Glorious day outside. It's probably in the low- to mid-50's, the sun is
out, and the air is clear. I got a call on my cell during lunch and went
outside to take the call, and now I feel a little high. And no, I wasn't
toking up in the car, it's just feeling like spring, and talking about
I'm homesick. Yarr.
I want to be chasing pretty girls through amber waves of tall grasses,
laughing and frolicking in the warm spring sun. I want to be outside in
a hammock drinking a cold beer and watching my dog play in the pool. I
want to be free from worries about money and jobs and fixing the house,
and be able to have some leisure time without feeling guilty.
Something that just occurred to me is a little bit of superstition on my
part: whenever I have a moment of joy or things are going really well, I
"send" a little bit of that joy into the future for times that I really
need it. And there are times when I've been really down that a brief
moment of joy has come upon me like a remembered scent. This particular
feeling is familiar, and I think I actually remember when I sent it
It was almost twenty years ago now. I was in love with a beautiful
woman, I was in college, I was more than a little high, and things were
really, really good. I remember the moment where I decided to send some
of this sense of glowing happiness into the future just in case I might
need it sometime. No particular sense of when or where, just that it
might be available when I needed it.
So yeah, a whole physically different feeling, a whole-body memory. I
was a different color then, a different flavor, different shape, yet
I need more windows.
It was during this time that the original idea behind the making of
movies was born. Fledgeling ideas, simple and a little incoherent, born
of creativity and freedom rather than desperation and angst. It was just
a double handful of months later that I started photography in earnest,
doing my first crude modeling shots in my bedroom in the apartment. And
they were pretty good. And I experimented, and had a few scantily-clad
women that I got to hang around with, and I got better.
Jump ahead a few years to the house in Minneapolis, myself, Barb, and
cajones coming across the now-infamous bouncing baby on
cable access and realizing that we could be more entertaining just
sitting on the couch... And me with a little video camera from work, and
we had the idea. Chris and I sitting on a couch, watching TV from the
perspective of the television. Completely silent. And it was funny.
Funnier than it had any right to be.
Shortly after that, Barb and I joined MTN, the cable-access membership
association. We had to take production classes, which my work ended up
paying for (at least for me), and where we created "Airhead", which was
both brilliant and amateurish. I don't know if it ever aired, but it was
the first attempt, and it was apparent that there was something there,
buried in the muck.
The next attempt was the "Dwight & Kathy Show" (Starring Marshall
Hogenson), which ended up being a single episode that spoofed fishing
shows. Submitted to MTN, and they loved it and played it to death. And
people actually recognized me from that, along with Dave Wilen who did
the music. Still some technical faults, experimentation with lights and
not knowing what the hell I was doing with the editing software, but fun
Marshall and I also did a brief industrial bit for Spec-Mix that cajones did some quick storyboards for. It was cute and fun.
We ended up going into business together as "Success Stories LP", and we
put together a sales training video titled "Partners, not Customers". We
shot almost the entire thing in the converted upstairs of the house,
turned into a makeshift studio. We built sets for several different
office locations, loaded them with rented office furniture and artwork,
and completed the video. Our total budget (not including the equipment)
was just over $2000.00. We needed to sell 86 copies of the video to
break even on everything including the equipment.
We sold five.
Well, that sucked.
Serendipity ensued with a windfall from a late-night advance project
that I did for a company that was bidding for a project. I gambled about
6 months of night work, and it paid off with enough money to buy out of
the partnership, so suddenly I was in sole posession of professional
The rest is history. Well technically, so is this.
Interspersed in this whole time period I did the occasional work in
commercials and movies, both cast and crew roles. Nothing of any
substance, though I did get a national Quizno's commercial and got my
7.5 seconds of screen time.
I think the real breakthrough came for me with the Dead Zone
commercials. My first gig as producer-writer-director, and they came
out... Well, perhaps not flawlessly, but close enough to count. I got
the shots I wanted and then some, the lighting and set design was
spot-on, and there was quite a stir made from the skeleton morphing into
Paul. It was cool. Still is. From that point on, pretty much everything
has been golden, at least as far as lighting design, with a few
exceptions. And there is more to come.
Right now is crunch time. There is a lot of stuff happening all at once,
some of it is of my own choosing. Aside from all the preproduction
stuff, I'm building a bunch of equipment, researching equipment for a
different project, and planning a move back home. I probably need to
take a bunch of crap back with me this weekend; Lord knows I need more
crap in my house. Work is in crunch time too.
It's a time of endings and new beginnings. A time of change, of
Your lucky numbers are 7, 13 and 212.