Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why I'm Continuing To Write In Stream-Of-Consciousness

If you want to read this, you can, it's not exactly private information. I don't have much private information, maybe my social security number, my credit card numbers and my bank statements, but other than that, my life is an open book. I want it to be that way. I'm writing here lately less for you, than simply for me to get back in the swing of writing. As I've said before, many times, I consider myself a writer before anything else. Before a cinematographer, before a director, I am a writer. But in my absence from this blog (as well as screenplays, journaling, short-stories), I've gotten out of practice.

I made a decision a few weeks back, nearly coinciding with new years, 2011, although, by no means a New Years resolution, to start nurturing my love of movies, music and literature. Since then, I've spent about 2 hours each day watching movies and catching up on documentaries and about the same amount of time reading. I haven't yet picked up the guitar again, but that will be happening soon as well (the tips of my fingers ache thinking about it). I've gone through these phases while I've aged, I keep thinking, "I've passed my prime." It's been happening since I was 15. I thought that by not running cross-country my sophomore and junior year of high-school that my career as a runner was over. Then, I tried out for the team my senior year and ran the fastest 5k of my life. I have a hard time convincing myself that I'm young. I always think I want to be older, wiser, more mature, more established and then I get incredibly nostalgic for my youth. I've heard my grandfather say on many occasions, "Anton, I'm rich enough to have what only the young can enjoy." I desperately want to squeeze all of the enjoyment out of every moment of my life, from now until I die. When I sleep, I want to sleep long and deep. When I laugh, I want to laugh hard. When I run, I want to run fast. And on and on.

I was thinking the other day, what if, at a certain age in my youth, I set out to learn skills that would make me an incredible spy. What if I spent a year in Spain learning Spanish, a year in Russia learning Russian and a year in China, learning a dialect of Chinese? What if I learned Krav Maga, how to pilot a plane and fly a helicopter? What if I altered my looks and worked out until I was chiseled and great looking? I think that by 27, the age I am now, I could have mastered these things, even if I didn't start my quest until after college. I would be James Bond. I would be Indiana Jones. And then what? I would still be subject to age, disease and chance. I would still get old and die. This is the direction my thoughts always go. They crescendo and then they hit the reality of being human.

You and I are going to die.

Not only are we going to die, but we only have a certain window of youth and maturity, in which to really accomplish anything great. So what is there? There is family. If I were to get married sometime soon and have children rather quickly, around age fifty, I'd be sending my children out into the world so that hopefully, they would be able to make their own incomes and eventually take care of me as I become elderly. They might have children of their own and then as a grandfather, I could look out upon my legacy and have great pride for the generations that God had raised through me. And really, I don't think it gets any better. Human populations are growing and the earth's resources are getting used up. Our bodies evolved to live on earth, not any other planet, so this globe is all we have. To live a good life, it takes an incredible amount of foresight and responsibility. That, and often, common grace (the idea that God lets us keep living, even though we're selfish and don't necessarily deserve it). So as I'm still relatively young, I'm going to keep pondering these questions and continue in my quest to live a humble, good life.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Preview To A Bolivia Post

For two weeks in January of 2011, I was in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, shooting a documentary about a Christian chiropractor, who provides free care to orphans and poor people. I'm not quite ready to write a whole post about the experience, but here are some photos as a preview:

Continuation Of An Update - 29 January 2011

I'm on a roll, so I'm just going to keep going. Writing is funny that way, I guess it's the same with all kinds of different brain exercises, chess, crosswords - they all get out of shape without practice. And I'm definitely out of shape as a writer. I don't know if I've shared this in such plain text here before, but my greatest ambition in life is to be a great writer. Not an intermediate, sometimes, slightly qualified, once published writer, but a GREAT writer. I want to write novels. And I'm not without material. I have indeed written many short stories, some of which I've "published" here. I mean really, what could be better, than in the twilight of one's years, to be sitting at a big desk, typing away, lost in one's own thoughts, creating worlds. There is no time when I'm at peace the way I am when I am writing out a story. But at the same time, it's hard for me to actually sit down and bring a piece to completion. Owen Wilson described writing the screenplay for Rushmore to "sweating blood." He kind of stole that from Jesus, but it's a fitting analogy. Characterization is hard and takes a great deal of concentration. It's certainly much easier to sit down, as I'm doing now, and to write stream-of-consciousness, whatever comes to mind.

