Our minds are poisoned. I hate being so pessimistic but it’s true.
Whats even more heartbreaking? I’m not totally sure were at fault. A combination of the times we live in and the attractiveness of things. If you take a step back and look at your life, you’ll very clearly see a picture of static surrounding you. What is that static you ask? One word I came to find: Noise.
Noise could come in many variations: sounds, screens, opinions, jobs, motives, goals, etc. Really, you name it, it could turn into noise. Believe it or not a bunch of our time is spent in noise. Noise controls, surrounds and for the most part, dictates us. Whether we agree with that notion or not, noise is a constant companion to our lives.
In our homes, we turn on our televisions. In our cars, we turn on the radio. When we exercise, we put on our headphones. Even when waiting in elevators or on hold with customer service, sound fills the void. I challenge you to find an area in your everyday life where you achieve peace and quiet. Report back, please. I promise you the task is sadly difficult.
That’s where the search for silence started for me: the realization that tranquil, calming moments were strangled by a stronger force. I started to see how routine noises had become, how it seeped into my life. And unfortunately, how it didn’t seem to bother me much.
You know, sometimes life has a way of swooping you up and turning the volume on so loud that we forget what no volume is like. Truth is, I can’t say I really miss the silence because as much as I think I’ve experienced it, I haven’t. Neither have you. Think about it. There is so much noise surrounding us. So much clutter, and so much distraction. Maybe it’s because I’m a minimalist at heart but all of this noise was an overwhelming force I had little control over. That bothered me.
A lightbulb then sparked: my quiet was gone, my God given rite to tranquility stolen. Like stillness was something I used to hear about. Like a distant relative that you don’t see any more, that doesn’t come to any family parties. I started thinking very intently about the sense of silence and about what benefits moments of quiet brings. Here’s a crazy thought exercise: What would the world be like if we all had a designated time of quiet? What changes would spark? What realizations as a people would we come to?
One of the biggest realization for me was taking control of my time. I don’t have to live a life of distractions and unnecessary detours. Although it doesn’t always feel like this: I am empowered to choose. The problem is, choosing is hard. Because habits are hard to break, especially bad habits. I started to focus on my bad habits. Social media…noise. Radio……noise. Podcasts……noise. Sports…….noise. I’m not saying all these had to go. But balance had to be achieved. My scale was way out of whack.
Like I mentioned earlier, all of our quiet to noise ratio is overwhelmed by the latter. We just don’t realize it. We’re overpowered and unaware of the noise. That really got me thinking. If I’m so out of balance, it’s impossible to see what I’m missing.
So, what am I missing? Are there benefits? Benefits to having quiet in our lives? Or did silence go by the wayside for a reason. Was it unconsciously chalked up as unnecessary?
Is time worth spent searching for silence?
Well, I deemed yes and i’ve started searching for ways to achieve silence. It meant breaking habits and routines. It meant odd, long spaces of nothing. It meant unnatural long pauses of quiet. It meant many bonfires by myself and long quiet walks. It honestly meant going out of my comfort zone and all I’m used to.
What I’ve found thus far has been startling, though.
I want to talk about focus and reflection a little bit. When I started quieting down elements I sensed something creeping back into my life. Something that was there, but much harder to achieve. I’m talking about focusing. I’m unsure if I’ve been a clearly focused, but knocking down the distraction of noise has helped tremendously.
Looking deeper though, it seemed most of my noise came from my wanting of content. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I really wanted to know what I was missing in those time blocks of noise. I found that when left to just silence, I was reflecting on my past a whole lot more. Not in a depressing manner, but in a pro active learning objective. This was super interesting to me.
The focus and reflection I achieved that resulted from times of quiet where astounding and equally priceless to me. That’s an amazing notion, huh? That we could possibly produce something priceless with no worldly amount tagged on. In this case, my priceless product of silence was focus and reflection. I was able to think more clearly because I felt so much more in tune with myself. That made sense to me. Connecting with myself was an inability before, now it seems more reasonable based on reflection time in silence.
Of course, It goes without saying that I’m still in the very beginnings of this exercise, but what I’m finding is eye opening and demands personal documentation, in my opinion.
