FEARLESS JOURNEY


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I’m an unlikely traveler. I travel alone with very little money in my pocket and with a loose plan of how I will live on the road. I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint, been sick in strange places, confused and afraid. I’ve met fascinating people who have become friends. I’ve had adventures beyond my wildest dreams. And for the rest of my life I know what I have to do and I will do it no matter what.

When I was 4 years old, I was diagnosed with autism. Doctors, therapists, counselors, and even teachers thought I’d be institutionalized my whole life. I could not speak, and instead of playing with other kids I would go sit in a corner alone. My mother insisted that I learn how to look people in the eyes. She made me speak. She made me believe I could do things other people thought I could not.

My grandmother sent me a red potholder in the shape of the state of Texas, and that’s where my love of geography was born. I stared at that potholder and realized there were other places to go and see.

Chris_Greenland

My family didn’t have money and my parents had it in their minds that we couldn’t travel, so all my journeys as a young boy were in my heart and in my head as I looked at the cups and glasses my parents found with maps of states and countries on them.

My favorite was a coffee mug with a map of Ireland and the British Isles. I wanted to go there someday.

As I grew up my ideas about the size of my life stayed small until the day everything changed. I was enamored by a beautiful Starbucks barista named Nora, and for some reason I was talking to her about my love for the world. She told me she’d been to Europe and I was fearless about saying, “My big dream is to go to Australia someday.” She said,“Great. I’m going there soon!” I was used to talking about wanting to travel. She was actually doing it.

All at once, I felt shocked, angry, worthless, and disheartened. That night I stared at the maps on the wall and cried all night, asking myself when it would be my chance to go to Australia, or to even travel at all. The next morning the first thing I said was, “I WILL GO TO AUSTRALIA!!!! and I will go by the end of next year. I WILL go!”

TherouxQuoteI had no money, no job, and we were on the verge of being evicted from our home. But I told everyone I knew and everyone I met that I was going to Australia.  Some people laughed at me. It reminded me of all the times I had been bullied as a child. But I didn’t care what anyone else thought, and on New Year’s Eve I said “My New Year’s resolution is to get to Australia.”

When I got a job stocking shelves at a grocery store I knew I had to make changes: no basketball cards, no junk food, no video games, no extra spending on stuff that didn’t matter. I ate only high-energy food, I spent as little as I could on laundry, transport, and to feed my pet bearded dragon. I saved my nickels and dimes and booked a trip to Australia for December and I was on my way! There is no “someday” on the calendar. There is only Monday through Sunday and the only way I want to live is to use up those days. That’s how it began. How it ends doesn’t matter. I’m on the journey.

We’re actively fundraising for this film with the immediate goal of $50,000. Would you like to join us on the journey? Here’s the place to make your contribution and join the team. Thank you!

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Script-doctoring, Adaptations, and Consulting

Script-doctoring, Adaptations, and Consulting

Riding The Tiger Productions adapts books and short stories to film, translating the essence and power of a story told in print into the language of visual storytelling. Lydia Nibley also provides script-doctoring for fiction and nonfiction films and specializes in character-driven stories.

Recent media consulting projects include: writing a short film for an international client who wanted a project to have the kind of depth and humanity that could potentially drive millions of hits worldwide; conceptualizing a reality television series; consulting on a rough cut of a documentary to solve story problems and edit the length of the piece to the broadcast hour; serving as a story consultant on a film that was on its way to the editing room but needed to be reinvented from the ground up; refining a dramatic script to add depth to the characters, polish dialogue, and give the story more international appeal.

Do you have writer’s block, a project you can’t quite get off the ground, or a brilliant idea that needs to be executed? Give us a call.

Teaching The Art of Story

Teaching The Art of Story and Film-Related Outreach

Lydia Nibley teaches a seminar on The Art of Story. The seminar explores how to skillfully use detail and research to deepen the “truth” told in fictional stories, and how to make the most of the tools of fiction–character, plot, dialogue, setting, scene, narrative arc–in the telling of true stories.

She has recently been an artist-in-residence at Stephens College, and a visiting professor and speaker at Harvard University, UCLA, the University of Missouri, Cal State Fullerton, The Colorado College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, San Jose State, University of Michigan, Washington State University, and the University of Southern California.

