By Jennifer Dean
I met Deborah Napier in the catering world and like so many in that world, she was talented and creative – and I was lucky enough to get to work with her creatively. She was a wonderful loyal friend and a hilarious co-worker, but for this post I want to tell a story about Deb – the actor/writer/director
When I showed Deb the above shot she referred to it as her “Law and Order” look. We were working on a 30-second video idea she had for a competition. She had mentioned it to me during a catering event – and I offered up shooting and editing it. Despite my being new to film school and not really knowing what I was doing, she took me up on it. I am not quite sure if the other elements also came together at various events (her friend Rachel suggested the location, her friend Brett acted in it) – but she made it all work in a super short amount of time. My friend Daniel from film school joined us to help out and we shot the bulk of it in an afternoon.
Deb’s idea was to have a horde of cats chasing her at the end of the short. Well that was WELL beyond my VFX skill set… but she was gracious enough to work with me to come up with something simpler – using my favorite neighbor cat Thomas and the pig outside Rudy’s… Well here’s the thing – we didn’t know anyone at Rudy’s and didn’t have permission to shoot there. I figured we could just quickly get the shots on my small DSLR camera without anyone noticing… of course, I was not at all experienced and things didn’t go as smoothly as I figured they would.
SO… of course we got caught by the bouncer – who it turns out was an actor who had been on “Orange is the New Black.” Deb being Deb ended up chatting with and charming him so not only did we get to finish shooting, but he offered to help us and bought us both a drink when we were done.
Deb was a creative force in so many ways. She supported so many in their work as well as exploring different forms of expression herself. She will be missed – and remembered.
One of my favorite lines in literature is at the end of a chapter in Madame Bovary – “elle n’existe plus”… which literally translates to “she no longer exists.” When I first read it, I thought to myself, ah yes but this is far from the end of the book, we have at least another chapter, and the titular character is no longer… she doesn’t cease to exist because there’s more to the book. She lives on in memories and those she has affected in life.
Deb lives on with those of us she has touched and I look forward to the time when the memories make me laugh not cry.
Sending hugs to all who loved and lost her.