At the end of the day, what are we as a people if we don’t think, focus and reflect? I think piling on so much noise that prohibits silence is an extremely hazardous that equates to us being a whole lot less human as a society.
I fear the value of true, unobtrusive, calming, personal quiet time is fading softly into a dark sea. What I fear even more is that no one even flinches. Like throwing a life jacket is too much of a hassle. Personally, if I lose my quiet time, I lose myself and thoughts with it. Over the past few months, I’ve become aware of how valuable quiet time can be. It can be an escape in times of crisis. It can be as comforting as a warm blanket or as soothing as a hot cup of tea. The truth is silence is what you make it. But you can’t make anything from what you can’t find.
I was extremely fortunate to meet Casey Neistat at the Hills Film Festival in New Milford, CT back when I was making the rounds for my film, The Fiction. He was a genuinely nice guy and gave me some great filmmaking tips. Since then, he has become sort of a youtube sensation to say the least. If you haven’t check out his videos, they are most certainly worth your time. (links below)
His most recent video touched me on a deep level and I thought it was worth sharing. I can’t think of a better way for someone with 7 million subscribers to spend 12 minutes. This was truly sensational and good on Casey to showcase such a inspirational talent.
Like many of you i’m sure, the gateway device that introduced me to Apple Products was the original iPod. For obvious reasons, that device holds a special place in my heart. I was sad to hear today Apple is quietly phasing traditional iPods out (via macrumors)
“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod touch, now with double the capacity starting at just $199, and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano,” an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider.
End of an era for sure. Business-wise, it just doesn’t make much sense to keep iPods around much longer. But the 15 year old in me is sad to see it go.
Forgive me if I sound too positive on Dunkirk. Its late and I just recently arrived home from watching in full IMAX. So there’s that. Here are some initial, quick thoughts:
An eloquent, boldly structured portrait of the chaos and madness of war from roughly five perspectives; Dunkirk is a full blown, eye widening experience. Nolan’s reach as a director is beyond doubt and at this point its safe to bump him to the “greats.” Dunkirk is ambitious, not only in scope but also in construction, as this film weaves in and out of past or present, loosely tying together disparate events with mere visual recollection. Exposition is limited to perhaps two conversations and some brief text early in the film; Dunkirk is about basic survival instincts and how people react in the face of overwhelming odds.
But the key to me, the incredible feat Dunkirk pulls off, is that there is no blame cast, no preachy moralizing at all. Some of the heroes in Dunkirk face the odds with selflessness and bravery, some others with quite the opposite; fleeing from combat or putting their own survival before others. But if Dunkirk has a lesson, it’s to give pause before labeling anyone a coward, and to more readily hail others as heroes. The Germans are never glimpsed, even for a moment. I loved that. No reason to show them. The old Alfred Hitchcock quote kept coming to mind; “I don’t want to show you whats behind that door, your mind can do that just fine.” In Dunkirk, the enemy is an abstract fear, almost as demonized here as the circumstances that landed these 400,000 men on this beach, stranded without hope of escape.
I think its safe to state Dunkirk is one of the best war films period, and its easy to see why. It’s a flawless, masterful exercise in immersion and spectacle, desperately searching for meaning and order in absolute chaos and carnage still unfathomable 77 years later. A search for the meaning of life surrounded by the utter meaninglessness of war. It’s an intimate, harrowing epic; a rare beast of a movie the likes of which I haven’t seen before.
Those fundamental contradictions are what make Dunkirk so fascinating, so stimulating both emotionally and intellectually. I don’t really have the words for this movie because of how recent I watched and hopefully I can unwrap a little more following a rewatch. But on my end, it’s safe to say Dunkirk is more than worth the price of admission to see in full 70mm.
Its hard to say Nolan and Dunkirk won’t be major contenders at the 2018 Oscars and rightfully so. Christopher Nolan has made one of those rare movies that reminds you of the heights great cinema and great artists can reach when pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations.
Go see Dunkirk in IMAX for the full experience. You won’t regret it.
I’ve been living in a Wes Anderson world lately. I rewatched Life Aquatic a few times for another project. By chance, caught The Darjeeling Limited on cable. I always keep The Royal Tenebaums and Rusmore in rotation and most recently viewed Grand Budapest again. Something struck me that I never actually wrote anything down on Moonrise Kingdom. I went on my Letterboxd account and sure enough. Nothing. So here’s some thoughts on it.