Lydia has also presented her film work and lectured at a number of libraries and museums around the United States.

Lydia’s work is recognized in instructional books about making successful documentaries. She was interviewed for Andrew Zinnes’ The Documentary Film Makers Handbook where TWO SPIRITS is featured as a case study. Also, TWO SPIRITS is studied and recommended in Bill Nichols’ Introduction to Documentary, 2nd Edition.

To schedule a screening or a master class, please call.

Ghostwriting and Developmental Editing

Ghostwriting and Developmental Editing

Lydia Nibley works with authors, agents, and publishers to help conceptualize a book, ghostwrite a manuscript, consult with the author during the writing of the book, or refine a completed manuscript.

Recent projects include guiding the development of two memoirs, the revision of a novel based on actual events, ghost writing a personal growth book, and the editing of a nonfiction book that debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

While others freeze at the sight of a blank page on a computer screen, tabula rasa is great fun around here. Conceptualizing and developing books projects is something we do for fun. Really. Try us out.

Creative Collaboration

Creative Collaboration

In addition to her own projects, Lydia Nibley works with clients to develop and execute projects and to assemble the right creative team to maximize the impact of a wide range of film, television, and book projects.

Lydia and Riding The Tiger Productions work to create projects from conception to execution, to deepen and refine a story, and to tweak an almost-completed project. Clients tell us that we make good stories great and that our work is artful, moving, and humane. We take on projects we know we can enhance, and we love what we do to create artful stories that have the desired impact with audiences.

Do you have a project that would benefit from a fresh perspective? Let us know.

 

HOLLYWOOD REAL

 In the grit and glamour of the neighborhood known as “Hollywood,” characters face the truth about their lives, and some rise to the challenge of changing them.

 

I DANCE MYSELF

When you see an elegant, tall, black man in his 80s dancing in an ornate palace in Venice, Italy you understand there’s an unusual story unfolding on screen. Bob’s father was born a slave in rural Mississippi in 1858 and Bob grew up doing the back-breaking work of picking cotton in the segregated South. At a time when black dancers were commonly not accepted into companies with white dancers he received a scholarship for one of the world ́s leading ballet institutions – the School of American Ballet under the direction of the great George Balanchine. He was also the first black dancer in the legendary José Limon company and studied with and served as a muse for the mother of Modern Dance – Martha Graham.

At the age of only 28, Bob was one of the most promising dancers in New York City. But his career ended instantly the day he was pushed through a glass wall and the tendons of his leg were severed and his body sliced. Even Martha Graham couldn’t see a future for him in dance and suggested he find another passion. But dance was the thing he loved more than anything else and so for a long time he was lost in depression and addicted to pain medications.

After years of grueling physical therapy and the struggle to be drug free, he returned to the stage a new man. He wouldn’t listen to what others thought was possible or impossible. He wouldn’t be distracted by the racism around him. He wouldn’t let others determine what his life would become.

Layout 1Bob sold everything he had, moved to Europe simply because he loved it, and used every penny he had to start his Afro Contemporary Dance Company and mount their first performance. He desegregated dance and challenged old ideas that white dancers couldn’t  do “black movements“ and that black dancers couldn’t  dance ballet because, as a noted critic of the time put it, “Blacks are unsuitable for the ballet since it’s wholly European outlook, history and technical theory are alien to them, culturally, temperamentally and anatomically”. Now it’s hard to imagine those words appeared in print in a reputable newspaper— but they did. That’s what Bob was up against even as late as the 1970’s as he worked to “dance himself.” Bob was gay and out of the closet at a time when that was rare. He made the choice to be public without fanfare or militancy–he just courageously and quietly claimed his pioneering place in the world as the man he was. He took on the pain of his time and transformed it.

The performances he and his dancers created had the impact of rock concerts. Audiences jumped up to shout their appreciation and stomp their feet in response. The work was a sensation and he spent the rest of his life sharing revolutionary dance experiences with audiences across Europe. He lived beyond boundaries. He encouraged everyone around him to discover themselves, live authentically and create freely. He began the richest part of his career in his 50 ́s and danced beautifully into his 80 ́s – aging with incredible vitality, power and grace.

How do you know who you really are? How do you express yourself once you know? Can you become a different person than who you seemed born to be? I DANCE MYSELF answers, yes.