Merry Christmas (Twenty-Fifteen)

Merry Christmas y’all!!

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Can we just pause for a moment here so I can lament on how absolutely surreal and crazy it is that it’s already December—correction, the end of December? It’s unreal. I don’t know where the time goes, I really don’t. Add to that, the fact that we’re quite literally on the very cusp of a brand new year—2016—well that just makes it all the more surreal. Seriously people…where did the year go…??

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And to think that this time last year, I was in the midst of packing my things in preparation for my big move down to Nashville. I can’t believe an entire year has passed since then.

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But it has. And it’s been one hell of a whirlwind of a year, that’s for sure. I’m not going to lie–I had my doubts about moving 900 miles away from literally everyone and everything I’d ever known and starting over in a brand new city completely on my own—I did. Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it. I’d given myself a few weeks—a month or two, tops—before I went running back to New York, tail between my legs, so to speak. I expected the glitter and excitement of being in a new place to wear off. And that I’d grow weary of city-life and having to sit in rush hour traffic for almost an hour just to get my daily caffeine fix (**because I’ve GOT to have my iced coffee and the DD on Fesslers Lane makes THE best iced coffee in town–and also happens to be the only 24 hour joint around for miles**). I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in or make any friends—the real, honest-to-goodness kind like some of the ones I’d left behind in New York. But more than anything, I was afraid of failing—that I’d be given this incredible opportunity—heck, that I’d worked like hell for and earned—to go to such a wonderful city and I’d just somehow screw it up like I’d done with most every other good thing in my life up to that point. That was my biggest fear. And if we’re being completely honest, sometimes it still is, just a little.

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Suffice to say—AND THANKFULLY, I MIGHT ADD—all that worry (or most of anyhow) was for naught. I’d already fallen in love with the city when I’d previously visited in April to tour Watkins—it’s such a beautiful place, how could I not—but I think I fell in love all over again once I hit those city limit signs. As fate would have it, just as I hit the city, the song “Home” by Daughtry came on the radio—ohhh, I kid you not—and it was the best damn sign I could have been given right then. It couldn’t have been clearer in telling me that I’d made the right choice and that Nashville was right where I was supposed to be. As crazy as it sounds, it really did feel like I was home. And now here we are–here I am–a year later, and that feeling hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s only gotten stronger.

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As guilty as I feel to admit it, I’ve never been happier. I’ve made friendships that I’m confident will last for years to come, and I’m beyond grateful for that. In a sense, they’ve become my sort-of stand-in family…and while they can’t replace my actual family, it helps knowing they’re there if need be. I met a sweet, kind, and probably the most understanding man to ever walk this earth–especially to put up with this distance the past few months with me here in NY and him back home in TN. I’m just beyond anxious to head back and be home–and moreover, to see everyone.

**

I’ve been given so many incredible opportunities that I never would have even imagined in New York. This whole Hollywood and movie-making business—never in a million years did I imagine being a part of that whole world. Heck, even if you’d told me last year that I’d be here…I probably would have laughed in your face. It’s just so…not ME. Or at least it wasn’t, I should say. I guess I have fate to thank for all of this—for putting myself and my friend Alan in the same 2-D class. After all, that’s how and where it all began—the two of us becoming fast friends, bonding over our shared dislike of the Professor-from-HELL and all but a few select classmates in the class. To recap from there, he’d written a screen-play and was planning to make his first film. Knowing I was a photographer, he asked me to take some BTS pics of the auditions. It was just for fun. Nothing special.

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From that point to where it stands now…it’s all pretty much a blur. Now I have contacts and credits in the film industry that I never expected to have—and still can’t believe I have. I’ve been on an actual film set and have seen just what goes into the making of a film…and I now have the utmost respect for the actors and actresses out there that do it for a living. It’s not exactly an easy job, despite how it looks from the outside. And the days are long. I was the set photographer, so I was there for the whole of it—and there’s a lot of waiting. It takes a lot of patience. A LOT OF PATIENCE. What came most unexpected to me is how much I’ve actually liked what I’ve done. I didn’t think I would. I mean, granted, there’s some parts that I really don’t like. For instance—the diva-bitch actresses who think they’re–as my friend Alan would say, “The Meryl Streep(s) of Nashville”— and as such, are in desperate need of a hearty dose of “reality check”. There’s a lot of conniving and underhandedness, too…but I think you’ll find that with anything. For the most part, though, I’ve enjoyed the experience. Word on my freelancing is spreading and I’m getting offers for sessions and websites left and right—it’s all kind of crazy. A good crazy.

