let’s make stuff
I was really lucky to live in New York when the independent digital film boom hit. I got my hands on a copy of Final Cut Pro and a Mini DV camera, and set to work making stuff. Sometimes twice, just to figure out how to do it.
I’m not a cinematographer. I’m not even a “trained” filmmaker. I just figured that, if I did it enough times, I would learn how. Did I know the names of every tool, the spec of every codec? No, and I still don’t. I just know that I love to make stuff.
I am currently sitting in a hotel in Orlando, Florida, working on a “show”. That’s what we call the major corporate events that I am lucky to be a part of creating. I say lucky, though it is an extremely stressful and time-consuming job. I’ve talked about this before – how the travel isn’t that glamorous, and that you could be sitting in a hotel room near a convention center in any part of the world, and it would all look and feel the same. And, in many ways, the shows tend to all be the same, regardless of the client, the locale or the size. There’s always a huge pre-plan, a huge rush and a huge relief.
But I make a living, provide for my beautiful wife and darling boys as an artist. As an artist, people. The dream I had at 13 has come true.
But I don’t want to do this forever. And when I sit in rooms like this, working, I listen. I listen to music to pass the time. Thank high heaven for Pandora, because I’ve discovered some amazing music with it. Wonderful artists like Passion Pit, The Verve, Sara Bareilles (so cute), A Fine Frenzy (so hot), Greg Laswell (so my age) and others, many others (yes, even Death Cab for Cutie), that I never would have listened to before.
So I’m listening to Pandora and Breathe Me by Sia comes on. For those of you Sherlock’s out there, you can track the date of the Facebook post on the subject and see they coincide (so smaht). Aside from the fact that the song is amazing, beautiful and moving – three words that don’t quite make it to the exact description – and that, yes, I know this is the song from the Six Feet Under finale, it is one of those songs that hits me at just the right time, and slaps me across the face.
Recently, a client asked me, on a business trip dinner, to tell the group something about myself they did not already know. I thought about it, and finally said, “If I could stop doing this today, I would act and improvise and make films”. I would make stuff.
I’m 39 years-old. I’m at the age where I start to look back as much as forward, and look around, as well. I see people – older, my age, younger – making a real impact on others around their town, the country, the world. Making an impact on people they don’t even know and will never meet.
I’m 39 years-old, and I’m a bit of a curmudgeon. I’m rough around the edges. I’m ornery, at times. But I’m also way more laid back than ever before. Way more centered. Way more motivated.
I’m 39 years old, and I want to make stuff. I want other 39 year-old’s to raise their hands and say, “I want to make stuff, too”.
And that, my friends, is the problem. I have few colleagues, friends or acquaintances with which to dream, to laugh, cry and make. And the easy thing is to blame my locale – Little Rock. There are people there that want to make stuff, too. That’s not it. It’s simpler than that, and yet something I have no control over.
I’m 39 years-old. You ever try to make new friends past 35? You ever even try to strike up a conversation, today, with another human being that doesn’t know you? You ever try to even smile at a fellow parent in your son’s class? People treat each other like dogshit these days. And the older you get, the more rancid you smell. Even in the “friendly” south the Yankee is the most polite person within a 5-mile radius.
So, I have decided. I’ll make stuff, damnit. I’ll make it myself. I’ll make what I want to make, and then, maybe then, people will want to make stuff with me. Or, they won’t. In which case, I’ll still have made some stuff.
Phew. Breathe. Glad I heard that song.