December 31, 2010

2010 was one of the good ones. Next year I turn 30, make a feature film, and stay happy.

December 28, 2010

"Forget Me Not" accepted into the 17th annual Sedona Film Festival in Arizona, making it festival 10 for my little movie.

December 27, 2010

What's more exciting about the fancy new train cars in Chicago: A) the smoother/quieter ride, or B) the lack of pee and poop odors?

December 26, 2010

I messed up Facebook on my iPhone. If you need to find me, you'll have to use email, text, twitter, blogger, or a phone call. What a hassle.

December 16, 2010

A horn and a few
A horn and a few "hornlings" on Andrew Bird's stage. The acoustics are about as perfect as can be for live music.
A few
A few "hornlings" at the Andrew Bird show. There were about 30 total, and he said the eventual plan is 96!
Andrew Bird's stage at 4th Presbyterian in Chicago. The speaker in the center oscillates on command!
Andrew Bird's stage at 4th Presbyterian in Chicago. The speaker in the center oscillates on command!

December 15, 2010

The hardest part of standing in a line by yourself is choosing which conversation is best for eavesdropping.

December 14, 2010

Japanese students go Skydiving with Google Earth, and it's awesome: http://ping.fm/JZylo

December 9, 2010

Serving.

I like waiting tables. I like being a waiter.

I know that sounds crazy, because the word "waiter" for many people conjures images of some ragged half person/half zombie that served them Moons Over My-Hammy at Denny's a few years ago.  It also sounds crazy because all I've ever wanted to be in life was a filmmaker (I still have fantasies of being an evolutionary biologist, though).

It sounds crazy because it means staking your livelihood on the kindness of strangers, sometimes based on factors that are completely out of your control. It means every table is your boss, re-evaluating your performance every 20 seconds, and they get to determine how much your time is worth. Your income is dependent on whether or not they happen to like your haircut, or the way you describe the flourless chocolate cake, or whether the cook fucked up their egg-white frittata. If you can remember 99 things on a list of 100, they will penalize you for the 100th thing every single time. It sounds crazy because even in this day and age, in this economy, no one knows how to fucking tip.

It's not that crazy, though. It's going to take me years to become a working director. Or to be more specific: more years than the many years I've already spent trying. The reality is that I have a small mortgage's worth of student loan debt, and yet it's very likely that my first "big" project will somehow have to come out of my pocket. I need a day job. The reality is that I need to both work as a full-time filmmaker and a full-time something else at the same time. So why waiting tables?

To become a great director, I must direct films. There is no ladder to climb, so to speak, because there's only ever one director on a film. Sure, other roles can lead to valuable experience, but I've performed those roles for ten years now. I've held nearly every possible position on something like 130+ projects: short films, commercials, TV shows, and even a feature or two. What I need is time, money, flexibility, and practice, so that I can spend the rest of my time actually doing what I should be doing.

Or:
  1. Waiting tables means I can work 30 hours a week, feel like I just worked 60, but make 60+ hours of worth of money. It requires saintly levels of patience and fortitude, but the payoff is worth it. I don't have to take any work home with me. I'm an ordinary citizen the moment I clock out each day.
  2. Waiting tables means I am even more flexible than my poor, starving freelance-dependent friends. I always have work, my industry is recession proof, and I work as much or as little as I like. I can do this job in almost any city in the world, though Chicago just happens to be food-obsessed and therefore particularly worthwhile.
  3. Waiting tables means I get paid in cash, instantly. At my particular restaurant I also get a reliable schedule, retirement benefits, health insurance, and vacation pay.
  4. Waiting tables means I meet 60+ strangers a day, and have to convince them to like and/or respect me in seconds, even if they don't like my haircut. In fact, they are disinclined to like me, because liking me means they feel obligated to pay me more money. This is all more like directing than anything a grip, assistant director, or production designer does.
  5. Waiting tables at this particular place means that nearly every customer walking through the door makes more money than my parents ever did. They probably don't give a shit about art. It means they are rich, with rich friends, and are the exact sort of person with enough disposable income that I will hope either A) pay to see my movies, or B) give me lots and lots of money, as a risky investment into one of my movies. I need to learn what makes people like this tick.
I can't think of a single other job that will better prepare me for directing, which itself is a job where I have to sell myself, my ideas, and my stories to people who are inclined to not give a shit. Whether it's a detective story set in prohibition-era Detroit, or a sesame-crusted ahi tuna salad, I have to learn how to convince strangers to spend money. I often have to convince people who I don't even like to give me money, and it's not fucking easy!

(Though, I encounter far more interesting, nice, and cool people than I would have guessed originally)

After a year, I've also come to terms with the fact that I like waiting tables. I like meeting people every day. I like talking to strangers. I like it because I think I'm good at it, and I can't honestly say I'm good at lots of things. With any luck, that bodes well for my career in film. If nothing else, it's more interesting than retail?

December 8, 2010

Just started a 2 hour Trans-code on my latest project. time to finish the Red Riding Trilogy at long last. Netflix saves the day again!

December 7, 2010

Scientists have more fun than normal people: http://ping.fm/5fpG2

December 6, 2010

Going to a Repeal Day dinner! Beers by Two Brothers and Metropolitan, food pairings, and a special beer for the event called the Bismarck.

December 2, 2010

After a lull in submissions, the first 2011 Festival for "Forget Me Not" is here: the Macon Film Festival in Georgia, February 17th-20th!

December 1, 2010

Holy shit. If you haven't seen "Gasland," look it up and find it. It will inspire and enrage you, in the best ways possible. Go now.