Hello dear friend…I’ve missed you.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sorry I’ve been away. Life has been crazy busy. I let everything else take priority and you got pushed to the side. I feel really cruddy about that. Hopefully, someday, I can make it up to you. Let me start by feeling you in on everything that has happened since we last spoke in February of this year.

  • Our baby was born!
    • Since the birth, we’ve had some health scares with the little one. A good handful of ER visits. At least one several night stay at the hospital. But Peanut is doing good now.
  • I started a new job!
    • This job is pretty awesome but requires a lot of my time between May and August. But the rest of the year it’s pretty chill filled with team building, planning, and leadership training.
  • Surprisingly, I haven’t seen very many films this year. I think maybe two? That’ll change in the off season but besides a select handful, I think my summer blockbuster viewing will be taking a hit.
  • We’ve had a run of bad luck over the summer; our little one’s health, then our health, then the car went out, and then our basement flooded…twice! But we’ve kept our heads up, looking at the positive, and pushing through.
  • I am sooooooo close to being done with the edit of Dead Hearts! I just need a day or two to wrap things up. Yet, I can’t find the time due to the previously mentioned issues as well in addition to the time parenting and the new job takes. In a few weeks my work season slows way down and I’ll finally be able to take two days off in a week, back to back, and that’s all I’ll do.
    • Once I finish the final cut, I’m sending a copy to everyone who helped with it. I’m going to book a private screening for everyone to attend. I’m going to apply for a bunch of film festivals. I can’t wait!
  • I have a bunch of new ideas for my next film project, but before I just dive in to those I’m doing some self education. Working on learning the 3 Act structure, what rules to follow (or break), adding depth to my writing, etc. Once I have that down, I’ll feel more comfortable and confident on actually putting my ideas in a script.
  • I’m working on several podcasts with various folks that hopefully will premiere later this fall! More details to come!
  • I’m back on track with my health; I have a pretty solid routine where I do the same stuff throughout the morning and mid-day. Oatmeal w/1 tablespoon of PB, vitamins for breakfast. Apple for first snack. If I’ve been active, I’ll have an Elevation bar (from Aldi.) Lunch is a Lean Shake w/some string cheese. Afternoon is a protein bar and/or apple. Dinner is where I struggle. Sometimes I rock it, others not so much. But I had my food prep containers arrive this week so I’ve prepped several nights in a row of chicken and green beans. All I need to do is pop them in the microwave and viola! Dinner is served. I like this routine I’ve started because that means I only eat meat in the evening, for one meal. I’m trying a “reducetarian” approach to my eating (click the link for more info.)
    • I plan on including 3 days at the gym with daily walks w/the fam and dogs to help improve my overall health. I also hope to run a 5k at the end of October. I do miss those!
  • With the flooded basement, we’ve kind of kickstarted redoing our house. We were going to wait a bit but we feel now is the best time to do it, while we have the momentum (even if it was spurred on by a horrible incident.)
    • We have plans for each room, with themes for each. But before we do anything inside, we have to protect the outside. So we have to re-grade the dirt around our house, put rocks down to keep it there, pull a bunch of foliage/shrubbery from the fence, tear down the fence, put an new fence up, etc. Once we complete that we’ll move to the inside.
    • On the inside, the thing I’m most excited for…we are doing a theater room downstairs! After we’ve flood proofed it of course :D. More deets on that to come!
      • One cool thing we’ll do down there is we’ll adorn the walls w/alternative movie posters. I got a few in mind I’m gonna put up but I to do like a rotating thing where every few months I switch out the posters. If we host movie nights w/friends we’ll put up relevant posters. Lots of things we can do with them! I’ve really started to dive in to that art/design scene and the wife said we could go to MondoCon next year! Can’t wait!

