Ten Days To Glory

It’s the Final Countdown.

Now, if you’re still able to read this (that is, if your face hasn’t been melted off by those hottt lixxx), just imagine today’s post as one long inspirational 80s movie montage.

psst...

We have ten (10) days left in our Life After Fat Web Series Indiegogo Campaign and, guess what, we’re not where we need to be. Not even close. We’re very aware of that. We’re not delusional.  But really, all we need is one montage worth* of donations, and we’ll be sitting pretty.

YOUR donations!

yooooo

If everyone who reads this were to put in 5 or 10 bucks, and then share it with their networks, it would make a huge difference. If you’re reading this and you’ve already contributed, you’re awesome! I owe you my firstborn.**

yoooooo

For anyone who’s ever embarked on a creative endeavor, you know what it’s like. It’s a harrowing, stressful experience, and as creatives, we really hate talking about money, much less ask for it. We’d much rather talk about art. All of us behind the series are invested in it 100 percent, and plan to make something of it no matter how much we make. But we really want to tell the best story possible–a story not just about a girl who lost weight, but hopefully a story that can resonate with anyone who’s had self esteem issues, or struggled with pursuing their dreams, or got toasty as shiz at a party and just really wanted a Rum and Coke Slushie.

For real though.

For real though.

I want to address what it’s like to jump from lover to lover, always hoping that a lukewarm conversation at a bar or a party can be the unconventional start to the kind of romance we’ve grown up worshipping. I want to talk about people who had passions as kids but couldn’t realize them because they wanted a social life more, and they have no idea what even makes them happy anymore. I want to explore what self-esteem really is — if it’s a piece of you that one day clicks into place or if it’s an amorphous force that is constantly shifting — and if we can ever truly be happy with ourselves in either scenario.

–Series creator Julia Pugachevsky, in an excellent post describing the goals of the series better than me.

We conquered Cafe Grumpy. Watch out, Lena Dunham.

We conquered Cafe Grumpy. Watch out, Lena Dunham.

*for the purpose of this post, one montage worth = enough to accomplish one’s dreams AND enough to fill up one song in the soundtrack.

**if no firstborn is available, I may provide you with a burrito of equivalent size.***

***burrito not guaranteed

This is a thing that’s happening

Sometimes I need to be reminded of why I started this blog in the first place. Which was like, three years ago and change! Because a lot of the time I need to force myself to write/draw SOMETHING to avoid a multi month gap between posts. But there was a particular reason I started it, and that was to have an excuse to write things. And in a very 2013 way, it ended up taking a Buzzfeed article to remind me that, in order to be a writer (that is, to write things), I need to actually write things.

And that’s hard! It takes discipline to write things! It also takes discipline to edit things, find gigs, buy groceries, do laundry, and sign up for healthcare. Those, incidentally, are all things that I did this week but took longer than they would have if I had better discipline (that is, not browsing Buzzfeed articles, scrolling through Tumblr, or hate-reading my Facebook timeline.

But that writing thing? That’s something I can get on write now! (No.)* November, in addition to being a time where guys find an excuse to slack off shaving for an entire month, is known in writing circles as National Novel Writing Month, or annoyingly abbreviated as NaNoWriMo, which is absolutely the stupidest name I’ve ever seen for anything. And while I’m not exactly prepared to write a novel, or a screenplay or spec script or whatever, some bloggers have taken to it as an excuse to write a blog post every day, and calling it NaBloWriMo, which somehow manages to be even fucking stupider. In spite of that, I can get behind the sentiment.

I’m also glad that this idea came to me on the first of the month, and not sometime later this week when it would be too late to say I’m writing a post per day and have anyone take me seriously. Actually given my track record I still doubt anyone will take me seriously, but I’m going to make an attempt of it anyway. I would like for my writing to improve, and the only way to do that is to give myself a stupidly-named excuse to do it.

Here’s what to expect: Shorter posts than I’m used to writing, just to get them out there. Also less illustrations than I normally like to do. They take a while and I need to charge my iPad.

For today's post I'm just going to outsource the illustration.

For today’s post I’m just going to outsource the illustration.

In the next post: I get really excited about media.

*I took the liberty of adding in your (the readers’) collective commentary regarding that pun.

What time is it? SELF-PROMOTION TIME! AGAIN!!

Uh oh. Hopefully, I didn’t use up all my good will the last time I asked for something, because it’s that time again.

psst...

That pilot episode I showed you last week, the one I directed and made with some friends? Well, the plan is to make nine more episodes of the series, but in order to do that we’re going to need money.

Now, we’ve already made a budget, it’s all very “charts” and “numbers” and other things I learned in high school that keep me up at night. We’ve done all the legwork, put forth our pilot and planned out the rest of the series (no spoilers), so now all we need from you, dear readers and fans of 20-something dramedies, is to pick your perk and be all like, “yes, please do make more, and I will cover your coffee and 1/8 of a lens rental for a shoot. How do I do that?”

