Seems the only time I ever update this blog is when the new year rolls around, huh? Well, it’s better than nothing, I suppose.
2015 was good. And bad. And good. And weird and strange and surreal. But mostly good.
This was the year I really got my start in the Portland film industry. I learned so much about directing and producing, about writing and filmmaking and creativity in general. I had to make some difficult decisions and came to realize how hard it is to be a leader. I met so many amazing people—literally some of my favorite people now, and it’s so weird to think that I didn’t know them (or barely knew them) this time last year—who I’ve worked on so many amazing projects with. I’m proud of them, and of myself, and of everything we’ve accomplished together.
2015: A Year in Review
Milestones and Accomplishments
- Produced and released all of The Misselthwaite Archives, which, with 40 episodes, ended up being longer than a feature-length film.
- People wrote fan fiction about my characters, which has literally been one of my life goals since I was like twelve.
- We also ran a successful $8K crowdfunding campaign for the project.
- Our lead actress, Sophie Giberson, was nominated for a friggin’ Oregon Actor’s Award.
- One of my favorite directors and biggest inspirations, Yulin Kuang, followed us on Twitter and subscribed to us on YouTube. It’s been like a year now and I’m still freaking out about it.
- Was hired to produce another director’s project for the first time, a comedy web series called One Bird at a Time. This one will also be feature-length once it’s all released.
- Produced and directed my first musical short, “Off-Key,” for the 48 Hour Film Project. (Also somehow managed to make it to a Fall Out Boy concert during that 48 hour period??)
- Went through the long and arduous process of buying a house with Doug. Finally wrangled one and moved in October!
- Got off food stamps after a year and was able to start paying rent again. Yay responsible adulting!
Important Moments and Firsts
- After three and a half years of engagement, Doug and I decided to call off the wedding (which we hadn’t even started planning yet). We’re still together in a long-term partner sense, but the fiancé/e label just wasn’t working for us.
- Got in my first car crash in April (a pretty bad one) and had to say goodbye to my first car. RIP, Veranda :( This was a huge setback in feeling like an adult because I couldn’t afford a new car for a while. Found one eventually, though, and learned how to drive a manual!
- My grandmother died this summer. I had a lot of complicated feelings about this, especially at the funeral, but it was nice to see my dad’s side of the family for the first time in many years.
- I got re-hired by Steve and Kate’s Camp as the Filmmaker-in-Residence, and this time the camp didn’t close before it opened. Met some great co-workers and some crazy kids, and made a lot of bizarre but hilarious videos.
- Taught a filmmaking workshop in October with I Was There, an organization the empowers veterans to tell their stories about their experiences in the military by teaching them how to make films. Definitely a life-changing experience.
- Does Star Wars count as an important moment? I feel like Star Wars counts.
Realizations and Epiphanies (and a few Reminders)
- Everything is a choice. Not choosing is a choice. The things you don’t make time for are a choice. Letting life “just happen” is a choice. Being in a place you don’t want to be in is a choice. You can always choose differently.
- Social pressure matters. Labels matter. What people think matters, even if you don’t want it to. Sometimes changing the label you use to identify yourself with is the simplest and best solution.
- Don’t give up. Sometimes that one person, or that one opportunity, or that one moment is all you need to remember what’s good about a relationship or a community or a project. You’ll find that one thing when you least expect it.
- Don’t settle for people who let you be comfortable with your mistakes. Be with people who make you want to be a better person.
- Related: It sucks, but you have to hold the people you love accountable for their actions. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friends, your family, or the school that made you who you are—if they’re supporting injustice and inequality, you have to tell them it’s not okay.
- The key to listening is asking questions.
- When people start asking you for advice, or hiring you to do things, or taking you out to coffee to “pick your brain,” you are legitimately good at things. Remember those moments when imposter syndrome kicks in.
- But also, NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING. LITERALLY NO ONE. The people you admire are faking it. The people making money are faking it. The people who are good and talented and successful are faking it. We’re all just doing the best we can in our given circumstances.
2016: Looking Ahead
Hopes and Wishes
- I finally feel like I know what I want to do with my life for the first time since I graduated college, so I want to take advantage of that. I feel like big things are coming professionally. I already have so many projects lined up that I’m excited about:
- “Your Poison,” a sexy horror succubus music video.
- “The Music of Erich Zann,” an experimental artsy Lovecraft short film.
- “As Promised,” a super personal short I wrote several years ago that I finally feel ready to direct.
- Pencil Ink’s second literary web series based on The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I want it to be even better than Misselthwaite—to accomplish more of my plans and let less slip through the cracks.
- I feel like I might actually make enough money this year that I can start saving again and have an emergency fund.
- I want to take the a bunch of the Misselthwaite team down to VidCon this year so we can meet some of our wonderful fans.
- And maybe this will finally be the year I can go on my solo road trip?
Fears and Worries
- Sophomore slump, etc. People have expectations of me and my work now, and I’m not sure I can keep living up to them (if I ever did).
- I’m probably going to burn the fuck out after every major project. I am an incapable adult at work/life balance.
- I’m worried I’ll get stuck working on other people’s projects because it’s so much easier than leading my own.
- Health insurance?? (I’m turning 26 this year.)
Resolutions and Goals
- Reconnect with old friends. Make an effort to say “happy birthday.” Don’t forget to tell people how much they matter and how much I miss them. I don’t need an excuse to talk to someone who was once important to me.
- Take better care of myself. Make time to do things I love. Cook, read, play music, play games. NOT WORK ALL THE TIME (or use work as an excuse not to do things). Also eat on a regular basis and maybe exercise?
- Read, watch, play, listen to at least five things on each of my media lists. (It doesn’t sound that hard, but Goodreads tells me I only finished two books this year. That’s unacceptable.)
- Thorough clean of the new house, get everything settled and organized (preferably early in the year.) Throw out old shit (especially clothes and paperwork).
- Finish writing my feature screenplay, sitcom pilot, and podcast/radio play.
- More personal writing. Freewrite or journal at least once a week, even if it’s just about small things. Use this blog, my writing blog, even my Tumblr. I’m afraid I’m starting to forget things because I haven’t written them down.
- Perform at the Portland Poetry Slam open mic again at least once.
- Remember photography. Take more selfies.
- Finally get that tattoo.
- Also finally start learning Irish.
Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in the morning!