#6- Behind the Scenes and Making the Top 12 Finalists!

Behind The Scenes :

Making this short film and entering it into The World Parkinsons Congress contest to share my story and contribute hope and strength on my part has been a wonderful experience. With the encouragement of my family and close friends I set out with my camera (Canon 60D dslr) and some Parkinson friendly film making equipment.Behind the scenes

First of all lets just mention that my entire production crew consisted of myself, my Wife and two sons and one actress. Plus two close friends on the final day to help with camera work and lighting for the Dinner scene and the Basement Dance scene.

I first had to meet with my two friends to write and plan out the shooting schedule of the film. I had to take my feature film script and decide  how to make 2 hours into 3min and 29sec! Meeting the requirements of the WPC 2013 contest.

This was amazingly difficult so we drew on a past contest experience years ago that proved successful in that we had to tell an original story in 15sec about the Cineplex Cinema Points “Scene Card” in Canada and took first place. You can see it here…

https://vimeo.com/24255869

I finally decided to concentrate on my diagnosed with Parkinson’s and how I and my family dealt with the news, the physical impairment I went through taking medications and how that affected  me personally.

Once the new short script was written we test shot the scenes with my iphone to make sure it would meet the time requirements. This  proved to be hilarious as we made our way throughout an apartment building pretending we were in different locations including a Doctors office and using the underground parking lot too double as our highway as I swung a golf club between vehicles coming and going. I’m sure people were wondering, “Why is that woman running back and forth as that guy swings that golf club in the underground”?

Pop, Lock and Tremor 02

Diagnosis Sinking In

Long story short, when it came time to shoot the real movie my older son and I shot all the exterior shots on the highway and in the car. I was lucky enough to be given a medical exam room to use for the Diagnosis scene in which and actress friend played my Neurologist and my Wife handled the camera early in the morning before patients started rolling in. Everything else was shot indoors in one location.

Here are a few shots of us on the last day of shooting as I directed my family and camera operator through the scenes.[gickr.com]_a638c4f1-a459-36b4-65ee-6b11cced9f23

It’s amazing what you can do with a DSLR camera, a $50 30yr old lighting kit, a tripod and a $145 camera crane jib for that smooth sweeping shot across the kitchen at the end of the film and the falling reveal shot of me sleeping in the car on the side of the highway.

All that and 2 crew members. I also did the editing myself and added the sounds and score using imovie.

The Top 12:

For all our efforts in this wonderful experience we have at this point (July 4th) been chosen as part of the Top 12 finalist across 18 countries. Here is the link to the announcement and further information on WPC 2013. I’m trying to work something out so that I can attend this event as it looks amazing and I’d love to continue to share my story.

If you can attend I highly recommend that you do  so and help join the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

http://www.worldpdcongress.org/?page=Top12Video

Thank you to everyone that has supported this effort and who continues to follow me on my quest to disclosing my full experience through film making, as happy and as painful as it has been along the way.

I canot express enough the freedom it seems to give me and the feeling of support I feel from the Parkinson’s comunity and those just learning about the disease. Your comments and your stories give me strength.

You and I can bring attention and more awareness to the discovery of a cure for Parkinson’s together using our stories and experiences to teach and give strength. Just as we would use our life experiences to raise and teach our children as they pursue their path in life.

Bless you,

Darren

For those of you who haven’t scene the film here it is.

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#5 – “Pop, Lock and Tremor” a Parkinson’s Story

Pop, Lock and TremorDiagnosed at 39 with Parkinson’s, “Pop, Lock and Tremor” is the true story of (actor/dancer/family man) Darren Howarth-Chapel’s initial struggle to come to terms with the degenerative disease and his subsequent resolve to carry on living despite it.

  • About the Filmmaker:

Using the medium of film to bring awareness, Darren Howarth-Chapel creatively gives us just a glimpse into what is to become a captivating and courageous feature film based on his own true story of love, denial, betrayal, bravery and success.

This short film has been submitted to The World Parkinson Congress 2013 Video contest.

I am hoping very much to Go to Montreal to share and talk about my story and experience the WPC first hand with others affected by this disease.