Wes Anderson makes his own version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and sets it within the world of childhood angst: the orphaned Sam Shakusky and similarly introverted Suzy Bishop are in love; but the society around them forbids this romance. Set on an isolated island within New England otherwise known as New Penzance (made up world) – the setting alone gives an idea of what sort of state of life they are living within. They want a place away from others, in order to find themselves living at peace, because the world that they know has no other place for them. But it’s the perfect setup for Wes Anderson to use the quirk that we’ve all come to expect from his work, although in Moonrise Kingdom it has come to a point where it reflects feeling: among the most vital aspects to the success of Anderson’s output. It’s a quirky rom-com spin on Romeo and Juliet with kids he’s telling here, but the very experience provided is nothing short of rewarding.
Going back to the running theme of isolation in Moonrise Kingdom, there’s a greater success coming out on Wes Anderson’s end when it comes to how he captures the general awkwardness coming in regards to the feeling of being in love. The central romance in Moonrise Kingdom is indeed some of the most touching that Anderson has ever been able to achieve in his career, but at the same time we recognize there’s something so awkward about how it comes out at the hands of Anderson’s trademark quirkiness. It’s actually something rather beautiful because of this quirk, because it reflects upon the uncertainty of romance especially at a younger age: and Sam and Suzy are only discovering that feeling for the first time. They’re naive and innocent, and Anderson tells a story within this boundary in order to form a work that makes this awkwardness something more touching, because of the uncertainty regarding where their romance is set to go.
Typical of a Wes Anderson film there’s something more coming about from his usage of music in order to highlight a mood. Whether it be from Alexandre Desplat’s wonderful score or the use of Françoise Hardy’s “Le temps de l’amour” – it’s always wonderful just looking back upon how they also play in part with the quirkiness as a means of reflecting a certain mood for his films.
By nature, Moonrise Kingdom would be seen as a romantic comedy dealing with the innocence of childhood but when we see Sam and Suzy dancing to Françoise Hardy, there’s a reflection of their naivete at the state of their own freedom: at the time of love. And yet it’s so distinctively bizarre almost like a painting by the way it looks, though this only reflects the awkwardness of the first encounter even more perfectly in order to create something more melancholy deep down, just as the best of Wes Anderson would deliver.
This sort of experiment for Wes Anderson only signifies something more coming in marriage with all the quirkiness that anyone would come to recognize him for. At another point this quirkiness even manages to ring true, because of how it captures the general awkwardness and uncertainty of the naive impressions that love would bring upon first try. That’s the beauty of what comes from what could easily have been just another innocent romantic comedy about children finding love for the first time. But, Anderson actually goes beyond that and subverts it into something more playful and melancholy just like a memory of this point in one’s life would be.
With Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson has managed to inspire smiles just as he also captures a feeling of escape from authority – he isn’t making an innocent romantic comedy. He’s making a film about the effect of authority upon innocence, and the results are visually stunning and infinitely thought provoking.
Hard to believe Luca is turning 2. With Liam, it felt more spread out and time was patient. With Luca, days and months have been relentlessly rapid. Luca has grown so much in the past year; from barely walking all the way to running around talking. He is growing fast.
Making his video this year was interesting. There seemed to be a lot of footage of him and Liam. I think thats a good sign, whether Liam admits it or not, they love playing with each other, they love being around each other. The other bunch of his footage was him being his crazy self as demonstrated in the video.
I’m not sure what the next year brings for Luca. The addition of another little one and Liam starting school full time will be interesting changes for little Luca. One thing is for sure though, he will be his happy, always smiling and brightening everyone’s day, self. A priceless gift Lindsey and I don’t deserve but most welcomingly accept.
After many TSA check points, gate changes and traffic jams, we are back home in Georgia. But thats the end of the story. It’s funny, when you return to your normal life its easy to forget where you were just a mere 24 hours prior, geographically and mentally.
For those who don’t know, Lindsey and I spent 3 solid days in Connecticut recently. It was a fantastic time as usual. I’m still feeling a huge deal of thankfulness just being able to travel and see family.
