I have much to be thankful for this year, but instead of going on about who or what I’m thankful for, I want to extend a proposal to you. Ignoring the fact that this is about Christmas for a moment, “Thankful Heart” from A Muppet Christmas Carol is the most beautiful song about the act of thanksgiving ever recorded. Michael Caine’s “dulcet” (this is his first time singing on camera) tones epitomize the joy of brotherly love and grateful expression perfectly.
Like Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” itself, the song is universal regardless of time of year or religion – thanks to Muppet composer Paul Williams’ lyrics. I always play this song on loop starting right about now through to the New Year to remind myself how beautiful life is when viewed through a thankful heart. Please give it a watch, a careful listen, and consider the message that Dickens first wrote about and Williams wants you to take away.
“Life is like a journey
Who knows when it ends?
If you need to know
The measure of a man
You simply count his friends”
Hey! I have an insane wealth of awesome production updates! Ingress, a film by a lot of old friends from Towson and which I Key PA’d on, will be having its world premiere at the Alexandria Film Festival on November 9th. Tyler Davis, our director, will be in attendance for Q&A. See the trailer below:
A few weeks back, a lot of the same crew from Ingress worked on a music video for our steadicam operator, Paul Hutson’s collaborative music project “Bond St. District.” I worked as a Grip with an awesome G&E department of badass ladies. We shot tons of vignettes of Baltimore City over the course of a weekend, goofing off, hanging out with friends we hadn’t seen in a while and GETTING STUFF DONE.
I’m really proud of the video and am excited to see where it will take the musicians, DDm and Paul Hutson’s “Bond St. District” collaboration. The band’s EP, “Everybody’s So Sleepy,” manages to be a mashup of hip-hop, motown, and electronica. It’s awesome. Check the video out below, as well as the links to the coverage the music video is getting, including from Baltimore’s City Paper!
Next, I worked on a series of United States Postal Service safety videos where we gripped trucks with camera mounts and crashed them. It was everything one could possibly imagine a shoot like this would be. The crew I worked with was super cool and I learned a ton from the expertise of my IATSE department heads.
Then, our continuously bizarre production team for the Frederick 72 Hour Film Festival, Stepdad Productions, produced a ridiculous film about… well… you’ll see. I’ve worked with this team for three years now and I’ve been involved with the 72 Festival for five years total. This year’s criteria was Movie Mashups and we received Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (the Costner version) and Forrest Gump. When you watch our film, you’ll notice that we very loosely interpreted the criteria:
I rarely act in roles, but when I know that nothing I do as a poor actor will truly affect the audiences perception of the film, I sink my teeth in. What I mean to say is that if I can ham it up and just be ridiculous, and the poor acting actually becomes a character element, I get super stoked. This role has that in spades. We were selected by the audience to move on to the second night of screenings, and I can confidently say that we got some of the biggest laughs of both nights.
Oh. I also got a full-time job at Serious Grip and Electric, the coolest production rental house on the planet. Not only am I working full-time in a position that is actually relevant to my college major and I am gaining essential knowledge for my career goals, but I’m working with the world’s best group of co-workers.
John Vallon, a talented camera operator in the Baltimore-D.C. area, stopped into the shop one day to test out a new robotic camera mount and shot this video for us, a remake of Scrub’s opening scene:
Then, on Halloween, we broke our backs to grip the next week’s truck packages so that we could shoot this Halloween postcard. Stuff like this is just part of the normal ebb and flow of working at Serious. We work hard, we play hard, we love our jobs and we love one another. I am excited by the notion of being excited to go to work every morning.
The last two months of my life have literally been some of the most fun I’ve ever had and I credit all of that to the blessings that life, friends, family, coworkers, and random strangers have thrown my way. I can point to so many moments as being particularly awesome, but in other respects, it’s all been one awesome blur.
I don’t normally post selfies, but I take them. Everyone does. Admit it to yourself.
In the Spring of this year, I was dealing with some junk. It was the hardest semester of my life in relation to my schoolwork, I was having to abandon friends and social events to focus on what I needed to graduate, I was holding down two part time jobs to pay rent… the list goes on and on. I took a picture when I was at the LOWEST of the low, one of those real Dark Night of the Soul type of nights – filled with introspection and self-loathing. That picture is on the left.
On the right is a picture a friend took of me two weeks ago on set. Not particularly proud of it, but I think it exhibits a marked change in expression and what someone might feasibly describe as something akin to joy.
I know that as soon as Christmas time rolls around, I’ll be a constantly grinning mess. The lessons I’ve learned from A Muppet Christmas Carol are to share the joys of love and friendship in all you do, so soon enough, I’ll be watching Michael Caine’s oscar-deserving performance on loop and just going crazy with good-will-vibes towards all. I highly recommend it; there is no drug better.
Thank you so much for reading this and for supporting my work and the works of my friends! I hope something here has brought you the same feelings of optimism I feel and that this joy can be infectious. Best to you, my friend!