“Pop, Lock and Tremor” is just a glimpse into what will become a much bigger film. I look forward to sharing more of the story with you as it’s being developed.

Watching SodaPopAlso I’m very excited about my next blog where I will take you into the making of “Pop, Lock and Tremor” with behind the scene stories, Parkinson friendly film equipment and how amazed I was to be able to have my family play their own roles in the film!

So please watch and pass it onto other people and I truly hope it affects you in some way positive. This process continues to inspire me and teaches me more and more about parkinson’s, myself and life every day.

Best, Darren

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#4 Blog Video Entry – “Finding Soda Pop” A Celebration of Every Success

IMG_2705Welcome new and revisiting viewers to my 4th instalment to my Blog

“Finding Soda Pop”Celebration Of Every Success” 

In keeping with the themes of  Humour, Parkinson Experiences and a little bit of Education in my Blogs as you follow me on this adventure, I have a special treat for you in this instalment.

Today I’m touching on a personal and unique skill that I acquired after leaving High School and had become very special and dear to my heart. The Skill has come to represent a poignant moment among many  in my screenplay based on the ability of physical movement.

In this Video Blog I share with you what had always been second nature to me and how being diagnosed with Parkinson’s  impacted that part of my life and what  has become of it since then.

As always I thank all of you for following and becoming a very large and important part of my quest and I hope you can continue to do so.

Best, Darren

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#3 Blog Entry – “The Long Road Home”

the-long-roadI just want to thank all of you so much. Those of you that are just starting to follow and read about my journey and those that continue to check in on my progress and give me your continued support.

The Script development on my experience with Parkinson’s is coming along quite nicely. I  am however finding out how challenging it is to write and or type with my friend Mr. Parkinson wanting to be involve at every entry. In this case I’m sure most of you that have experience with Parkinson’s would agree that two is a crowd. :)

I have to admit also that after a day of physical labour at work my body is completely drained of energy.  Although I remain focused on my journey to tell my story as I leave my work place, by the time I travel “The Long Road Home” it becomes a battle of mind against body in upholding my commitment.

It is the support from family and friends and those of you that happen to see my Twitter  or Facebook posts and follow my progress that reminds me that this whole venture is larger than the fatigue I feel at the end of the day.

So I  push forward keeping in mind that I’ve pushed and juggled obligations and commitments all these years and triumphed through much more difficult times such as loosing my Father to a brain aneurysm  and almost loosing my son to pneumonia. It is my experience as a human being that forces me to keep moving forward because that’s who I am and that’s all I know.

The subject of this blog “Fatigue” was brought on largely do to a large  section of my script that deals with the side effects that the first prescribed medication had on me when Diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Living In A Fog Of Fatigue

Living In A Fog Of Fatigue

 The most common side effects of that medication in people with Parkinson’s disease included dizziness, nausea, and excessive tiredness.

My Doctor warned that 1 out of 10 people on this drug could fall asleep in an instant which makes it a concern for driving and working machinery. It was decided in my case that it was worth a risk since it was only 1 in 10 and we would know pretty much right away once starting it.

Long story short is I was to frightened to take the medication before I left for work at 2:00am in fear of crashing my car that I decided to take it once i got there instead. Although I  didn’t reach the point of falling asleep at the snap of a finger, I was however falling asleep during coffee breaks at work while talking to colleagues (who by the way didn’t know I had PD except one).

On the drive home I would get so tired as if a fog was closing in on me that I commonly had to pull off the highway and try to get a quick nap in a Hotel parking lot until being sent on my way by security. Only to end up on the side of the highway as my next choice till I was awake enough to get home.

What was aggravating then has now become a funny story now as  I piece my screenplay together.

Although that particular medication is helpful to many PD patients, I eventually had to stop taking it as the side effect of extreme tiredness was to much to handle.

All the best to you in your life and keep juggling.

Darren

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#1st Video Blog Entry: A Skillful Man “The Journey Begins”

life-before-my-eyes 

 Here it is. My first Video Diary Blog entry that started this whole journey. It’s taken me a while to get it up and I’m happy now to be able to share that day with you.