Believe it or not, my intentions were to vlog this trip. I wanted to really capture all we experienced through video. Plus, vlogging continually fascinates my filmmaker senses. At the end the day though, I was worried the pressure of carrying a camera around and ensuring the best shots possible would get to me. I ultimately decided not to vlog but instead go to trustworthy medium. Writing. Maybe one day i’ll vlog a trip, it just didn’t feel right for the one.
· NO KIDS & GOING NORTH ·
Leaving our kids behind was a tough thing to do. We have a great babysitter and all, but anytime you travel 1000 miles away from your kids, it’s not easy. This was Lindsey’s first time being that far away for multiple days. I thought the distance would be good, though. We needed a break and they were in good hands. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t tough, but once the dust settled in and we were on our way to the airport everything was fine.
We flew up to JFK on Saturday, June 24th. We had to drop the kids off early and hustle to the airport, but we made it. Even squeezed in a Panera stop. Our flight was on time and super smooth. Two thumbs up JetBlue. I watched the great Werner Herzog‘s latest documentary: “Into the Inferno.” Spectacular as usual. On a side note, that guy is turning into my favorite filmmaker. His filmography spans decades and everything I’ve seen from him is thought-provoking, intelligent and honest. But thats another blog entry.
· NEW YORK CITY ·
New York City was anything but smooth. We landed at old faithful JFK and I immediately remembered that I completely forgot the busyness of NYC. The plan was my brother picking us up from baggage claim, dropping us off in Times Square and then Lindsey and I taking the train from Grand Central to CT. Well, that didn’t pan out. Due to enormous traffic constraints, my brother was unable to make picking us up and while he felt awful, I told him no sweat. He had somewhere to be by a certain time and we didn’t want to hold him up. It was sweet of him to try, but traffic was a monster. Lindsey and I ended up taking an Uber into the city. Our driver Chen didn’t speak a word of english. But he knew how to drive to Times Square. All is well.
Lindsey and Me in Times Square
Receipt from Chen!
Lindsey chilling in Grand Central Station
While in Times Square, many ‘interesting’ things occurred. Too many to list. I’ll highlight the high points. Walking unknowingly through a gay pride parade happened. Needless to say, Lindsey and I were taken a bit off guard. We then were en route to find some food. Well, once again I seemed to forget NYC and Saturday’s tourist demand for food. Everywhere we went there was at least an 2 hour wait. We were starving and would have taken McDonalds. We didn’t though. We were able to score a table at Guy Fieri’s joint and I gobbled a $18 cheeseburger. Not the best cheeseburger in the world, but at that point I really didn’t care. Lindsey ate this exotic looking chicken dish. We both shared desert.
A quick trip to the Disney store for the kids and we were off to Grand Central where we caught the 8:30 train and headed to the homeland. Well, my homeland. Connecticut!
· CONNECTICUT, CRISP AIR & MORNING TALKS ·
The minute we stepped off the train in Fairfield, CT I felt at home. The cool breeze whistling through the summer night’s air, the hybrid of city and town, hillside views and those shiny blue license plates. Everything just felt right again. After a quick car ride home from my Mom and Mike and some political/baseball/cultural conversation, Lindsey and I got some well needed rest.
The next morning I woke up early to find my mom sitting on the back deck enjoying the crisp morning air. It was a great opportunity to talk about her recent major life-changing decision. My mom recently retired from her one and only job of 50 years. Although she didn’t leave quite as she would have liked, anyone with knowledge of the specifics would agree it was the right move for her wellbeing.
She seemed in high spirits. She mentioned to me how not working has completely changed her mental health and she even has added some new hobbies. Bike riding, long walks and planting her own garden were actions she just never had the time to do while working full time. I came out of the talk happy for her. She seems to have found peace and contentment in life after work.
· CHURCH AND ITALIAN FOOD ·
I was particularly excited for Sunday. The whole reason we came to CT was for my Poppa’s 90th birthday bash which was Sunday PM. But Sunday morning was exciting also. We went to our old church and saw some friendly faces. It’s amazing what places and faces can do. Just being in church and talking to all of our friends immediately brought me back to living there. We also were able to meet the new Pastor, who was super nice and genuine. Seemed like all is going well at FBBC.