To answer your first question, all you need to do is go to our IndieGoGo page:

Or just click here.Then look at the right column to see which perk sounds the best to you for your budget. We have some really good ones, like DVDs, posters, and totes. Perks start at the $5 level, and only get more awesome from there. How would you like to be an Executive Producer?

Or you could click the huge CONTRIBUTE NOW button, and pick your perk from the next page. It really all leads to the same place. You don’t even have to pick a perk; you could also just give us money if you’re the most generous person ever. How would you like to be The Most Generous Person Ever?

We’re aiming for $14,000 to cover our whole budget, which seems like a lot, but when you break it down into 9 episodes, it’s not that much at all. The main costs involved are booking locations, equipment (mostly rentals), art department (wardrobe, props, makeup, and set dressing), and feeding the cast and crew during shoots. If everyone who reads this donates at the $15 level, we’ll reach our goal in no time.

If you’re still skeptical, I can give you my personal guarantee that this series is awesome, and I can’t wait to tell the story with all the other awesome amazing people involved.

You can be a fan (on Facebook) too!

You can be a fan (on Facebook) too!

STAYCATION 2012: Let’s Get Soul-Searchy!

This is a pier in Greenpoint.

So, if my recently newfound giddiness hasn’t clued you in (or if you simply haven’t been around to take in said newfound giddiness), I am no longer working where I worked a week ago. I’ll save the details for my juicy memoir someday (2016, calling it), but for now we’ll say the time was right for me to go in another direction.

Because more importantly than that, three hours after leaving the previous job, I had a meeting that led to a new paid freelance opportunity, my first legit one, ever. So I rebounded pretty much immediately, even though it’s a gig, not a job, and I of course need to keep looking for part time work. But for now, I’m really going to focus on this project and make it count. It’s gotta be good. But in my other time, when I’m not working on this project or trying to find a part time job, you could say I’m having a staycation. With all this newfound freedom and promising future ahead, I can now do all the things I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

Make *all* the fan-art?

I’ve got my list of 26 Things To Do Before I’m 26, and I’m actually making some pretty good progress on it. Can I budget my way into a blazer, and maybe some nice shoes? Maybe, especially if I want to look good for interviews! Can I make a road trip and a trip to Canada? That’s certainly in the cards already, for September and October, respectively. If I get a new job before then, I can just tell them ahead of time I already made the plans! And I read somewhere that if you’re ever going to go into debt, it should be for travel. Not that I plan to go into debt!

oh god what

But most importantly, this is my true opportunity to make #23 on that list come true! Anything’s possible here, and right now I’m closer to achieving that than ever before. I guess I just got a little push. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s happening right on time for my two year anniversary in New York. So now’s a good chance to take a look at where I am now versus where I was two years ago:

  • In August 2010 I was fresh out of college, and came to New York with no connections, very little experience in the real world, and two suitcases full of dreams. So naive! How many times have I told that story before?
  • In August 2012 I’ve got quite a bit of experience working a real job, plus a lot filmmaking experience as well, with quite a bit of videos to show from it. Not to mention all the networking experience and the connections, among those connections a particularly awesome girlfriend who I have to thank for getting me at least, like, half that networking experience. And I’ve lived in four apartments here, become a master at the apartment hunting game, and finally got one that stuck. In Greenpoint, no less! Plus I have a lot more stuff than would fit in two suitcases.

I’m in a much better spot right now than I was two years ago (hell, I’m in a much better spot right now than I was two weeks ago). Two years ago I was just trying to survive here; now I can focus on thriving here. It’s awesome. I’m excited.

The Ballad of the Millennial Having a Quarter-Life Crisis

So there’s this Thought Catalog article that was published last week and I can’t quit reading it. It’s called Welcome To The Age Of Feelings and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that better sums up the way I and apparently a lot of other 20-somethings feel about the world (even though it was written by a 30-year old). I highly recommend reading it right around now-ish, because the rest of this post is going to be my poorly-executed response to it.