I like this blog because it is an easily accessible compendium of my adult life. I sometimes wish I had written it even more of a personal journal, although that is not what anyone wants to read in the moment (not that I have a lot of readers, pouring over this site for entertainment). It would just be nice to be able to hop on any computer anywhere and access a memory from a time gone by. And for that reason, I'm going to start posting more of the photos I take nearly every day on my phone. I have two years of nearly daily photos that really tell the story of where I've been. So those will start appearing soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where We Are, Where We Came From

There was no struggle in naming my business. I started this blog six years ago and just kept writing here, at first, never stating my last name - and then one day, I just decided to put my full name in my bio, thus, allowing a Google search of my name to locate my blog. After I made a video for The Richards Group advertising agency as a solo director, they Googled my name, found this site and they linked to my blog as my company website, thus driving traffic to it from important people all over the advertising world.

So I went and registered the name Deliberate Industries as an L.L.C. and that is the name I worked under for all of 2010. Coincidentally, I've had my best year ever, as an employee of Deliberate Industries. The problem with my blog sharing the same name as my business, is what was once just a personal space to nearly anonymously share my thoughts, this simple website is now the landing page for my professional career as a filmmaker. For the last year I've been very hesitant to share anything very personal, the way I used to, even going so far as to create a secondary, private Twitter account for myself, which clients are strictly banned from viewing. I like to work with individuals whom I have a relationship with, old-fashioned, trusting and friendly. I work hard for my clients. When I say that I'm going to do a project, I do it and I do it by the deadline set forth. Last year I pulled as many all-nighters as I did in college, finishing, exporting and uploading videos so that they'd be viewable by my clients first thing when they arrived at the office in the morning. In return, I've built some really important and meaningful relationships and gotten opportunities to do really fun and inspiring video projects. A few times, the people who've hired me haven't lived up to the bargain themselves, sometimes paying way later than what we agreed upon (this was a rare occurrence in 2010) - it's something that just baffles me. For the first time, over the last year, I hired crew to help shoot the videos I was hired to make. I almost always pay up front, and if I ask the crew to invoice for the job, I make sure before taking on the project that there is enough cash in the company account to pay everyone, even in the event that the client defaults on payment. I refuse to grow bitter even when I've had a couple bad experiences working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. I'm going to continue to work with the same level of integrity that I expect from everyone else.

The really hard thing about running a business is that it's affected the way I carry myself online. I used to video blog, write stories and jot down my emotions in blog format. Now I feel like everything I post online needs to pertain to my career as a filmmaker, or make me look smart, or link to something that is educational and shows that I am relevant.

I'm sick of being so guarded.

The reason I started writing this post tonight, at two in the morning, is to say that last month I ended an 18 month relationship. I'm kind of sad about it. On one hand, we both have peace about breaking up and that is a rare thing and a good thing. On the other hand, we spent 18 months getting to know each other, hoping for a future together and now we can barely be friends. Being single affords me some luxuries that people in committed relationships don't have, for example, traveling the world on a whim, which I do regulary. There is nobody at home missing me. There are no children missing their father. I'd actually much rather be married by now, but I'm not married, not because I'm defective or because I missed some opportunity, I'm just not married yet. I choose to see the positive and I'm making the most out of where I am in life. Some could say that the constant world-travel doesn't exactly lend itself to the opportunity to meet someone to be committed to, but I don't believe it works that way. God made me a certain way, adventurous, disarming, even possibly charming, I'm using those qualities now, to get the most value out of where the circumstances of my life have brought me. And that place is directing videos, writing stories, making connections around the world and serving people in need. I don't have a lot of money saved or invested and I'm not even bringing in a lot of money in income at the moment, but I have a feeling that is going to change and I'm not anxious for it. I like where I am. I like the freedom of not having possessions and not having the responsibility of maintenance.

This update is necessary because I've been holding in details about who I am in the hopes that new clients would think I'm bigger than I am, but I've realized recently that my power is not in an office, not in the ownership of equipment, but in the training I've received and the way I'm executing my ability as a filmmaker, story-teller and director. I now have a solid reel of cinematography work, editing work, pieces that I have directed and even a finished narrative film. I always knew those things existed inside of me but my own belief in myself really doesn't matter to anyone else, not to someone who is going to hire me to complete a job, what matters to them most is the trust that is created in the relationship we have, my tangible history of completed production and the plan I've created and shared with them to complete their project. Where I am and what I have do not matter. What matters is that I'm honest, that I have integrity and that I continue to produce content with consistency. I can say whatever I want here, even if it comes from a place of vulnerability, because no matter what anyone thinks of me personally, my work speaks for itself.

