2013: The Mayans Were Wrong

Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in Life in SoCal

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I begin writing this while flying First Class on US Airways from Charlotte, NC back to Los Angeles, CA. My earlier flight out of Syracuse was late, making me miss the connection to this one a few hours later, so they gave me the bump. There were a number of different ways I envisioned this year ending, but none involved shrimp in the sky.

Looking back, 2012 felt like two quick half-years more than a complete whole. January was a pretty tame month, consisting mostly of back surgery recuperation (age 23, how about that?) and wrapping a few remaining bits of production on our movie. February came with a lot of Post-Production work at first, but it thinned out quickly, leaving me almost bored for the first time in two years. I took this as a quick opportunity for visiting Los Angeles, my first time ever, to see if moving there would be the right decision once The Essentials was finished.

I landed in early March and had a very strange first night. Neither good nor bad, but very eye-opening. The rose colored glasses came off day one, which was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. They went right back on the next day though, as I was given a surprise private tour of Universal Studios from an older friend who works there. Then the couch surfing began, from one part of town to another, exploring and looking for relevant work wherever possible. People got quite a kick out of the guy who’d just gotten off the plane and wanted a job the next day. What a lovely thought.

The job hunt ran dry after three weeks, just in time for production of another RIT alum’s first feature to begin out here, Nice Guys, co-starring yours truly. Not the role that will land me the Oscar, but I got a sweet shot for the reel. April came and my return to NY was imminent, but I landed one last job interview on my final day at a Post house in Hollywood. My contact there was another RIT alum, so for the next few days I thought I was set.

But those few days passed. Thankfully I was back in Rochester, where we were orchestrating and mixing the Essentials score, so I didn’t have the time to be too bummed out about not landing a perfect entry-level position, no… there would be plenty of time for that later in the year. Then all of a sudden it was May 19th and The Essentials was playing in Rochester, Syracuse, and Little Falls. Shortly thereafter I landed a lead role in an independent feature out of Albany, Mr Righteous, which is currently in Post-Production. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but let’s just say my character goes out with a bang. Mind-blowing.

Once that wrapped, I was determined to finally finish The Essentials and start a new life out West, so I booked the one-way flight for July 2nd. After a month of still working on it and the last week of all-nighters, I finally left Rochester with the “finished” movie on July 1st, giving me a solid three hours to pack for the biggest move of my life coming up the very next morning.

 

 

The job hunt was far more successful this time as I was asked to crew on the independent mini-series Courage, New Hampshire which was shooting about 100 miles east of LA (and just had it’s PBS premiere earlier this month). Turns out I moved across the country and lived in a beautiful hotel for my first three weeks there. After wrapping and we returned, I hopped on my bike and went for a ride around Santa Monica. I saw a bike shop one block from the beach and figured it could be a pretty sweet first job, so I biked over there and got it.

For a few weeks I was full-time biking back and forth to work, at which I was clad in t-shirts that bordered on spandex and had been tasked with sending dozens of tourists off each day to ride along the beautiful Santa Monica coastline. Tourists can be fun, as I spent half the time trying to learn as many foreign languages as possible. I’ve got about six or seven down pat, although the extent of my knowledge usually drops off shortly after “Welcome to America” and “You are beautiful”. By day, I was wheeling & dealing bikes; by night I was slicing & dicing another feature, Neshima, a fantasy drama based out of San Diego that is aiming for a February release. But two jobs are never enough…

Spending a few months with Principal Media as their Development Coordinator was a great experience, providing some tremendous insight into the realm entertainment distribution, of which I knew nothing. They were a fun team of people to work with, plus my first real excuse to look spiffy on a daily basis in Beverly Hills. A few of them also got me back into playing badminton a little bit, so if anyone out here in LA wants a shot at the title, you know who to call and I have the place for us to go. Good times.

My few months with them was enough of a boost for me to attend the American Film Market in Santa Monica during November, toting my glorious new HD action-comedy The Essentials, for which I’m currently in final negotiations of worldwide distribution for with some foreign sales reps. Nothing is certain, nor will it be the kind of deal that I literally sell the movie to some company, but things are looking good for exposure and I’m hoping to finally have some concrete, real news to share in the next month.

The holiday season kicked off by getting arrested outside of Arizona during Thanksgiving vacation, charged with freeloading. The weeks that followed were a pretty mixed bag, some high highs and low lows. I now understand the rollercoaster lifestyle of this industry and the lives we lead by extension is to be expected… but hey, I’d rather be riding than standing in line. The big highlight came when The Essentials cleaned house at the Hollywood & Vine Film Festival, taking home four awards including the Audience Award for Best Feature.

T’was that special time of year though, so after two weeks of abysmal clouds and rain in LA, it was time to head home for the snow in Dolgeville. Going back for Christmas was everything I expected and needed it to be; waking up at 4am for presents with my younger siblings, a blizzard, glazed ham, some friends and family. I got about 2/3 of the work finished that I’d hoped, which isn’t too bad compared to my normal rate of vacation productivity. The fruits of these labors will be posted online soon, so check back in the next few days.

I have a laundry list of 2012 things left to still See / Do / Experience, so I’ll spare you my Best Of lists… for now. Instead, I’ll simply wish you all a Happy New Year and insist each and every one of you make some type of resolution. Saying that you don’t do them, can’t think of one, or “they never work out” just makes for lame conversation. I’ll admit that for 2012 I resolved to become a better dancer, but it didn’t really pan out like I’d hoped. While there may be some noticeable improvement, I never really went out of my way to work at it and thus am still not Michael Jackson.

I’ll be finalizing my resolution in the next few days, as right now I’m actually waiting on a phone call about a potential full-time gig. I had a job interview on my last day here in 2012, thinking I nailed it, but I’ve felt that way before… so before blowing out the candles I’m waiting to see if the cake will even get here.

Not sure if that metaphor is the most appropriate, but it sounded pretty cool in my head. The rollercoaster one from earlier might be brilliant, though. Happy New Year!!!

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  1. Derek Short says:

    Great article! I think MY resolution/goal in this year 2013 will be to have as great a year as you did in 2012. Good luck with the job search and distribution deal! I wish you the best and hope that you will do the same for me.

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