After church Lindsey really wanted some good Italian food. So we ventured to Joey Garlic’s, a staple in Plainville, CT. As usual the food was amazing. Sticking to my diet though, I did OK. But that grip was soon to be loosened. We had the pleasure of being accompanied by my best friend Jeremy’s parents at lunch. Lindsey made the statement that she feels so close to Mrs. Lilly (Jeremy’s mom) because when she lived in CT, Mrs. Lilly really treated Lindsey like a daughter. Always checking up on her, always inviting her to places when she knew Lindsey didn’t know many people. Truth is, they are both great people and Lindsey and I were blessed to spend some quality time with them.
· POPPA’S PARTY ·
We got home from lunch and helped my Mom pack about 8 large dishes of Italian cookies into the back of Mike’s truck and off they went. As they pulled out it hit me how hard she worked over those cookies and planning with my Aunt Chris and Aunt Judy for this party. All three of them really wanted to make this party special. They overwhelmingly succeeded. Anyone who attended would say the same. Their efforts did not go unnoticed.
I’ve thought the whole way home and up until this moment how to put into words my emotions attending this party. The truth is; any words I attempt to type will never meet demand. The three hours at my Poppa’s party very well may prove to be some of the best memories I’ve had the privilege of making.
Lindsey writing a message for Poppa
Me, my cousins & brother with Poppa and Grandma
Lindsey, Me, Poppa & Grandma
I left feeling so thankful that we were able to come and experience such a special event. To me, what made it so special was all my family in the same room at the same time just honoring and celebrating this man, who no one would deny is a genuinely great man. There’s something to be said for celebrating someones life. For myself, it really puts things in perspective. Sure, we have stressful days with our jobs, kids, situations, etc. But, thats not the end all be all. We are on this earth for a bigger purpose; to help and treat people well. To be a great role model for our kids, to teach them the right paths. My grandfather did all of those things to perfection.
As long as I live I will never forget that night and all of us saying kind things to our grandfather from the podium. Even if some people didn’t, there was an unspoken feeling that everyone had a collective opinion; he is a great man.
· BACK AT A FIRE DEPARTMENT ·
We really wanted to see my cousin Mike, so although late, we went over to his work at Waterbury Fire. The guys he works with are all pretty awesome and didn’t care how long or late we stayed. We had a good talk about many things (as usual) and said our goodbyes for now. A big part of me always wanted to work there. So whenever I get to visit is always special. And yea, hanging out with Mike isn’t so bad either.
· DAD AND PEPE’S PIZZA ·
My parents are divorced, so whenever we travel up to CT I always try and spend equal time with my mom and dad. I don’t in anyway look at this as a burden, but an opportunity to have quality time with both independently. So we spent our last day in CT with my Dad and Diane. We headed up to his house around 10am and just hung out a bit.
Dad wanted to take me to the hair salon (where I used to manage) to give him a haircut and help him with some paper work. Its always extremely hard for me to go back to the salon. I have so many memories and vivid thoughts about that place. After all, I spent close to my whole life being there. I miss it. I can’t help but think about the “what if’s” but I pushed forward and tried even harder to be in the moment and spend good time with my dad.
While we headed back to his house I had the window down the whole time. I couldn’t get over how no humidity was in the air. Just a cool breeze all day long. It was so refreshing.
Pepe’s pizza was on my list of “must do’s.” So the whole ride there I was questioning the merits of my diet and how many pizzas I was going to order. Sure enough, I ordered one, but of course devoured it. What I didn’t eat at the restaurant, I polished off for breakfast the next morning. We went to a new Pepe’s, though. This was a first for me. I have only been to the original in New Haven, but the Danbury location was almost just as good. Lindsey was asking me afterwords if I thought it was as good as the original. I didn’t mind the tiny difference, but I told her if I was bringing someone for the first time, I would definitely go to New Haven.
Happy times at Pepe’s
After Pepe’s we headed to a very interesting grocery store called “Stew Leonards“; a Connecticut exclusivity. Not many people know about Stew Leonards, buts it’s basically a circus for super markets. Talking animals all over the place and food samples galore. I could tell Lindsey really enjoyed it though. She got a sample of coffee, cinnamon buns and I think a few other things. Anyways, she was a fan. We headed back to my Dads to just chill out and rest the remainder of the day.