That’s about it for now old friend. Don’t worry though, I’m not leaving ya. I have a feeling things are about to change. You’ll be seeing me a lot more around these parts pretty soon. See you soon!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

“Dead Hearts” shoot starts tomorrow…

And I’m excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, over-joyed, etc, etc, etc. All of the emotions one could feel before such a big day, I’m feeling’em. This short film has technically been in the works for 10 years or so now. How do I mean? Well, check this…

To Recap:

2005: While at community college (don’t knock it, I highly recommend it as a great place to get a higher ed), I watch two films for the first time: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Classics. I’m blown by how…cool each film is. The dialogue pops, the jokes hit perfectly, and the shocks are big. I was instantly in love. These two films coupled with my affection for Clerks (which I saw my sophomore year of high school) made me realize that film could be a possible career path. Well, I could at least try and make films, even if I never made it in Hollywood.

Late 2005: Still feeling the affects of those QT films, an idea popped in my head for a movie scene. Well, less an idea and more a small seed. And not really one scene but rather two. It was at first the question of “What if the roles were slightly changed for Jules, Vincent, and The Wolf?” From there, I started writing down little pieces of dialogue, snippets of visuals, etc. in my head. It was hackneyed, horribly written, formatted incorrectly, and I was writing it in a little 3×5 Mead notepad on my lunch breaks from work. But it was something.

2005-2008: That notepad followed me to my (2nd) brief tenure at KU, to Wisconsin, and to Minnesota. (Note: As a matter of fact, I believe I still have it somewhere in storage.) There are scribbles, changes, new *unrelated* ideas, and it’s all together awesome and bad. But I proceeded forward until…

Late 2008: I am promoted with the retail big box company I was currently working for. I went from being a simple hourly employee to a salaried manager. I went from working just 40 hrs per week to 60 (by my choice honestly.) I had no social life where I lived in Minnesota. Went on a few dates but nothing more. Most of my time was spent doing most of the following: A) Work B) Work from home C) video games D) watching movies at home and E) watching movies at the run down theater the small town I lived in had. It was during this time I gained a crap ton (that is an actual measurement in my opinion) of weight and started to suffer from severe depression. That little notepad I had? It just sat in a box, never being touched. I would talk about it sometimes with people, but that was it.

Mid-2010: I move to KS for work and Cuz R (who is my actual cousin and #BestFriend4Life) moved with me too. It was during our time living together that I would mention my story sometimes while also throwing other ideas back and forth every once in a while. But we were both so focused on our jobs and had no idea how to actually make a movie (at all or in the middle-of-nowhere KS) that if never became more than just talk.

Mid-2015: I know this is a 5 year jump, but not much progressed with this film during that time. However, at this time in the story, I had been talking to my wife a lot about actually making that idea from 2005 as a short film. I was working a job that had me on the road 95% of the time, I was miserable, and I was not enjoying life at all. The wife asked what would make me happy; I told her, “Honestly, getting off the road, working a part time job at a bookstore, and making my short film.” She could have been logical and rational and said “I wish you could, but we need to be able to provide for ourselves and the kids we want someday, so lets just find you a job in your field closer to home, etc.” But, that’s not how my wife rolls.

9/21/15: This day is specific for a reason: this is the day that a phone call between my wife and I would change everything. I was in St. Louis for work, having just completed an assignment, and I had seen her only a couple days over the last month. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mall I had just stopped working at and I was crying. Literally crying. So of course she is too. There’s a break in the blubber-fest and she says “Why not? Why not come home and make your movie? What is stopping you?” It was at this moment that I fell even more in love with her and also realized that the answer of what I should do was right in front of me. So I literally called my boss once I got off the phone with her and put in my 2 weeks. Was it slightly foolhardy? A little irrational? Yes, oh god yes. Yet, it was the best decision for me to make. (Spoiler Alert: Our movie shoot is taking place almost exactly 1 year from this day.)

Late 2015-2016: So after I got off the road, I started hammering away at the script. It was too long, bloated, had plot holes galore, and just wasn’t that good at all. But putting those words on the page was the most thrilling rush of excitement; it was like riding that awesome new ride at Walt Disney World for the first time again and then riding a bazillion times after that, each ride better than the last. Knowing I couldn’t do this all alone, I sought the help of some trusted confidants.

