Two New Projects for 2012 Under My Belt

Perhaps one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to return to blogging. However, I’ve so fallen out of the habit of writing that it might take awhile to get back up to speed.

These bleak, dispiriting days of winter have always struck me as a poor time to take stock of one’s past and plan for one’s future. I’d prefer that we would have our new year begin on the first day of spring, the season of hope and renewal.

2011 was. for me, a very purposeless year. I found myself, as is often my feckless manner, drifting from project to project. Somehow I managed to pay the bills and keep myself in coffee and tacos. Also, I managed to be surprisingly prolific with video projects. I have listed eleven creative projects on the “News” page of my website for 2011. They were all shot with my Canon 7D — in fact, they mark the very first pieces I did with that camera. They range from the ephemeral one-off pieces, to narratives, music videos, a commercial, dance collaborations, theater video designs, a community arts festival, and an experimental live cinema staged performance piece. In addition to these eleven works, I have helped out on at least twenty other projects. Some of these gigs pay. Most don’t. Probably I need to present myself in a more professional manner.

When I moved here to San Antonio in 2004 I found myself speaking often of the “film community.” I don’t use that phrase so much any more. There are many accomplished people in this town who share the same sorts of tools — HD cameras and nonlinear editing suites. Some are lucky enough to make their living doing this work, others are struggling. And though there is a spirit of sharing knowledge and even equipment among many of these folks, I don’t know if this collegial amicability can really pass for a community. Among the smug posturing and ego-driven neuroses, I keep hoping will emerge profoundly original work, or at least films with the beauty and luminosity of Chris Eska’s “August Evening.” Sadly, much of the local work (even those with polish and intelligence) seems to have been created by those who desire no more than to ape Hollywood.

This is partially the reason I have drifted into working in collaboration with choreographers and theater companies. General disillusionment and lack of resources, sure, but I have also been lucky to have befriended some outrageously talented people in the dance and theater worlds. And though this is clearly no way to make a living, it’s exciting to create work which you know will have an audience. Add to that the rush of excitement from an audience’s reaction to a live performance … not bad. The down-side to this sort of work I’ve become engaged in is that I rarely see in these audiences those people I once spoke about when I’d so frequently use the phrase “film community.” This was brought home to me during the annual holiday party put on by the San Antonio Film Commission last month. People would come up to me wondering where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to. The fact that I was closing out my most creatively productive and prolific year was lost on most, presumably because of a lack of interest in art and cultural realms outside their comfort zones. I’m a bit biased here, but it’s my opinion that they’re missing out on a lot of fun.

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I’ve fallen in with a pretty cool crowd. Since I moved into this neighborhood I’ve attended various performances at Jump-Start Performance Company. At some point they realized I made films. I have been invited to screen work for the last three performance parties. I have dragged company members such as ST Shimi and Lisa Suarez into my projects. And then, about this time last year, I was brought in to video tape those original shows produced by the company. Also, I was honored to work in a collaborative manner for the production “The Last Thing You’ll Ever See.” It’s nice to be so well regarded by a company of such diverse and wildly talented people. And for this year’s Performance Party I was invited not only to create a film of my own to be screened, but the company also requested that I work with them on a short humorous opening video.

Here is a link to the opening video, “Jump-Start University” (this year’s was a collegiate theme).

“Sunrise” is the film I created. It stars the wonderful and lovely Amanda Silva, and features original music by Lisa Arnold (AKA Fallinglisa).

Each year there’s a different energy to the performance party. This year seemed to feature less theater, and more video and dance. I was grateful that Aztec Gold didn’t drag me up on stage this year as they did back in 2011 (although is was kind of fun stumbling about in an improve performance…).

It’s nice to think that the year is only a week old, and I’ve already produced two video projects. So, what have you been up to?

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I made some major life-style changes back in late April of last year. Sensible diet and regular exercise. Sometime around June I began running. Well, sort of running. Run some. Walk some. Repeat. I progressed well for maybe two months. Then I fucked up my hip. What I believe was my gluteal muscles. After two months or so off, I slowly started back up again. Back in December I finally made it up to 6.5 miles. And none of that walking and running crap either. Pure running. Very slow, I admit. But technically running.

Since April 25 I have lost 70 pounds. Today I stepped on the scales and noticed that at 228 I am no longer obese, merely overweight. If the BMI (body mass index) is to be believed, all I need to lose to get to “normal” is 40 more pounds, give or take. Still, this is the “skinniest” I’ve been in probably 15 or 20 years.

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For Christmas my sister got me the new iPhone 4S. My old iPhone had gotten sluggish. And, really, I hated the crappy camera it had. All the perks of the new version impressed me, but mostly I wanted a phone with a decent camera. I had been impressed with the advances on those occasions when friends had me shoot them with their fancy new phones.

Not only am I in love with this stupid thing (and the voice recognition software on it is awesome), but add to the camera the Instagram app (which is free), and I can’t recall ever having as much fun taking pictures. The extreme filters and the square format are a bit corny, but I think I’ve managed to get some beautiful images with it.

Check out the grid of 15 images below I took in the last week. Pretty cool.

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