This was shot on November 11, 2012 the day my journey took flight.
Since my diagnosis in 2005 I’ve been through so many triumphs and failures and I must say that each of these steps that I take along the way as nerve racking as they may be, are triumphs that must be celebrated. Each step is a piece of the puzzle in fulfilling my life’s destiny in becoming the best Father, Husband, Friend and Self that I’ve committed to be.

In doing so I have found that sometimes to achieve those goals, it has taken a large doses of creativity and has made life most of the time very exciting if not ver interesting.

Work hard through the tough times and you’ll be rewarded through the good.

Best wishes to all of you on your journey.

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Welcome To My Journey, It’s Going To Be A Hell Of A Ride!

Making Dreams Happen

Making Dreams Happen

Hello and Welcome to my Blog where you’ll read updates on my progress in bringing my Parkinson’s Story from Diagnosis to Script to Screen. 

You can also follow my Tweet updates on Twitter at @chapelquest.

Along the way I will be sharing my experiences with Parkinson’s and how it has effected me emotionally, physically and mentally through good times and bad, betrayal and humiliation, defeat and triumph.

I’ll be honest and say that this is going to be a hell of a ride and will probably be the most challenging journey I’ve ever embarked on. Maybe even more than the day my journey started with Parkinson’s.

I feel a lot of fear and uncertainty as I embark down this path mostly because of the unknown. You see since my diagnosis in the spring of 2005 I’ve been somewhat in a state of denial. Never knowing who,what, why and if to tell anyone. Who do you trust and can you trust? How and what kind of a life I’m I supposed to be living? Will I be treated differently? Will it affect my job security? Can I hold up my commitments of being a Father and Husband?

This unfortunately lead me down a dangerous path of  experiences that stripped me to the bone and took away what confidence I had in myself and the life I had achieved up to that point.

Before all this started I had been living a generous life as a Husband, Father of two boys, a full time Baker and living my dream in pursuit of an acting career on stage and screen. Dreams are high on my priorities in life and have always tried to inspire my children to have them and go after them.

So when I found myself staring at my Neurologist in the eyes expecting to be diagnosed with Tendinitis from my Bakery job, he told me I had Parkinson’s disease. Silence….. The first and only thought racing through my mind was, “Will this effect my memory”? As an actor your memory is everything so this had to be the most important question I thought. Right?

When he assured me that my memory would be fine, well my ears and brain shut off to everything else he said and i assured myself that as long as I had my memory I’d be fine. Besides with the exception of a stiff left arm and wrist I felt fine and how bad could this be? Even Michael J Fox came to mind and he seemed to be doing just fine as far as I could tell. (Boy have I learned a lot since then)

Once I left the office and headed home, my mind started to delve into the possible repercussions of being diagnoses with Parkinson’s disease and what that really meant. I guess the best way to describe my behaviour would be shock and my mind went to town on my senses. Thoughts of my kids and what they were going to do without a father and all the milestones that they would achieve in life I was going to miss. My mind started to race and It started to feel like I was preparing to loose my life to this disease.

I pulled the car to the side of the road and I sat there thinking, “Do I call my Wife and tell her or should I go play golf”? Yes that’s right I actually thought about playing golf instead of calling my beloved Wife with the news. Did I mention I was in shock? The best way I can make sense of this for you is just to say that in life I’ve always been a deep thinker (a trait I got from my Father) and where I do my best thinking is on the golf course. It’s allows me the time to reflect on my life and where it’s going. You’ll be happy to know that I called my wife! :) Then truthfully I have no recollection of meeting her at home or what happened for the rest of that day.

Thank you for joining me this far and allowing me to share with you what I’ve needed to share for so many years now. My hope is not only to finally accept my condition and regain my confidence and start to love myself again but also I hope in some small way to be able to inspire anyone that’s going though similar challenges in their lives.

I will be posting very soon some “Video Dairies” that I recorded last December 2012 in anticipation of releasing my blog that address the script I’m writing and it’s progress.

Till then I’ll leave you with what I left my sons with as they’ve been growing up.

“Work Hard and You’ll Be Rewarded”

IMG_2892

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