Something I’ve noted a few times but haven’t really ever articulated well before is the rise of the confessional, self-examining, personal narratives that have become quite popular with my generation. We share a lot more than what used to be considered proper conversation, things like our deepest hopes and fears, our worst experiences, embarrassing anecdotes, frustrations, escapism and nostalgia. The Older Generations like to label it as narcissism, but Leigh Alexander describes it like this:

…In the bellies of today’s recent grads lies an enormous void where something crucial is missing: The self. It’s no wonder the present wave of writers rebelliously prizes self-examination, the lavish indulgence of human experience, of clumsy sex, bad kisses, and — despite having no idea what grunge was — obsessive ownership of the 90s, the decade of the silly Nickelodeon childhood they should have had…

…Yet the massive, rapid proliferation of so-called “narcissism” online is attractive to audiences because it suggests we can distinguish ourselves above the online din by being ourselves, by being relatable, by having something to say. It’s a refreshing rebellion against the illusory idea of professionalism, of printed-out resumes and cover letters that our elders drilled into us to no avail. We’re still being warned to be careful about being inappropriate on Facebook, on our blogs and on Twitter because some imagined future employer might punish us. It’s like oh, man, please don’t take away these jobs you weren’t going to give us anyway…

…You can’t blame us for wanting a world where we can finally tell the truth, especially now that the internet has put so much of the truth at our fingertips…Injustice is everywhere and it’s gross. We have been handed the world and it looks awful…

OK I have to stop here before I quote the entire article, but it’s just so spot on that I had to share it in enormous block quotes. It’s a little embarrassing that I had such an epiphany from a blog post on the Internet and not from some highbrow novel, but hey, it’s 2012. And it sums up all my favorite things on the Internet, really. Everything I’ve loved to read, and related to so well, falls into the very category I mentioned above: confessional-style, personal narratives. Pretty much everything on Thought Catalog, the entire concept of FUCK! I’m In My Twenties, a handful of Hyperbole and a Half posts, several Cracked columnists, and even The Overnighter seems to be going in that direction (keep up the good work, Will!) I think it’s also what’s made Tumblr so popular.

Is it narcissistic over-sharing? Or a cathartic roundtable of storytelling, uniting a generation under the banner of “I Know That Feel Bro”?

Generation gaps are nothing new. Older generations have always looked down on the young’uns, and Millennial-bashing appears to be quite a popular pastime on talk radio shows, highbrow news magazines and other Vanguards of Old Media. So what if we bond over Nineties Nickelodeon ‘n’ Nintendo Nostalgia? It’s a childhood we all shared together. So what if we romanticize making stupid, foolish, rookie mistakes and having irresponsible adventures? It’s our way of saying it’s OK to screw up, as long as you’re yourself and honest about it, you can make your own way in life.

I’ve been thinking about it lately, and the people I admire most (whether I realized it at the time or not) have always been the ones who do their own thing and have their own voice. In school, it was the nerdy, yet passionate, kids who seemed to be the most well-rounded and aware of their strengths. Now, the people I admire are the ones who have found success by being themselves and not letting the cynical naysayers tell them what to do. Or, to put it in today’s language:

It’s easy to be snarky, jaded, cynical, and too cool for school. Those people suck. No, the real awesome people of the world are the ones who have a sense of wonder and optimism, the ones who are honest and earnest, passionate and compassionate, sentimental and sincere. None of these things are “cool.” Or are they? All of the successful creative people I think are the most awesome are the ones who tell the most personal stories. People like Lena Dunham (creator of HBO’s Girls), Conan O’Brien, Wes Anderson, Ryan O’Connel (Thought Catalog), Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Emma Koenig (Fuck! I’m In My Twenties), Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time) and Ira Glass, who said this, which I also can’t stop watching:

I’ll leave you with a piece of an email I received four years ago(!) from Anthony Penta, our awesome RTF 318 TA, in response to my final film project of the year. I don’t think I quite got what he meant until pretty recently:

Finally, there is that certain magical quality which will transform even a technically flawed work into something beautiful — and that is the PERSONAL. If your work has something which is PERSONAL — some fragment or idea which is personal or important to you — it will cause your work to have an inner glow. You need a bit more of that. Your work so far has been very strong — very madcap, highly original, hilarious, amazing — but it needs a stronger personal touch, or a subject which seems deeper than it first appears.

So yeah. Deep stuff. But then again, I’ve never been the type to take myself too seriously. Have some nonsense to end your night. I know I can use some:

26 Things To Do Before I’m 26

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. But my half-birthday was a week ago, and I didn’t make a 25 Things Before 25 post before, so let’s add one and make it 26. We’re on the same page? Good. Now, at the beginning of the year, I made a post on Bill Nye Day where I outlined some resolutions. Let’s take a look at the progress, shall we?

  1. Learn to network. Check.
  2. Go to Canada. Working on it.
  3. Actually post on this blog. I think I’m doing OK at that.
  4. Make something out of All New York’s A Venue. Um, yes!
  5. Read more. Yep. It’s not highbrow literature, so I dunno how much it counts though.
  6. Become better versed in movies, music and technology. I did get Adobe Creative Cloud and ordered that new Macbook Pro.
  7. Bring back Community. You’re welcome.
  8. Go to Governor’s Island. Still haven’t.
  9. Become successful enough to give a TED talk. Nope.
  10. If not that, somehow become internet famous. 
  11. Cook a delicious burger and/or steak. STILL WANT TO DO THIS.
  12. Really tell off someone who deserves it. I’ve only fantasized about it.