Durka: To produce and push me to make this project an actual project, rather than a crazy fever dream.

Cuz R: To help rewrite, redraft, and redevelop the film. He became the official co-writer and my partner in crime. The film went from being a silly idea by me to a true vision for both of us.

The wife: She says she only wanted to handle craft services, but she really wanted to be in show biz 🙂

9/15/16: We are less than 24 hrs before we are on set, calling action on the first shot. I have so many worries going through my head. I am bouncing back and forth between extreme confidence to utter despair. But I wouldn’t ask for anything different. The call sheets for tomorrow have been sent by the 1st AD. Follow up texts are being sent by various folks to finish prepping for tomorrow. Equipment rentals and purchases are arriving at any time today. A final walkthrough for the biggest scene (the one that started all of this) is tonight at 9 pm.

It’s all coming together. 10 years of waiting finally coming to an end. Once we wrap Saturday evening…raising a kid will be a piece of cake (Cue nervous laughter.)

Let’s break some legs!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

 

Been waiting 30 years for this…

So today is an odd day for me. I am going to be partaking in one of my favorite events with my wife for the first time (a KC Chiefs game) and have had a great weekend filled with food, board games, friends, and family. I have no complaints about anything. Except for…

Today is the day I turn 30. GASP! SHOCK! I know right? Today is my birthday and I always figured this would be the one that felt odd. It would feel like I’m finally an “adult” ya know? Like I would wake up and want to buy some khakis, get a mortgage, start an Roth IRA, and observe the market for stock trends…but then I realized that I’ve already done all of those things. I’ve been adulting for a while it seems.

So why does 30 seem like a such a big deal to me? I’m not sure to be honest. Part of me thinks it tied to my sense of mortality and my fear of death; for a good number of people who did not take care of their health at a younger age (like myself), 30 can be the midway point of your life. This could be “middle-aged” for me. In 30 years time I could possibly be lying flat on a morgue slab, having shuffled off the mortal coil. That scares the hell out of me. I’m not going to get in to specifics or religion mumbo-jumbo right now, but no matter what my views of life and death are, dying is the scariest thing in the world to me.

And because of that fear, I feel I’ve missed out on some things. I’ve spent the last two years in mild depression, neglecting my health, relationships, and pursuing my dreams. I was so worried about turning 30 soon that I forgot that I was currently 28, 29. It was infuriating being  constricted by the irrational fear of something that could come in 30 or 60 years, hell it could of come that very day. So I focused on doing what was expected of me; throw all of my energy in to a career/job that I only had mild interest in, come home miserable from the grind, maybe get off my butt sometimes, and try not to upset Mrs. Harris with my whining or depressed mood.

It wasn’t until part of the way in 2015 that I finally started listening to what Mrs. Harris had been saying for some time; she kept talking that she knew that I needed to chase dreams. It was now more important than ever. She didn’t want me to be filled with nothing but regret 5, 10 years from now. After listening to her say this on repeat, I finally agreed to take the plunge. I’ll chase my dreams or maybe fail, but at least I would have no regrets. During this time of transition, while we would get stressed about finances or unsure what the future holds for us, I started to feel the depression slip away. I felt the stress I had carried with me for years dissipate. The growl and scowl I always had was no longer around.

I was realizing that going after my dreams was worth it. Which I was able to do because my wife kept saying “Why not? Why not chase your dreams? We only have one  life, might as well make it worthwhile right?” She could not have been more right. So thank you Mrs. Harris, for believing in me. For enduring my unrelenting complaints and word vomiting of anger, my difficult depression, for believing in me, for pushing me to finally get off my ass and to do something with myself. While today may be my birthday and you have given me a bunch of great gifts, the best gift you gave me was your never-ending belief in me. Succeed or fail, I’ll be happy with you pushing me to go for the stars.

Thanks for the great 30th birthday Mrs. Harris. I don’t know how you can top this 🙂

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey