Too Late for a Spring Update

So I intended on posting a late winter update. I intended on posting a list of New Year’s Resolutions. I intended on managing my time effectively for both creative, self-fulfilling work and the normal day-in-day-out kind of work, and providing updates as that process went along. As you can see, life happened.

I’d had friends and mentors tell me that once you enter the freelance work world post-graduation, your “life” gets sucked up and put aside for a bit. Freelancers can become machines, chugging along from gig to gig, only to return to the necessary normalcy of laundry, chores, and sleep during the available free weekend.

I didn’t anticipate this for myself for quite a while. Given that I had only graduated last May, I fully expected a winter of long bouts of TV binging, occasional personal projects, and the tremendous self-loathing that comes with being an unemployed college grad.

I hit the ground running. Hard.

Channeling Beaker.  I hadn't shaved since No Shave November.
Channeling Beaker. I hadn’t shaved since No Shave November.

All through the winter, Sirens Media kept me afloat with a variety of PA and Grip days on their TV series’ House of Horrors, Hell House, and Southern Fried Homicide. Look for me soon in the role of Muppet-faced Police Officer! Hell House asked me to step into the acting role while PAing one day and I was happy to oblige. I don’t have any lines, but I do have a massive beard that was hanging around from No Shave November.

Then, I had the opportunity to Swing in the Grip and Electric departments on Mike Rowe’s new CNN show Somebody’s Gotta Do It, when production came into Baltimore. It was a terrifying experience when I initially entered into it – filled with a variety of firsts. I collaborated with our DP and Line Producer on selecting a Serious equipment package for my out of town crew, I drove a stake bed truck and loaded in and out of location by myself, and I rigged a variety of scenarios based on my DP’s direction – including Leko lights, a Joleko spotlight, and a Joleko Menace Arm.

The Menace Rig is not as long as it looks. The perspective is stretched because of the panorama. Set safety!
The Menace Arm Rig is not as long as it looks. The perspective is stretched because of the panorama. Set safety!

IATSEI then joined IATSE Local 487 in March and worked my first day on a Union set in mid-June! Mercy Street is currently shooting in Richmond and I had the opportunity to day play in the electric department. The show is being touted as the replacement for Downton Abbey, which is in its final season. Between playing with brand new LED technologies and actually getting to run big ass lengths of cable on set, I was stoked to be exposed to and feel like a part of the life of a union crew. Much thanks to my Best Boy Electric and former lighting professor Wade Tyree for the invitation! Wade was one of the few professors who made the effort to show his students what the world of a local working professional can look like. He’s always been an inspiration and I admire his consistent dedication to teaching.

Outside of these projects, I’ve continued to light on corporate and commercial work that has kept me incredibly busy, including a 30 for 30 ESPN documentary and an Under Armour docu-shoot.

ESPN 30 for 30
ESPN 30 for 30

However, beyond the scope of my professional work, I am proud to say that I have committed to and stayed true to my primary New Year’s Resolution of remaining personally creative. Since January, I have written, produced, and directed two shorts.

The first of these is an anthology film project of shorts created by Baltimore filmmakers, done in the style of an Exquisite Corpse. The second is a narrative promotional video for No Shave November, a fundraising driver for the American Cancer Society. They’ve been the projects I’ve been most passionate about because of how much personal growth and satisfaction I’ve derived from them, and I can’t wait to share them both. I also have to endlessly thank my amazing crews for their time and skills. My crews have given me such a gift and it humbles me to work among them.  Expect to see these shorts later this year, but in the meantime, here are some BTS photos from set!

Exquisite Corpses.
Exquisite Corpses set construction.
Actress Christie Czajkowski, production still from “Exquisite Corpses.”
Production BTS, photo courtesy of Spencer Grundler.
Production BTS on “No Shave November Promo”, photo courtesy of Spencer Grundler.
Production BTS on
Production BTS on “No Shave November Promo,” photo courtesy of Jena Richardson.
My much adored
My much adored “No Shave November Promo” crew at our wrap dinner.

Finally, I’m gaffing on Maryland Film Fest filmmaker’s Chris LaMartina and Jimmy George’s new film, which is currently in production. I can’t give too many details, but I will say that I’ve been incredibly excited to see the use of a variety of older video cameras and being able to light for unique aesthetics. The film has been shot over nights and weekends for a few months now and I continue to love the low-budget, DIY, band-of-brothers environment that LaMartina and George instill on set.

Production BTS from in-production LaMartina/George film.
Production BTS from in-production LaMartina/George film.

It’s hard to say that I wish I had more free time to post content because that would take away from actually making content. All I can plan for is to try and find a balance in the coming months 🙂

“Be well, do good work, and stay in touch!” – Garrison Keillor