2019 sucked hard.
It felt like my life was being slowly hacked apart–our house flooded, I was totally sidelined by severe depression, projects went unfinished, film festivals got postponed, our house flooded again, and my fiance’ dumped me.
My life was a country song in the making.
However…when I woke up on January 1st, 2020 (after a lonely boozy bender the night before) it was like I was a new man.
It was as if someone else had taken over my body for 365 days and they finally gave it back to me.
So, in the most selfish display of disdain ever for the reading pleasure of whomever happens to come upon this website, I have decided to turn this into a slightly more personal account of my misadventures through life and recovery moving forward.
This is just to (literally) get the words out of my head, the ones that tend to get stuck in there like some echo chamber where you can only hear your own dumb voice ringing back at you again and again and again.
So in my first act as President of this new school of discourse, I make a Declaration of Independence from 2019, and the entire person that I was that year.
But I did think it would be healthy to write out some of what I actually DID get accomplished last year, despite my massive self-labeled failures in other areas of work and life. So, here goes:
- I built two websites for stylists. One was a friend, and I did everything for free. The other was a referral from that friend who was planning on paying me until I found out that her newborn daughter had severe, life-threatening health problems. So of course, I did not charge her–it’s not much of a contribution, but I hope that it’s at least one bill that they won’t have to worry about right now, and something that can hopefully help generate some income when she’s ready to go back to work.
- I went to my first Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting. The first group that I went to was very good, but then one week I couldn’t make it so I went to a different group meeting nearby on another day that week. It was there that I really connected with one person’s story–our histories were very similar, and she was saying things out loud that I had only ever kept as thoughts in my head until that point. This is the only place in the world that I have ever felt normal.
- I helped a friend develop a couple of workshops for his very successful film festival, which I was happy and grateful to be a part of. I also directed the table readings of two short scripts at the same festival, which was fun, and allowed me to work with a group of actors one on one in a different way that I would normally be able to.
- I worked with a friend and partner to create a film contest to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River catching on fire. The films created from the contest were screened at a very cool event at our Museum of Contemporary Art, and shown again throughout the year at numerous other events.
- Went to London with Janice and our girls–it was an amazing time! This was 100% vacation, so it was very different than the travel that I am used to doing. It was nice to explore the city and enjoy this time with them.
- Produced our Cleveland 48HFP and Horror Project events–at the time, I did not know that this would be my last time doing so. Earlier this year, I retired as the Cleveland City Producer after 12 years. It’s a new generation of filmmakers, and time to pass the crown on to someone who can inspire and unite people in ways that I cannot.
- Put together a cinematography workshop for a group of scouts that turned into a much bigger class on filmmaking. This was a lot of fun and has inspired some ideas on how I can do this much better in the future.
- I acted in my most challenging role to date–Heisenberg in Michael Frayn’s COPENHAGEN. It’s a brilliant piece, and I loved our production. I don’t think that I was emotionally able to give the role the depth that it deserved though, mostly because of everything that was happening in my personal life at the time. There were murmurings of trying to bring the show back to tour it locally–if that ever happened I would definitely love another crack at bringing Werner to life.
So, there it is, my 2019. It was what it was, and I am determined to make 2020 something completely different and much more intentional.