My Dad and I had some good talks about his current situations in CT, continually looking for real estate in Florida and just every day stuff. When your used to spending every minute together at work 6 days a week and now don’t, you’d be surprised how much you miss the presence of that person. At least, thats how I feel with my Dad. Very thankful we got to spend good time together.
· GOING SOUTH ·
Our final day was a quick one. We had to leave for JFK at around 10am because traffic into the city is always an unknown. But before we left my brother Mike and Urszela came to say goodbye and pick up their car they so nicely allowed us to use. My brother is currently planning on building a house in front of my father’s so it was interesting to me to see his blueprints and my dads recommendations on modification. I doubt any of the suggestions will be used, but that didn’t stop my dad from shooting some out there.
We left for the airport and got there in plenty of time. There was a spirited “discussion” between Lindsey and my Dad involving Amazon, salon products and future proofing salon business. While both perspectives were on different ends of the spectrum, they both brought very interesting points to the table. Another side note, the older I get the more I like participating in conversations as a spectator of sorts. I learn a whole lot more that way.
Buying the JetBlue “even more space/speed” upgrades was a huge help side-stepping the normal security lines. Then things got rocky. Our flight got delayed 3 times pushing it back about 3 hours. It all worked out though, Lindsey had work to do on her laptop and I was knee deep in some food and a few movies.
When we finally did take off, our ride was a little bumpy and we fought some rain towards the end of our flight. This flight home, I watched “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” It won’t set anyone’s world on fire, but it was an interesting look into authority and the abuse it could take unknowingly. Anyhows, after we landed in the pouring rain of Jacksonville, Lindsey and I were anxious to see the little dudes. We sped home and got some very big, much needed hugs.
· REFLECTION ·
All in all, we had a great time. I’m not just saying that because its what your supposed to say when you travel back home, I’m saying it because its really how I feel. I was so thankful to be back home and see all of my great family. Some I see on the internet everyday, some I haven’t seen since we moved 3 years ago.
I often marvel at the technology we have at our fingertips and am thankful for FaceTime and phone calls, but nothing could replace being at my Poppa’s party hearing him give a heartfelt, genuine thank you to all who attended.
I especially am happy Lindsey and I got to go just the 2 of us. A big part of me would have loved for our kids to come, but we really needed some time to just relax and talk like humans again.
I already miss Connecticut, my family, fantastic food and the cool breeze. But if I learned anything from going back home time and time again, Connecticut lives on without me. Thats a hurtful truth and sometimes hard to come to grips with. But I like thinking about Connecticut that way. Moving on, moving forward. My family still doing family party’s just like I was there. The traditions of my family and their get-togethers mean more to me now than ever. I need to know they are continuing, thats more important than me being there. I’m just a small piece to a larger puzzle. But the older I get, the more thankful I am to be a part of such a special family. Thank you to everyone and anyone who made our trip so special. We love you and miss you very much.
Hard to believe the iPhone has been around for 10 years now. Today marks the exact 10th anniversary of the original iPhone release. Love it or hate it, use it or don’t. You can’t deny its impact in the world today. Calling it the most successful consumer product of all time is accurate and anything less would be selling it short.
Let’s see where another 10 years gets us. Happy 10th Anniversary iPhone.
I don’t talk or write about my movie much and I often ask myself why. Writing, filming, post-production, etc. Honestly, it’s difficult to list everything I was responsible for before my mind gets exhausted. Making ‘The Fiction‘ was one of the highlights of my life and If I die tomorrow, to have been able to make a movie from start to finish would be one of my favorite, most cherished experiences of my existence.
Truth be told, the finished product just didn’t end up the way I envisioned it. What I didn’t realize before filming was how immensely hard making a feature film is. Especially when you have extremely little experience. I think anyone who read the script before shooting knew there was something special, but most people politely instructed me to not film it. To sell the script and move on. The ever repeating phrase of first time filmmakers hardly ever work, just never faded from consciousness.