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Of course, there’s the not so great misfortune that’s come with this year as well. The little hiccup in June with the accident and the damn concussion that has really done a number on me, in more ways than one. It’s unreal how your whole life can change in a split-second…and it did exactly that. It’s like someone pressed the pause button on my life that day and it’s only just recently begun playing again. I don’t have my life back, not completely. I’m trying to get back to it, slowly. It’s hard when you’re still trying to wade through the pain of a pounding headache day in and day out. I have all these damn meds—seriously, there are 6 different pills—that I’m supposed to be taking every day. They’re supposed to help with the headaches. They barely even touch the surface most of the time. And I hate taking them because they make me really loopy—you know, that whole out-of-body, noodles for limbs—kind of feeling. That’s no fun on its own, let alone when you’ve got a splitting headache to boot. So I’m trying to work through the pain. It’s a process. And it sucks. But really, what else can I do…

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All in all, I’ve come so far this year…further than I thought I’d be. And a great year it’s been. Headache and stressors aside, I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings…

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And on that note…a little Happy Holidays from the two–and my absolute favorite–(little) leading men in my life… (**You’ll have to excuse the Jake cranky-face–the little guy was in no mood for pictures or presents…but even sporting a pout, he’s still a little cutie pie!**)

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(**Oh, and did I mention, these little cuties just celebrated a birthday a couple of weeks ago…TWO already! How is that even possible? It feels like it was just yesterday when it was just the three of us all day, everyday…when my nerves were shot from weeks of sleep training and episodes of Dinosaur Train and Daniel Tiger on repeat (*I still know the theme songs to both by heart btw*)…and every smile or smallest feat was cause for an impromptu photo-shoot. Now my Twinnies are turning into little men and I just want to scoop them up and never let them go and just make them stop growing. 😦 **)

**

xoMESSIE

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Film Life : Green-Lit.

Had an eventful day today. We launched/premiered the film online today…so “3 Blind Boys On The Block” is officially LIVE. Having said that, I’d love love looooveee it if y’all would take a minute (*well 20 minutes, to be exact) to check it out and share it with whomever you know.

Here’s the link : “3 Blind Boys On The Block” – A Short Film.

I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. And that’s not the bias talking because of my involvement with the film or me trying to whore-it out either. I really do mean it. It’s a great film that has such an incredible message to share about racism and identity and what it means to be an African-American man or woman in American society today. It’s so great that it just won the coveted Best of Fest award at our Chicago premiere a couple of weeks ago, in fact. It’s raw and it’s powerful and it gives a new voice to the #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatterMovement ‘s that are so actively prevalent in today’s world, particularly with all the violence and brutality and racial tension that’s made the air so thick you could almost cut through it with a knife.

Personally, I don’t see why we have to disassociate ourselves in the first place. I mean, why do we have to separate ourselves by the color of our skin? It’s JUST skin. Does it really matter what color it is? I mean, inside we’re all the same. We all bleed the same RED blood…so why does it matter? It doesn’t. It shouldn’t. And yes, it does. Even now, after all these years…after we fought so hard for our civil liberties and equal rights…and we still have those people being mistreated and brutalized and killed because of the amount of pigment they have or do not have in their skin. And it’s fucking ridiculous–pardon my language. And it’s not just white people against the blacks either. There are plenty of black people that are just as bigoted and mean-spirited and racist as your average Klan member. Prejudice is everywhere. And it’s not something that’s inherited. It’s taught. It’s learned. It’s that little white boy at the park who just wants to play in the sandbox with the other little boy but his Mommy tells him he can’t because that little boy is black–which essentially translates to: “that boy’s “Teen Mom” is probably a high-school dropout living on welfare to support the two of them because the boy’s father is likely either locked up, dead, or just your typical dead-beat that chose not to be in the picture. When you’ve had those kind of stereotypes drilled into you for so long–and especially starting at such a young, impressionable age–it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a creed of your own and a belief that you share as well. Even though it’s hateful. Even though it’s wrong. It’s what you’ve been told. It’s all you know.

That has to change. Parents need to start teaching their children to love and accept and treat one another the same–regardless of their differences–and teach them to look beneath the surface and further in to see what’s really there–and what truly matters…to recognize that we’re all human and that we’re capable of being so much better than we are. Of being so much more.

I can’t express how truly grateful and proud I am to have been given this opportunity and to have worked alongside such an incredible group of people on such a beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking project. I’m so proud of my friend Alan and I’m literally just in awe of his talent. He’s destined for greatness and I have the honor of calling him a friend and experiencing this all with him. It’s exciting and amazing and overwhelming…but in a good way.

Speaking of good things…we also got green-lit for our feature film version of this film that we just finished…which is pretty flippin’ awesome!! Pre-production has already begun and we should begin production early Spring 2016. I can’t wait! It’s going to be a crazy, busy time. Alan’s going to be heading off to San Francisco for a film program in February, so it looks like it’ll be Matt–the other producer–and I running things with the Production company from headquarters  in Nashville in Alan’s stead. Did I say it was going to CRAZY!?

And to think…I was only supposed to take some background pictures of the auditions. Now, here I am talking production lingo and business-y like things and making conference calls and evaluating interns and building websites…the list goes on and on… it’s absolutely CRAZY.

But I love it.

xoMESSIE

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