This entire diatribe was written for me to say two things: I'm eager for the future and I'm happy now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recurrent Insomnia

At some point in my adolescence I started staying up way too late. I don't think by nature I'm nocturnal, but I've trained myself to be this way. I'd much rather go to bed between 9pm and 11pm and wake up between 5:30am and 7:30am, but my habits lean more towards 2am-10am (it's almost 2:30am as I write this). I do the same loop on the internet: Check my email, check my Twitter replies, check my Facebook Newsfeed - it's unhealthy. And I suddenly realized tonight that for a year or two, I filled this time by writing. I'm desperate to bring that back.

Tonight, while I was sitting in the darkness of the Angelika movie theater in Dallas, actually seeing a film with my brother and sister, a rare pleasure, I was struck by how much I love independent cinema and how little I've nurtured that love in the last two years. So two things that I'm going to start making more regular in my life are attending cinema and writing words and stories. It's much healthier to express my thoughts this way when I have a lot on my mind, rather than to sit and stew and do everything possible not to face my fears and frustrations. Also, I'd like to go to bed earlier. I've said that for a long time, and I can't do anything about it tonight, but it's something I really want and I have complete control over it, so goodnight. As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Stuck In The Middle" Cover by GRO

Here is the latest music video that I shot and edited for Green River Ordinance. It's the third in a series of 6 cover songs recorded by GRO that I shot in Dallas, while GRO recorded an EP of covers available for purchase on 03/01/11.

Living With Missionaries In Bolivia

Staying with long-term missionaries while I'm here in Bolivia for two weeks is really opening my mind to a life-style/life that I didn't really understand, or even know existed. Some of these people have been in the mission field 8, 10, 16 years. Their kids weren't born in the United States, but have American passports, most of them with duel citizenship. They grow up being told they are Americans but for the most part they don't fully even understand American culture or have any allegiance at all to the far away "United States." It's really changing my idea of home, of being American and of "Christians'" place in the world.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Bolivia

I've been in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for 5 days, staying with missionaries, living in their nice little house, down a dusty, dirty lane, behind an iron gate with a padlock and spikes on top. Santa Cruz is the biggest city in Bolivia, in the lowlands, with about 2 million people living in a dense urban area. I have been shooting video every day here, but I haven't been taking many pictures. I'm shooting a documentary about my cousin, a Christian chiropractor and missionary here. That's the focus of my stay and we've both been working hard. In the coming days, once I get a little more footage in the can, we will enjoy some more cultural, possibly even touristy experiences. I just really needed to write and update, since so many generous people donated money to have this documentary made and to get me here. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I Launched The Documentary On Kickstarter

I did the majority of fundraising through Christian Chiropractors Association, but I want to extend the opportunity for the independent film community to be involved as well (or anyone who likes supporting independent projects). As I've written before, I'm headed to Bolivia for two weeks to shoot a documentary about my cousin, a chiropractor and Christian missionary, giving free chiropractic care to the poor in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The final film will simply be launched for free online and available to anyone who would like to see it.

Please go to my Kickstarter page: if you would like to contribute. Even five dollars helps!

P.S. I thought Santa Cruz, might be a small town - turns out it's the BIGGEST city in Bolivia, with nearly 2 million people (wiki).

Monday, January 03, 2011

Update: Bolivia, Pediatric Chiropractic Documentary - Bare "Bones" Schedule

My cousin sent me the following schedule for my first week in Bolivia:

Friday (January 7th) - El Ebenezer (15 boys with physical and mental disabilities)
Saturday (January 8th) - Megumi girls (16 girls "orphaned")
Sunday (January 9th) - Church :)
Monday (January 10th) - Mission of Hope hospital/ Mi Rancho (street girls)/ Los Patitos (day care)
Tuesday (January 11th) - Posa Verda (Tribal tour)
Wednesday (January 12th) - Cristo Viene girls (24 girls abused) Mission Prayer meeting
Thursday (January 13th) - Cristo Viene boys(31 boys abandoned/ Nacer 50 (street boys)
Friday (January 14th) - Mi Familia (daycare)/ el Alfarero (8 street girls)

It's intense, exciting and perfect! And that's only week one!