filmmaking

The First Draft

"Tell stories to your friends, and pay attention to when they get bored." - John Green

   I started this project just 13 days after moving in with a new roommate, and since then, he's not seen much of me. I've spent any and all "free-time" I've had working on this film. So I was so excited when I got up from my desk, came out to the living room and said, "It's done! Well, for the most part." 

    I remember sitting on the floor of our apartment when the idea of this whole thing hit me. We were suffering through the 1977 version of Pete's Dragon, which is just unbearable to watch, and I told him I had an idea for a movie. Today (June 22- yes, these are backdated!) the first person I ever told about this film got to see it finally come to fruition. 

    As a creative, there have been countless projects that I've started and never finished. In fact, just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to send over the draft of a book we'd started more than 3 years ago. I've got three unfinished music albums collecting dust in folders on my computers; needless to say, I've not great at finishing. But... Today I finished!! If you're wondering when or where you can see it, well there's a few things that need to happen first.

    First, I'm going to reserve a small room to hold a private screening of people I trust; some close friends and film industry contacts to get their opinions on it, and then I'll go back and re-edit whatever I need to. Next, I'll be having an actual in-a-freaking-movie-theatre premiere of Searching For Saint Joseph! From there, it will be available online, with priority access to those who gave to the IndieGoGo campaign. 

    All this to say- I'm genuinely proud of myself for finishing this, and I'm forever grateful for each and every one of you. This film is by no means perfect, but I'm so very proud to bring it to you, and I know this is only a stepping stone for bigger things. 

    

Father's Day

"When one has not had a good father, one must create one." - Friedrich Nietzsche 

    The clock on my laptop has just rolled over to 12:00, which means it is officially Father's Day. This is a holiday I've not had to give much thought to until now. I've been wrestling all day with what really isn't a big deal for most people- do I call my father? I mean how do you wish a happy Father's Day to someone who was supposed to be your father, but never really was?

    There's a good to fair chance I'm making a mountain out of this mole hill, but this is one of those things that no one tells you you'll have to think about after you've made the decision to find and meet your father. Do I call him? Do I text him? Do I just do nothing? These have been the questions I've been asking myself everyday this week. One of the things I have to keep reminding myself is that I'm the one who did this. I decided to open the door, and I'm worried I may not be as prepared to actually walk through it as I thought. At this point, I've already done the hard part. I made contact. That's HUGE!! I don't think I've truly given myself enough credit for that.

    It would have been so much easier to go through life angry, and rightly so. It would have been so much easier to go through life curious, with all these questions, never knowing the answers. Well now I know, and as they say, knowing is half the battle. I've chosen to go with door number three, and now I have to live with that choice. So whether it's the car, or the goat, it's mine now. 

    I think I've just solved my own problem. Thank you for reading along through my thought process. I know these blogs have recently been few and far between, but I don't want to just write for the sake of writing. If I don't feel like I have anything to say, then I won't say anything, but my hope is that these entries can help even just one person who's going through what I am. 

    With all that in mind; if you have a father, wish him a happy Father's Day, tell him you love him, and know that you are lucky to do so. As for me, I think I'm going to text my mine. I'm also going to text every father figure I've had, because unlike sons, fathers are not born, but made. And I've made some pretty great fathers over the years. 

Twenty-Six

"When you're 26, you can do anything." - Norman Lloyd

    Twenty-six is by no means a monumental birthday. At 26, you wake up, go to work, and maybe go to dinner. Turning 26 isn't special, unless it is. Well, it is for me. Here's why...

    November 13, 2017 - I'm at Sky Harbor in line at Starbucks, ready to return home after the most emotional week of my life. I get a text message and look down at my phone. It's my father. 

    "Is that your dad?", Caleb (Assistant Director) asks, ready to start shooting. "No, it's my mom", I lied. I wanted these last moments back in Arizona to be just for me. I didn't even open the message for a few minutes. It wasn't until I was in line to board the flight that I read it. 

    Four words. Four words that made me empathetic towards my father for the first time. Four words that left me speechless. 

When is your birthday?

    So yes, this typically unspectacular birthday, for me, is special. It's the first year my father wished me a "happy birthday". It's the first year he even knew when it was. I'm releasing my first film. I'm doing my first radio show. I'm planning my first press tour. I'm working on starting my first non-profit. 

    I think every year can be special. Every year can be full of "firsts". I know it's cliché, but life is what you make it. Don't wait for your birthday, or New Year's to make something happen for yourself. Go out everyday and work harder, and learn more, and love better, and create fearlessly.     

Real Magic

"Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth." - Theodor Adorno

    Do you believe in magic? My friend Jared asked me that this week. My immediate response was, "Of course!" He seemed slightly taken aback by that, asking, "Wait, for real?" Once I explained what I meant, I think he understood.

    As a child, I was always into traditional magic. Dai Vernon, Harry Houdini, David Blaine, Penn & Teller, and so on. Even as an adult, I find myself watching highlights of Penn & Teller's "Fool Us" show more often than I would like to admit. I've seen every performance of Ricky Jay that exists, but that's not the magic I believe in. 

    Real magic, to me, is standing inside of the century's old Cathedral Basilica in Mazatlan. It's basking in the immensity of the ocean while standing on the shore, knowing that for hundreds of years, no one knew this land existed. Real magic is the sound of a Hammond B3 organ. It's the feeling I get when I hear Beyoncé's key changes in Love On Top. It's a museum of ancient paintings. It's the nostalgia of watching 90's era Disney movies. It's the sound of applause from the cast and crew on a film set after hearing "that's a wrap." Real magic is moving a thousand miles away from home, and finding community you never thought possible. It's a first kiss, a last goodbye, and a new life-long friend. 

    I believe life is full of "real magic", but too often we're thrown by the world's misdirection. Do yourself a favor, and stop trying to figure out how the trick is done. Instead, take a moment to live in the mystery; because that's where you'll find real magic.

    What is real magic to you?

Making a Film Is Hard

"All good art, to me, is uncertainty." - Dave Davies

    Somedays I'm able to sit and edit for 12-14 hours straight. Somedays, I don't even think about working on this film. So far, I think the hardest part for me is just having to watch and re-watch myself go through the toughest week of my life. This blog probably won't be very long, as I've so much work to do, but in an attempt at openness, honesty, and vulnerability, you should know that I've not touched this film in 3 weeks. I've been feeling slightly overwhelmed with some things, and trying to edit a film has been the furthest thing from my mind.

    I can tell you with certainty that I do not know how to craft a film from beginning to end, but I swear I'm trying. I gave myself a deadline to release in April. That may have been a bit overzealous. I hope to still be on track for a spring release, but I feel like this story is worth telling, and worth telling well.

    I don't what I'm doing. I can only hope that I'm watching and re-watching a story that's worth telling and re-telling.