Coffee #36: Eleanor Wilson (friends on Facebook since September 2007, 17 mutual friends)
This afternoon I headed into Manhattan to attend the Keurig 2.0 pop-up store on Broadway. Keurig coffee have been running a pop-up event as part of the launch of their new coffee machine. The event aims to celebrate the concept of “connecting through coffee.” Amazingly, after seeing this blog, they invited me to NYC to attend the event and catch up with as many NYC-based friends as I could. What the hell… Incredible.
It had been almost seven years since I last saw Eleanor and I was embarrassingly 30 minutes late for our catch up. Eleanor instantly made me feel at ease in the wake of my stressy arrival. It took me about 30 seconds to refamiliarize myself with her infectiously cool and calm, yet assertive vibe.
Eleanor and I met in Melbourne in 2005. Our respective partners at the time played in a similar circle of bands and we spent a few years moving in the same friendship circle. I was straight out of high school and this particular group of friends were a little older and all played in cool, established bands. I remember being a little bit intimidated by Eleanor and her effortless charisma. In a good way. I have some great memories of summer BBQs in Thornbury and hanging out in her car with her boyfriend listening to Jonathan Richman CDs. Eleanor also reminded me of a strange ‘Christmas In July’ party where for some reason I emerged naked in the room sporting a “mangina.” A memory I’ve clearly blocked out of my mind and encourage Eleanor to do the same. :-)
Eleanor is an amazing actor and film maker. She relocated to NYC in 2008 and we hadn’t seen each since just before she left, randomly at a bar in Melbourne, so after six and a half years we had a lot to catch up on. I always knew Eleanor moved to NYC to pursue acting, but I embarrassingly had no idea of actually how talented an actor she is. Her debut short film entitled ’Possum,’ which she wrote, directed and stars in was described by Eleanor as the story of “a chance encounter with a dead possum that helps a struggling young couple to reconnect.” I watched it as soon as I got home and was genuinely touched, not only was it clever, honest and effortlessly hit the spot on an emotional and real level, it was extremely well executed, shot and directed. ’Possum’ has been officially selected to show at countless film festivals around the world and has additionally won multiple awards including Best Short Film at the Nitehawk Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Emerge Film Festival, not to mention Eleanor personally winning Best Lead Actress in a Short Film at Lady Filmmakers Film Festival.
Eleanor is currently in the editing process of her follow-up, 'Everything All At Once,’ a short film shot almost entirely within the interior of a car, focusing on the story of a family and the love and tension felt between them. Being a huge fan of films entirely shot in one location (Buried, Frozen, Lifeboat, etc), I eagerly await it’s completion.
We discussed the balance between working full time and being creative, something that Eleanor is now living after recently returning from an inspiring trip to Mexico. She has now decided to take a sabbatical from full time work in order to focus on the creative side of life. We talked about getting older, mellowing out and the eventual dissolution of negative, judgmental attitudes towards others, something we bonded over being guilty of on occasion when we were both younger.
Eleanor also inspired me with her life / work philosophy of “setting the tone;” the concept that the tone you choose to set in any social - and most importantly any leadership role - more than always influences the attitudes of the people around you. Eleanor’s advice on remembering that we possess the ability to “set the tone” as to however you desire or expect your respective crew, work mates or artistic collaborators to act is often mirrored by how you personally act was one of those very obvious game changers I needed to hear. Eleanor applies this idea both professionally and in life, and judging by Eleanor’s fully engaged and positive tone she set today, I can only imagine she would be a dream to work alongside in any capacity.
Eleanor drank a peppermint tea and I drank a Keurig 'Donut Shop Coffee.’ We then went to a Japanese place for beers and food. Thanks so much for a lovely afternoon, El!