One of my favorite authors, the incomparable Ray Bradbury, once said, “Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. Imagination should be the center of your life.”
For the better part of 25 years, I have been doing just that – following my dreams and loving what I do. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been more obstacles than I care to count, but the ultimate goal has never wavered. Create. Enrich the lives of those around me. Be the beauty I want to see in the world. Ignore the naysayers and zealously feebleminded. That last part is very important.
This year really has been no exception. In fact, I’d even venture a little further out onto the ice to say, despite an overabundance of the aforementioned killjoys, this has been one of the most productive and, thus, exceptional years in recent memory. In honor of that most auspicious of occasions – positive end-of-the-year reflection – I’m going to do something completely against character. The haters will just have to… you know… get over it…
What follows are a chronological list of my accomplishments in 2015, told through pictures and other visual mediums:
January kicked off in grand style when longtime friend and musician Venus de Mars, along with wife and poet Lynette Reini-Grandell, gave a house concert from our living room that was broadcast worldwide via the internet.
Already off to a great start, January just got better when I became an official Incognito Witch by modeling long distance for my painter friend Mollie Kellogg.
In February, several months of planning came to fruition when I helped PRC Productions launch their first feature film, Truth, with a splashy premiere at the Rio Grande Theatre, followed by sold out shows in Silver City and screenings in Albuquerque and Santa Fe later in the year.
In March I returned to the stage as an actor with a small part in Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse at BBT, under the masterful direction of Algernon D’Ammassa. One of the best acting experiences I’ve ever had.
March also saw the return of my 20-year-old short play The Real Thane, which was restaged in the annual One-Act Play Festival held at Las Cruces Community Theater. It ran simultaneously with the closing weekend of The Hothouse, down the street, which still tickles me to this day.
In early April, I was asked to help create another music video for award-winning musician and close friend Randy Granger. We braved extreme winds and blowing grit, but had a lot of fun. One of the very reasons I like working with Randy.
In July, my editing skills were put to the test in a big way when I was asked by my friend and frequent collaborator Autumn Gieb to use my editing skills to bring her short grindhouse homage Nunja to life.
Also in July, I teamed up with Troy Scoughton Sr. and Troy Scoughton Jr. at PRC Productions to launch Borderlands Media, beginning what is proving to be a very successful venture, not only for me and my partners, but for the local independent film industry, as well.
In August, I again collaborated with Autumn to bring a casted reading of her delightful stageplay Backstage to the Write On! Festival at the Black Box Theater with a dream cast of exceptional talents. Our hope is to get it staged in the near future. Maybe 2016?
During the summer, I was asked to create a documentary for the Rio Grande Theatre’s 10th anniversary shindig, taking place in September, which resulted in another collaboration with PRC Productions. Still love that old theater, despite the knuckleheads in charge.
In December, having wrapped up much of the freelance marketing work I’d taken on for the year, I threw myself into filmmaking, first by taking a guest role in a student production by CMI student Jesse Walden and my frequent DP Kent Harkey, titled Bone Spur. It was a small role, but meaty, and if the film is ever released (it IS a student film, after all), will make a nice addition to my “reel.” If I had a reel…
One week after shooting Bone Spur, and again with the help of PRC Productions, we shot and edited my first short film in two and a half years, Perfect. Currently there are plans to enter it into the Las Cruces International Film Festival and use it as the cornerstone for a new anthology series produced by Borderlands Media. 2016 is shaping up to be a pretty great year!
Most of these moments have been documented right here in this blog. There were a lot more wonderful moments in 2015 that I didn’t include above, mainly because they were of a more personal nature. From two visits by my long absent son, Gideon, to return trips to The Mimbres, Taos, Santa Fe and Denver and the launching of my author’s website, it definitely had its high points. There were a few low points, too, including an ugly brouhaha over “honest” theater reviews and a temporary derailment of my continued film advocacy by selfish and wholly unexpected sources, but what would a great year be without those reasons to be thankful for the good things?
Overall, I’m just so very pleased to be ending the year on a high note. I’d even go so far as to say I’m surprised to find it ending on a much higher note than it started and that was a pretty impressive bar to match, much less surpass. All of which goes to show that it isn’t money or fame that breeds happiness in my world. I truly love what I do and, thus, my resolutions are manageable. With luck 2016 will bring with it less financial worry, but more than that, continued success in promotion and advancement of the film industry in southern New Mexico. Who knows, I may even try to get a few more short stories published, for old time’s sake.
Any way you look at it, my wish is true, not just for me, but also for you. May 2016 be every bit as wonderful as 2015 was, may we all learn to appreciate the necessary bumps along the way and may you all love what you do and do what you love. Consider this an end of the year sentiment – for friends, family and, yes, even those haters skulking in the background – from Mr. Bradbury and me.