Monday, September 21, 2009

Air Quality

Along with the "car payment, credit card bills, and LA-sized rent," one thing that seems to be a built-in price to pay for adult life in Los Angeles is the rapid and persistent way in which good ideas and serious talk evaporate into just so much thin, smoggy air. The ability to hook those within earshot is a commodified skill here, from nameless wannabes holding court in nightclub corners, to CEOs of billion-dollar advertising agencies. Everyone mines for attention with hyperbole-sharpened drills from time to time, yet--like bad freethrow shooters--so many people in Los Angeles remain mostly unconcerned with the follow-through.

It's easy to become victimized by this paradigm, and even easier to enlist in it. A litany of unreturned calls, lukewarm responses, disappearing acts, and interminable holding patterns seems best dealt with by dishing them out in return. I've always maintained that no one resents a cynic more than a cynic, and similarly, no one resents a flake more than a flake. Encountering someone who has had their hopes dashed as often or more as one's self is a familiarity that breeds contempt.

Yet I've discovered, over the last several months, that there is no such thing as salted earth when it comes to making good on intentions. No matter how much of your inner fire has gone up in smoke, if you're alive, you've got fuel left to burn. And while it may seem simple to some, within the deflector-shields up milieu of Hollywood, just a small dose of integrity can blast away years of built-up heartache and disappointment.

Doing what you say you are going to do, and surrounding yourself with people who do the same, is no miracle. I hesitate to even say it should be considered rare. There are plenty of people out there that make good on their intentions every day, even if their amibitions are simply to clean the house or make it to work on time. Though when the stakes are higher, and the vision is grander, there are perhaps more opportunities for integrity to be challenged, results still come down to keeping your word.

I've been privileged over the last six months to live and work with a collection of people--six fellow artists and a galaxy of local stars who lent their gifts and support--that have forever altered my perception of Los Angeles. No more do I assume that my words or the words spoken to me are weightless. From out of thin air, together we made something wonderful simply on the basis of saying we wanted to.

Breathe deep. That's fresh air.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Opening night

Sold out show & a standing ovation. God, that's a good feeling.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Side Play

I'm sure Jamey will outblog me later, but I wanted to post a little something the day of opening...

I know all of us have great aspirations. Some of us want to be starring opposite Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the next Best Picture. Some of us want to be working alongside Spielberg on the other side of the camera. There are dreams of late night talk shows, comedy clubs, art openings. And while many of these things are still off in the distance... this is it. Here and now. While it may not be on the biggest stage, each of us is right now accomplishing what we have always dreamt of accomplishing. We are doing what we love to do, surrounded by people experiencing the same, and we are going to make people in our audience laugh, cry, and stare in wonderment.

I know it's easy for people to get hung up on where they're going, and not recognize how amazing the present can be. But this is one of the most amazing presents I have ever known.

Break a leg, everyone. Let's make this a night we'll never forget.

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tech week!

Setting up the projector & the set for yet another 11pm to 3am rehearsal. Now THAT's dedication.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Energy Begets Energy

Jamey again, doing my late night musing.

I'm utterly amazed at what's been accomplished in just the last three months, let alone the last three days! It 's maybe a bit of hyperbole and a bit of arrogance to continually heap praise on what we're doing here, but dammit, I'm just thrilled to be doing what I love with such awesome people.

I was looking over my schedule for September and shaking my head at all the things happening for me this month. I'm quite certain that all of us in Side Work are looking around going "Good GOD! How do I handle all of this abundance?" (Well, maybe they all word it differently...maybe it's more like "Good GOD! How am I going to edit this by Saturday?") And that's not even counting the projects we're working on away from Side Work. I hope when Side Work 1.0 wraps, we'll all remain committed to pushing one another to keep this intense creative drive going, because what I'm witnessing here is unlike anything I've ever seen. I used to be this way in high school and college, but I usually did everything alone--and burnt myself to the ground in the process. It's so much better to have some fellow drivers ready to take the wheel when I'm feeling a bit weary. I hope I don't come off as too laissez faire. I just know our vision is in capable hands no matter who's at the helm, and that at some point each of us will need to step up and deliver everything we've got.

I can't wait for audiences to see what we've put together, yet I doubt they'll ever understand the scope of what has gone into bringing Side Work to fruition. The editing sessions, the script revisions, the countless hours spent on media and promo material, the immense focus needed in order to paint or compose or choreograph, the photo shoots, the film shoots, the memorization...

I'm tired just writing about it. Or maybe I'm tired because it's 3:30 AM. Honestly, though, wow. I'm only patting everyone on the back here so non-Side Work readers can see that it's possible--albeit challenging--to function as normal, working adults even while every extra drop of time and energy is being poured into labors of love. Lack of time just can't be an excuse for putting off your passions, unless you're an EMT or particle physicist or something.

I've always believed that energy begets energy. It's like that first day back in the gym: you drag yourself there reluctantly, accomplish half of what you intended, and stare blankly down a long road to any real results. Yet the second day is much easier, the third even easier, and by the fourth day you wonder how you ever stopped wanting to feel this good. While natural highs aren't quite so handily packaged as the pharmaceutical, fermented, or herbal ones, once you get on one, they're just as addictive.

Let's keep this high going, even out beyond September 20th. Hey, we need some Vitamin C!