counseling

My First Film and John Cleese

Several years ago I become consumed with film writing. After many interviews of anyone semi successful around me, I basically received the same advice from everyone. Just create. Make something. Pull whatever you can together and just do it, and keep doing it. The advice also included submitting your stuff to as many film festivals as you can.

I am an idiot. I took this advice to heart, but for some reason – maybe call it my background as a poor only child from a single parent home with some need to validate myself or whatever – but I felt I needed a big name involved with my first short. It is a comedy piece, but also should make people think a bit. The whole thing is narrated. So I picked my top five favorite comedians that I thought would do a good job at narration, and I tried to reach out to them.

At the top of my list: John Cleese.

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I am an ultimate Monty Python fan. It’s a long long story, and I have the whole thing written out somewhere, but I’ll summarize for today in saying that John agreed. It was a very exciting moment. I assumed this meant I had found my destiny. Well, after many discussions with agents and lawyers, John backed out. I was not Hollywood enough. In the period of 7 months I went from an ultimate creative high, thinking I was going to work with a comedy god and someone I really admire, to an ultimate low. I then got a bit pissed off, but also realized that it was dumb to need a big name to validate anything. Though it is still nice to think that John Cleese assured me he liked the script but bureaucracy got in the way. So I wrote something else. It is not a comedy, again because I was in a bit of a low place. I have a masters degree in marriage and family therapy, and through those studies I learned about professional burn out. Basically when a therapist doesn’t have his own crap in check for whatever reason, and they start becoming more of a detriment to their clients than helping them. Ultimately a counselor may end up needing counseling themselves, which is an ironic, sad, and kind of funny outcome.

So – I wrote a piece about that. I took all the advice I had received: I pulled together some friends and acquaintances, and made my first short film Burn Out. It was truly a wonderful experience. Elwon Bakly and Mitch Hall are phenomenal actors. The energy in the room with these guys was so thick I was breathing it in. It is such an amazing feeling to be there on a set, and feel like the words you wrote are coming to life, but also that it’s a real circumstance and you are just a ghost in the room watching. So cool. I am really proud of this film for my first effort. We finished this thing years ago, but I have not released it until now. Primarily because there are some things about it that really suck. Above all, I learned what all film makers must learn, which is the importance of killer audio. I really wish that we had lined up some better audio for this video. I have thought about doing ADR (automated dialog replacement) but it has not panned out.

Since shooting this film I have gone on to be apart of many other projects, and I have many more things in the works. But for now, I figured it was time to dust this off and show it to the world. Thanks so much Clark, Elwon, Mitch, Aaron, Sid, and the hot secretary for this great experience! Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/233698458

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