That’s not too bad, actually! So for my 26 Things To Do Before I’m 26 List, I’ll take a few things I’m still working on from that first one and add a bunch more to it. Sounds easy enough right? Here we go:

  1. No, for really reals, go to Canada. Make a trip. Go by train to Montreal, see Niagara Falls, hit up Toronto, then spontaneously head west across the Great Lakes, Mount Rushmore, and end up in Portland. Fly back. The North!
  2. Go to Governor’s Island. It’s summer. It’s a ferry ride away. It’s shaped like an ice cream cone. Your argument is invalid. 
  3. Make a delicious burger and/or steak that Ron Swanson would be proud of. 
  4. Really tell off someone who deserves it. I’m the type of person who gets angry at myself but not other people, even when they’re the ones seriously being a shithead.
  5. Ride the subway all night, then take the A train out to the Rockaways to see the sun rise. Ignore common sense.
  6. Become a pro at the Adobe Master Collection. You have it now. Your new Macbook Pro is on the way. YOU HAVE THE POWER. 
  7. Make that portfolio website you’ve been meaning to make for so long. Go on, do it.
  8. That parental-provided healthcare isn’t going to last forever. Use it up.
  9. Take the JMZ line whenever possible. Take in the grungy view. No one else has to understand your affinity for that creaky old elevated line but yourself.
  10. Eat more lobster. Treat yo self. 
  11. Get a massage every time a Groupon for one appears in your inbox. Treat yo self.
  12. Go to more events with open bars. Treat yo self.
  13. Buy a blazer. A real, nice one. Treat yo self. 
  14. End up at some Brooklyn warehouse party at 4 a.m. Wait until the crusties start heading home before you head out yourself. Then go to the end of a pier (there will definitely be a pier there, shut up), sit on the end and contemplate life ‘n’ stuff while looking at Manhattan all lit up. Wonder why the Empire State Building is that particular set of colors. End the night by watching the sun rise on your own rooftop with your best friend and a bunch of strangers you just met. 
  15. End up at a 24-hour diner at 5 a.m. with a bunch of strangers you met via a friend or a party. Order coffee because you’re at a diner, coffee’s good, and fuck sleepiness.
  16. Drink as much coffee as you damn well please. Who cares if it’s 10 p.m. and you have work tomorrow?
  17. The David Lynch Challenge: Drink 20 cups of coffee. In one day.
  18. Every time someone bitches at you about coffee intake, school them on all the health benefits of drinking too much coffee. Haters gonna hate.
  19. August 15: Celebrate your two-year anniversary in New York like you mean it. You’ve earned it; New York’s been a cold yet rewarding bitch.
  20. Is 25 old enough to rent a car? Rent a car. Take a road trip.
  21. Get a hangover. Cure it-slash-reward-self with Shake Shack. Works every time.
  22. Film something new every month. All New York’s a Venue episodes don’t count; those are a given.
  23. Follow your dreams. Seriously. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get a job in film and/or really get into freelancing. By the end of this year, you should be doing SOMETHING film-related for real income. Keep networking, be proactive, you can do it!
  24. Find Lena Dunham and tell her why you’d make an awesome Production Assistant on her show! That’s how you get jobs in the industry, right? Only way to find out is to ask.
  25. Stop hating yourself. #realtalk #dark
  26. Quit #hashtagging #everything. This isn’t Twitter, and Carles is still one of the most obnoxious people on the planet. If you ever meet him, invoke #4.

But seriously though, fuck that guy.

MANIACAL NETWORKING or; #realtalk with @jasonhood

This image was inspired by this Hyperbole and a Half post.

I’m pretty sure I’ve found stability by this point. I have a pretty well-paying job and a cool, if slightly rodent-infested, apartment in the trendy-but-not-too-trendy neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

But I’m still not yet doing what I’d like to be doing for a living. And I’m pretty sure the only way to accomplish that is through Networking. Who cares how skilled, experienced, educated, or creative you are if you can’t schmooze anyone important into thinking you’re not a mushy chamberpot trainwreck of human awkwardness held together mostly by caffeine and rubber bands? I keep mentioning that I need to learn how to network. But I was recently told, somewhat bluntly, that I should just get off your ass and do it.

And while at first I was a little upset, it then turned into one of those “don’t you see? You’ve had it inside you ALL ALONG!” moments that come around the end of movies.

This led to my complete reevaluation of everyone I’ve met in the past year and a half since I moved to New York (and then some I knew from before). I decided to message or email everyone and see what would come of it. And you know what? It actually kind of worked. All sorts of new leads and ideas have opened up, and I’ve gotten back in touch with some cool people I never should have lost touch with in the first place.