to walk around their home, pointing out family photos and sentimental pieces of decor. It is my job, as a filmmaker, to closely observe the individual and get a sense of where he or she feels most at ease. I adapt to them, not vice-versa.

Our team also has an innovative way of gathering feedback and learning from the expertise of like-minded professionals. Every month, we meet at a charming Victorian home owned by the Sauvé Foundation. In an intimate gathering of about a dozen people, we review the short videos we've put together, envision new styles of editing, and re-assess how to best uphold the company's mission. 

I have also noticed how much my work suffers when I fail to nurture my creative side. After filming an interview with Vivianne Silver, a talented writer and former educator, I felt compelled to restart my Morning Pages and weekly Artist Dates (practices encouraged by Julia Cameron, which you can read about here). Mrs. Silver is a fervent diarist and is now filling up the pages of her 98th journal since 1978.  She has an impressive trunk filled to the brim with dusty diaries documenting thoughts, stories, and reflections. I was journaling religiously every morning until this summer (when, among other things, my husband and I had a beautiful wedding, went on an unforgettable honeymoon, and moved into a lovely new apartment). But now that I have the time to focus again on my art, I want to do so fully and intentionally.

So, this where I find myself now: hungry to create.

And, before I bid adieu, the dessert on tonight's menu is a delicious quote from The Talmud: "Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow."

PS: My dear friend Melissa Chan, a brilliant calligraphy artist, not long ago shared an amazing podcast series that has become my latest addiction: On Being with Krista Tippett. If you haven't done so already, then I definitely recommend tuning in to her delightful interviews with a most fascinatimg array of individuals - from writers, to musicians, to scientists, to philosophers, and more.


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