I look back now and of course see mistakes I made. From inexperience, to just being entirely exhausted by the time we got to filming. I had that odd combination of being completely driven where no one, and I mean no one, could have stopped me from making that movie and combine that with not really knowing how to execute on a level this script deserved. In hindsight, I should have sold the script and starting work on something else. But that’s a lot easier said then done, especially now.
I often forget that when you believe in something so much, it takes a lot more than sense to sway you. Honestly though, I’m proud of that. I’m proud I had that characteristic in me at such a young age. I had a no tolerance, take no prisoners approach to getting the film done. I was stubborn, but in a good way. In a way you would want your kid to put his head down and dig hard for a goal. Show some mental toughness. Unable to be swayed by the world. I had that for sure back then. I don’t so much now. I’ve lost a lot of that energy as of late.
A few nights ago I did something I was dreading for a long time. Almost 10 years after wrapping on The Fiction, I watched it. I was nervous about this for so many reasons. I mean, I was nervous about being nervous. But I went to Amazon, rented a copy of my own film and watched.
Magic doesn’t work through time, the film still has many shortcomings as I remembered. Like I mentioned earlier, there were many technical issues as well as experience issues that plagued me throughout production. So watching through the other night couldn’t hide any of that. Those emotions rushed through me. I remember those feelings well. Being in our dark editing room months after shooting only to realize there is no way this scene is going to work as planned. Thats a scary feeling. At one point I remember driving home from an editing session and looking at the script sitting on my passenger seat, almost like it was staring back at me in disappointment.
The rewatch didn’t spawn all bad feelings, though. Actually, most of the viewing really comforted me. It comforted me to know that that was me. I know that sounds stupid. But its been 10 years now. It feels like another life ago. But it wasn’t, it was me. Still in the same skin just 10 years removed.
I loved seeing the cast. Eric, Andrus and all the heavy lifting they had to do to make up for my inexperience. They were sweet and gracious at every point of the production. I admired seeing Jeff play his multiple roles. I loved seeing young Allie play a role she was so committed to. Watching also made me recollect on the crew. Mike and Spike immediately come to mind. I have never and certainly now don’t mind saying this; The Fiction would have been half the quality it was without those guys. They did an amazing job with cinematography and Mike with editing. I am forever indebted to them. Of course I remembered Chris, my sound guy and long time school friend, who dropped everything so he could help me. He wasn’t completely comfortable with all the responsibility of a full sound team squeezed into one person, but he did it because he cared. I will always be appreciative of that.
Speaking honestly, watching The Fiction felt like a breath of fresh air. I know its a movie and to strangers, thats all it will ever be. But, to me it’s a time capsule for my life. Good or bad, I achieved this. Success or failure, no one could take it away from me. It was a tremendous learning experience about filmmaking, team work and most importantly, friendship. I would like to think everyone else on set felt this way, but I felt an extreme closeness to them while filming and anytime I saw them afterwords. Even when I rewatched, that feeling came back. The memories of jokes in-between takes and script revisions, prop placements and plot discussions. To me now, all that stuff feels so special.
After the rewatch I really wish I could hit the rewind button and go back. Not to fix little sound problems or acting quirks. Not to rewrite a scene to make it work a little better. Not to make different choices on set or off. I know it sounds crazy but I wouldn’t change a thing. I want to hit that rewind button so I could feel the warmth and camaraderie that the filming experience induced. I know I’ve tried to explain in words what I mean, but its just impossible.
Everyone involved in ‘The Fiction’ holds a very dear, special place in my heart. Who would have known the most important result of filming my own movie wouldn’t have been a completed film, but friendships and experiences that I never deserved and could have never achieved on my own.
Without a doubt, creating The Fiction was the biggest challenge of my life. But undisputedly, without question the most rewarding.
This is in no way a shameless plug, I promise. That was never my intention. But, if you read this post and are genuinely interested in seeing the film here are some links:
He’s one of the original YouTubers and still a favorite. Craig was doing super advanced editing and CGI before it was a thing on YouTube. He also gave me some advice when I was working on my film, which was super nice of him. Anyways, check out his page. He is very talented and a joy to watch. Whenever I’m having a down day, I watch a WheezyWaiter video and it never fails to make me smile.