Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm fine...how are you?

So,

Life has been moving on as it tends to do whether you want it to or not. My goals are still the same, but the planning phase is becoming daunting. The thing that blows my mind is to what degree people are will to grant money to the type of project that I am devising. However, the requirements are a little intimidating. There are some specifics that I have not even considered yet, specifics that are really going to shoot this whole thing in the ass if I don't cover.

1. Location. My intention is to make this a permanent location. I don't think that I am looking to go from place to place, show to show. I need to find a facility that meets at least the very bare minimum of our needs. Otherwise, I need to find a location that can be renovated; and then I would need to conjure up the extra funds needed to do that.

2. Tax Exempt vs Not. I wasn't aware that you could be a non profit without said exemption. Research has effectively driven me in the direction of Tax Exemption, but I am freaking out a little over the paperwork.

3. Grant applications. SO MUCH WORK. Not bitching, as it is free money, but a lot of work. Ok, maybe I am bitching a little.

4. Mission Statement. Seriously, I haven't even covered that yet.

5. Supplemental funding. How much am I able to get without messing up tax status, etc.

Really, I am still at the conceptualization phase. But I think its time to move on from there. I need to get over the anxiety, the low self esteem. and the fear of failure. I must try. Failure is completely acceptable, so long as I try. I have spent my life regretting missed opportunities. I have to make my own opportunities now.

I don't know if this has to do with being 35 and not being where I want to be in life, being unemployed and not wanting to go back to being a corporate drone, or simply being tired of letting my aspirations falling by the wayside in favor of other people's dreams. Come to think of it, I think it's a combination of the three. All of those statements are completely and equally true.

I feel a little better now...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So, I'm serious...

So,

Here I am without a job, searching the various means of employment posting, trying desperately to not end up in a stunningly banal office job not unlike the last one that I inhabited for the past 8 years. I won't do it, I simply won't. I would rather like in a box on the street than work in a box in an office again. I tried, I really, really tried, to be a good worker bee, working my 8 hours a day in y own little cubicle hell, telling myself that I was not defined by the job, but what I did in the hours outside of it. I told people that the misery I endured in my job paid the bills for the things that I enjoyed outside of my job. But the simple fact is, those 8 hours a day are 8 hours of my life. And while I do not think I am any more entitled than anyone else to have a more fulfilling job, I do think that all of us need to stop compromising our talents, our dreams, our aspirations, and our base morals simply for the purpose of owning a house or driving a car or typing words on a computer.

Some people are satisfied with that. Hell, most people are satisfied with that. I tried to be. I just can't. I am sure that people reading this will think "Sorry, Jim, you're not special. You have to get up and work like the rest of us." I don't fear work. I crave work. But I want my work to feel like work. I want to see results, I want to get a return on my investment, to use business parlance.

I have often lamented about the American Dream. Well, I am about to take the American Dream by the throat and try to give it what I wish. I am going to start something on my own. I don't know how, but I do know that I am done dreaming about it, done talking about, and done lamenting that no one has done it.

We'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Dad

Today would have been my dads 66th Birthday. I realized the other day how pictures I had of him, especially later in his life. There are days that I am afraid that I will forget his face or the sound of his voice. I suppose this is what all people feel about someone who dies.

My dad gave me a lot. Even on the day he died, he gave me something: Manhood. Until the moment when I realized that I was never going to see him again, I always knew that I wouldn't have to "go it alone." I would always have someone to take care of me, if I really needed it. I would always have someone there to bail me out of whatever mess I had gotten myself into at that moment. Someone whose sage wisdom I would always follow. At that very moment, I realized all of it was gone, and I had to live life on my own.

I miss you, Pop. There's a lot I wish you could have seen. But I am thankful for the time we had and I will never forget you.

Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The end of writers' block and glimpse into Jim's creative process

The end of writers' block is an interesting process. It's starts usually as an errant idea or two that begin to come together in the dark recesses of my mind. An idea, which given time and attention, will hopefully grow into a concept, and hopefully then take larger form. Were I a more introspective and eloquent person, I would call the process organic. I would be wrong, as I apply a lot more structure to my process, but I at least would like to think that I allow my ideas to escape the boundaries of structure sometimes.

My process is probably not unlike most creative people's. Once I have a general grasp on what I want to accomplish, I begin by outlining the concept; just building the skeleton upon which the rest of the concept will form. The majority of my projects die at this phase. Often I can tell at this point whether or not the concept is going to go anywhere and if I should bother continuing. After that, I take a crack at the actual creation process.

This process can vary depending on the art that I am creating:

1. Were I writing something, I would at this point take the time to write a scene or a summary of a story, perhaps write some character study; really depending on the focus of the piece.

2. Were I composing music, I would have already have devised some chord structure or bass line (I tend to write on guitar as opposed to piano) and would be moving on to melody at this point.

3. In directing, this would be point within the rehearsal process that I would begin working with the actors on character. I would have already made my choices for the scene or the piece, and would now begin the collaboration process with the actor or flesh out the performance.

4. I would approach acting in a similar fashion. I would have, by now, had a decent grasp on the character I was playing by reading the script, perhaps waiting to go through blocking with the director (depending on his/her style), and beginning to think about the character's choices.

It is actually a very exciting time in the creative process, and one that I am glad to actually take a moment and record it here in the ether...

The problem in this case is that these errant ideas have coalesced into a few concepts, and I need time to organize them...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Check out my next premier

Elmwood Productions, in association with our friends at Paris in Plantsville, are going to have a screening of G@mrz, the web series I wrote, directed, and performed in. It will be good. People seem to like it...

http://www.facebook.com/events/456799284360077/

Friday, August 24, 2012

Job and Soul Searching

I hate money...

Mind you, I love the stuff that money can buy. I'm an American, after all; a mindless consumer. I am not afraid to admit it. But a part of me hates that fact, and it's that part that hates the fact that in order to live a somewhat comfortable life, one must have money and/or the means to acquire it.

I have been out of work for a few months now, and while unemployment has made it possible to pay the mortgage and other sundry bills, it is not enough. Therefore, I have spent the bulk of my time searching for a job. At first, I tried to find a job that suited my work experience: a job in the insurance industry. Then I realized just how much I don't want a job working for some huge, bloated corporation whose executives and stockholders care little for their employees' job satisfaction , and even less about their quality of life.

Recently I went back and tried my hand at my first love: Theatre. I was in a musical revue at a community theatre in Manchester. I have to say, it has been one of the more positive experiences in the past ten or so years. It got me thinking about my life and the direction that it is headed in. The fact is, I am 35 years old; my life is NOT over yet. I am not doomed to the banal existence that I have previously resigned myself to. To quote little John Connor from The Terminator: There is no fate but the one we make. I need to get on that train, and fast.

My only outlet, my only saving grace, the only thing that has kept me going these past few years, has been Elmwood Productions, a small production company that me and 3 of my very best friends on the earth created. We make goofy movies with Puppets, and it makes us happy. I need to find a way to get our stuff better promoted, because the world is really missing out on some incredible creativity. To be able to make money doing this...it's our dream. One that it worth pursuing. Hell, since I got laid off from my previous job, if people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I am a writer and puppeteer. It's actually kind of liberating...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2010 Oscar Nominations

The Following are the 2010 Oscar Nominations (well, the big ones). My Predictions are in Bold:

Actor in a Leading Role:
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Animated Feature Film
“Coraline” Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
“Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction
“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography
“Avatar” Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design
“Bright Star” Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
Nine” Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Directing
Avatar” James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)
“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
“The Cove” Nominees to be determined
Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Film Editing
“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9” Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz