Monday, September 4, 2023

Making It Happen

A great man once told me, "You can make things happen. You can watch things happen. Or, you can wonder what the hell happened?" Let's take those in reverse order.... 

Wondering what the hell happened means that you're effectively witnessing the event after the fact, and relying on second, third, and even fourth hand reporting of what took place, subject to the "reporter's interpretation." Never a good thing, as you may have an opposite opinion of the person telling you the story about what's going on around you with or without your consent. 

Watching something happen means that you get to interpret the events, and if you're so inclined, you get to write your own story subject to your interpretation. Sporting events and protest marches fall under this category, as do strikes and picket lines. I bring this up because we're currently in the middle of two strikes within the entertainment industry, and there was another going on with hotel workers, however, I believe that one to be settled. Aside: Strikes have a cascading effect, as one guild or union goes on strike, and others think, "Hey, that's a great idea!!!" If you're not a member of said unions or guilds, you get to watch what happens, as you don't get to actively participate. Sure, you can goto the various places that have picket lines and either cross them or walk with them. Does the free food balance out the time it took you to get there, and do you believe in the various causes? That's for you to decide. All I know is that right now, I should be on strike against myself based on who I am and what I do. 

Finally, and this part is the most difficult, making something happen, as that usually cost time or money. Mostly both. This same great man stated that it's easier to become a star than it is to get your start, and that's somewhat true. Other people are always either looking for a paycheck or a handout to be involved with YOUR project, and to solve this, you may have to capitulate. This is never a good idea. While you never want to be in the first group that we talked about, you may not have too much of a choice if you're the guy creating something for others. I make movies that practically no one sees, however, for those of you that have, I've effectively made that movie four times: The one I write, the one I shoot, the one I edit, and finally, the one that you see. 

I have no control over that fourth one. When you react, I can either wonder what the hell happened, or I can watch what happened. It's a mixture really. I've done all three things in the proper order, however, the point is simply thus: Did I make something happen that was good? 

Subjectivity is key. Do I know my audience? I'd like to think that I do, even though for the most part, we've never met. You wouldn't be reading these words if you didn't get here from elsewhere. This is either the downside or upside to social media. I attempt to be apolitical for the most part, as I can take either side of an argument, however, statistically, you will probably take the other side just for sake of argument. You may have beliefs that are contrary to mine. That's okay. I still want you to pay to see my film. 

Tell me how bad it is after. At that point, all I can do is strive to make a better movie, and start the whole process over. Hopefully, I've made enough money in order to do that. 

There's so many factors out there relative to the specific industry that I'm in, that I have absolutely no control over. Either I have to be the best, or hire the best, and then hope for the best. 

Doesn't seem fair, does it? 

Why, you may ask? I don't know if you did or not, as you're reading this after I write it, and I'm not there. I've discussed this aspect before, so no need to go into it here. It's truly simple. Everyone else in my industry is attempting to do the same thing at the same time. It may or may not be a somewhat closed system, however, wanting it bad enough may not be enough sometimes. 

Other times you end up being chosen for something that you didn't expect, and you have a chance to excel. You've made something happen. Thank you.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

This Day is Always Hard

Effectively two thirds of my life without him. I don't know if I'll be able to get through all of this to the point where last year I never posted what I wrote on that day, 40 years later. It still affects me. I see myself in him sometimes, and it doesn't scare me, however it reminds me of effectively how I was raised. A few years ago, I orated a variation on the story that I wrote at the 35 anniversary of his death. If you haven't guessed already, I'm talking about my father. The man that taught me chess, blackjack, and magic among other things is simply gone but not forgotten. History is a tricky thing. We live in an age where most of the information that's freely available out there was created within this generation or the last. People are living longer, and it was last May when I had officially lived longer than my dad did, and with either luck or divine intervention depending on who or what you believe, I'll live at least twice as long as he did. He lived in an age where a glass or two of hard liquor every day or night wasn't considered a bad thing. I honor his memory every once in awhile by ordering either a Manhattan or an Old Fashion (ed?) instead of my usual wine cooler. I may do that the next time I goto the Castle, although, they took down his caricature several years ago. I have it here at home. A rereading of his obituary published in Genii Magazine tells of times he was the only performer there keeping the place open. That's a simple lookup if you're interested; Frederick M. Shields. You'll also find the picture of him on the cover dated Feb. 1959. I've published that before here, so no need to insert it again. I did grow a full on beard and kept it trim this year for no other reason than I wasn't getting free shaves at Barber College anymore due to COVID. It's scary how close I looked to how I remember him. Maybe I won't do that anymore. I don't know. My fear right now is if I stop writing, I won't remember him as well, and his affect on me. Ultimately, this whole thing is about me, as he's no longer here. My children never got to know him, or my mother either for that matter, however that's a story for another time if I can ever get through it. I've tried a few times but can never complete it without completely breaking down. I was 22 and fifteen days when he passed, and my children are somewhat older than that today, although my daughter has a little more to go before she turns 30. I don't truly know that I have the ability to have an adult relationship with my children as a result. It is however, a good goal. Did he do a good job with me? As an only child, 100% of his parenting was aimed at me. He had help as we discussed, as I am fortunate enough to be the product of two loving parents that managed to stay together for 38 years before he died. He never had steady work after someone at CBS Television City decided to go after his job to the point of making him look bad to get him removed. So, he would be there when I got home from school every day, and some days he would pick me up and I'd get a ride home. We'd talk about whatever, which was mostly what happened to me at school, and I didn't truly like talking about that. Maybe that's why I never did this with my kids. Would their lives be significantly different had I done so? We don't live in that universe. He wanted to write a book based on columns he wrote for Genii Magazine, however, that never happened. Every once in awhile, I fantasize about picking that up where he left off, however, that hasn't happened yet. I've got my own book to write. Someone once said we all have one book within us, and mine is necessarily different than his. However, the things he taught me about certain things he may have already written about, so he can live on through these annual remembrances. That is a word, dammit!!! RIP Dad. I miss you more and more every day.