30 December 2009

Hasta la 2009.

2009 has but a few meager hours left in it, so the time is right to kick a year when it's down.  For your reading pleasure (or not) here are a few thoughts on what happened on my end in 2009, and what I'm going to push to make happen in 2010.

2009 opened with the one of the most painful experiences of my life.  My four year old cat, Sonny, who had been the subject of numerous home movies that turned into highly-edited affairs because I can't turn off the "tell it in the cut" bit of my brain, died in my arms on the way to the emergency vet on January 3.  He had been sick for awhile, and while part of it was a relief, it was an extraordinarily painful moment, and one that cast a shadow over the year.  It made me question my decision to move back to Ohio, and still is the subject for much consternation regarding the course I've thus far been on.

I took my last puff of a cigarette on April 30, 2009.  For 12 weeks, I was a human envelope.  Patches of nicotine infused adhesive ripped bodily hair off of me on a daily basis and my temperament was... moody.  However, I came out of those 12 weeks feeling human for the first time in awhile, and the hair is growing back.  Sort of.  Still kinda patchy.

On the filmmaker side, I released Gather 'Round the Mic, and it's lived online ever since.  People seem to like it, but like my previous post, I've learned to lose like Indiana Jones.  I didn't expect great things from it - come to think of it, I didn't really expect anything from it.  OK, I admit, it would have been nice to hear "what are you doing next, and what can I do to help?"  But alas -

I didn't really take the time to appreciate the victory of getting my first "feature length" flick out the door, because I had a deadline of two weeks afterwards for a promotional video, which I turned in a week early.  I turned down a music video (criteria - if I can't picture myself listening to the song for three months straight, I don't do it), and had to back out of a few things, primarily due to exhaustion, and in no small part to the previously mentioned human envelope syndrome.

I spent most of the summer waffling about in a patchy post-project blue daze, working on things here and there, and realizing that I couldn't go any further on my own.  I had reached the point where my growth as a filmmaker and human being had reached its apex, and that my days as a one-man-band of non-profit exec, househusband, and multi-hyphenate had to come to an end.  Oh - I did shoot two field hockey scholarship videos and learned something.  Field hockey balls really hurt.

Then in September, I started writing reviews of House and Fringe for pulptone.com.  I started reaching out in ways I hadn't before.  I made a conscious effort to, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, do at least one thing per day that I wasn't comfortable with.  I started heaving projects left and right, things that had lingered that wouldn't amount to a damn.  I re-prioritized.  I focused (though I still have a long way to go).

Things started moving forward, and then...

Throughout 2009, I fought tooth and nail to keep not only my day job (non profit Executive Director) but to save a Foundation to which I had dedicated four years of my life.  I found out on November 11 that we would be moving to a volunteer-only basis, and that I would cease being paid as of December 11. It had been a rough year with the Foundation, several things had changed, and despite my best efforts, trying everything I could think of, I had to accept the realization that my efforts as the guy pushing the Titanic back on the water simply weren't enough.

Now, I could have been angry about this.  I could have been pissed off.  But I wasn't.  It was coming someday.  I wasn't going to retire doing this.  Instead, something happened.  I refused to be angry.  I refused to be pissed.  And I drew a line in the sand with everyone in my life - either you are part of the solution, or you are part of the problem - myself included.

I threw myself into the job hunt with a vigor I hadn't ushered in a long time - no longer was I trying to sell something that I thought unsellable - I was selling a product I believed in:  Me.  As of this writing, I'm still applying every day.  I've sent out nearly 200 in the past month.  And never have I received more scam emails.

And then a funny thing happened.  I found a writing partner.  Strangely enough, it was my neighbor two houses down.  We sat down one night with legal pads, started throwing ideas around, and within 10 minutes hit upon a great idea we're turning into a script.

Other great thing in 2009 - meeting some very, very cool people thanks to Twitter and Facebook.  Always a pleasure to know that despite working in a vacuum, we're not alone.

So what do I hope to do in 2010? 
- Find a shiny new paid gig.
- Write a kick ass script with my writing partner and make something cool happen with it.
- Formalize my production company.
- Turn this blog into an online blogozine where indie filmmakers can contribute.  If you've read this far, and are interested in contributing - let me know!
- Learn to cook - beyond Kraft Mac and Cheese.
- Learn French - beyond my favorite phrase, which, loosely translated means: Give me a beer, asshole.
- Figure out which doors are opening, which ones need opening, and which ones need kicked in.
- Write something everyday and accept that first drafts are shit.

And what productions might you see from me?  In January, a little short film about a magic trick with a lot riding on it.  After that, the short musical I've been playing with for a long time.  Two new music videos - both animated (maybe).  And just maybe a new documentary.

Other than that - your guess is a good as mine.

A big thank you to all of you who have been reading, and I look forward to ushering in the new year with each and every one of you!



Joanna D'Angelo said...

You've had some rough patches this year, my friend (in more ways than one) but I'm glad you're in the positive zone and moving forward. I'm also glad to have met you on twitter. I wish you all the best in 2010! :)

Tyler Weaver said...

Thanks Joanna - it's been great getting to know you as well =) Have a wonderful New Year!

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