When a song gets you in the soul…

I don’t know why Tom Waits wasn’t a part of my life when I was younger, because 17 year old me would have had his world changed.

“My body’s at home
But my heart’s in the wind
Where the clouds are like headlines
On a new front page sky
My tears are salt water
And the moon’s full and high…”

Nerd Rant: My Renewed Hope in Star Wars

I’m not going to lie to you.  After the final prequel film ended, and the saga was complete,  I was left unsatisfied.  We were given three new, and unfulfilling movies that were pale comparisons to their predecessors, and they failed to add anything new to the experience, and in many cases, depreciated the originals joy and creativity.  And it was over.  No more Star Wars.  No hope.

As I am in love with Star Wars enough to look past many things, I still purchased the movies and began watching The Clone Wars tv series when it came out.  This was a good thing.  Though the show skewed young, it aged with it’s female protagonist, Ahsoka Tahno, and in not-so-small of a way, made up for the disappointing prequel films.  This, at least, was Star Wars.

Then Star Wars Rebels happened, and I was finally getting Star Wars on the level I needed.  It isn’t the big screen romp I wanted, but it was good storytelling, in the galaxy far, far away.  My hope began to kindle.

The Force Awakens came the following year, and my hope for a world where new and inspiring Star Wars stories took flight.  Was it a perfect movie?  No, but it did something that none of the prequels had done.  It reminded me of why I loved Star Wars, and gave me something new, in the form of some of the most complex and interesting characters we’ve yet to see in Star Wars.  I was ready.

And now, Rogue One, A Star Wars Story has arrived, and it truly is my New Hope for Star Wars.  They succeeded on every level.  Do I think there are flaws in the film?  Yes.  But then again, there were flaws in 4, 5 and 6 too.  But they were the flaws you look over, because ultimately they do not detract from the overall experience of the film–which was a lot of fun!  In fact, I truly only have two problems with the film, and both of them involve unnecessary cameos of characters from episode 4.  But they are small complaints, because when the credits finally rolled, I was not left unsatisfied, or unfulfilled.  I left the theatre loving Star Wars that much more.

Thank you, Gareth Edwards.  #YouDoneGood

2015

I moved across the country.
I lost weight, and gained it back.
I read twenty-three books.  Not one of them was the one I promised to read.
I literally, “leaped for joy,” upon learning of my wife’s pregnancy.
I starred in a movie and made several.
My son taught me how to be a triceratops.  I taught him about bacon.
I was unemployed. “Sorry, we’re going in a cheaper direction.”
But, then I got a job.
I wore a tuxedo, and cried at a wedding.
But then my baby died.  I held him in my arms, only once, for fear I wouldn’t let him go again.
We put him in the ground, and I held my wife.
And, then I went to work.
I made new friends.
I tried new food.
I cried a lot. 
I began working on my novel again.  We’ll see how it works out.
I have not visited his grave.
Christmas is supposed to be a happy time of year.
All I want is for it to be September 8th, and for him to still be here.
But time is a constant.
Thanksgiving was good.
I’ve whispered “I love you” into my son’s ear, on a consistent basis.
I’ve watched Star Wars twice.
I’ll see it again, soon.
I don’t like resolutions.
But I will promise myself, this:

I will not stop.  I will continue.  I will learn how to breathe again.
I will make him proud.
I love you, Isaac.

The Force is Strong with this One

“The Force Awakens” is the seventh Star Wars film, and it has never been so cool! JJ Abrams has successfully reignited the franchise, by not only drawing on all three of the original trilogy, but also by introducing us to some of the most interesting and complex characters the series has ever seen. Oh, and then there’s “The Force.”

“The Force” is a character in this film and has never been as interesting or visually engaging! It kicked the proverbial @$$ in this film. I’ve never been so excited about Star Wars than I am having watched “The Force Awakens” in the theatre (twice). I now know what it must have felt like in 1977 when my parents saw “Star Wars” for the first time.

See this movie.

Dear Isaac, #1

I’ve been thinking about you today.  Trying to keep it to just at “lunch time” because I won’t be productive otherwise.  My heart breaks every time I do.  No good customer service experience could blossom from that.  #NewJob

I want to make a movie for you, but I don’t know what to do.  I thought I could do a documentary-style essay, or letter from me to you, but that’s too on the nose—I would cry the whole time and not get anything done.

I have a science-fiction idea, which could be really cool if I can shape it into a story.  Ideas come easier than whole stories do.  It’s something you learn the more time you spend writing.  It would help if I knew what you looked like, you know, grown up.  I don’t know.  You were a beautiful baby though, and you had your mother’s lips.  You looked like your brother did when he was first born.  A little more purple, though.

Some people will read that last bit and think my joke in poor taste, but it isn’t for them.  It’s for you and for me.  And if you’re anything like your Dad, which I’m sure you would have been, you’d appreciate a good corpse joke, as I appreciate a good one-nut joke (as it pertains to my survival of testicular cancer in 2001).

Here’s what it boils down to: How can you miss someone you’ve never met so much that it breaks you apart every few days?  How do you tell that story?  You know, without just saying it–that’s too easy, and you deserve a masterpiece, not some Hallmark movie of the week.  I love you more than life.

It’s therapeutic to write to you.  I’m going to do it again.

Does it make a good blog post?  Probably not, but I’d rather keep it here than risk losing the piece of paper.  I’ll write you again soon…once I’ve figured out your story.

Love,

Dad

Indiana – Hollywood Part Deux?

So, here I am on the set of another movie in so many days. Today I’m playing Nate, the affable best friend of Michael, who is consoling his friend as he deals with girl problems in “Sparks Fly.” Short films are fun to make; the commitment isn’t huge and it helps to exercise your acting muscles.

I’m feeling good. I was cast late last night, as a last minute replacement. Thank you, Elaine Gardner, for dropping my name. There’s nothing like playing make-believe to keep you young. It is, however, par for the course that I am helping the crew out.  I just love being on a movie set and can’t stop myself from asking “what can I do” whenever there’s a break from my own duties. Today, the back of my head gets to play an extra and I get to help move cars for the producers because my scene had to be shuffled around due to an uncooperative sun.

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The more I’m doing this the more I’m learning my lines faster and faster. I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now. My brother and I are slowly putting together a feature film to shoot at his home in South Carolina, and my Star Wars Fan Film has been granted an additional year of pre-production due to an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign (a blog post about this will be appearing here in the relative future, but suffice it to say I’m not bummed and I think it will work out for the best this way). So, with the new job granting me quite a bit of freedom to shoot, and the 60 Hour Film Challenge in 2 weeks, my Indiana-based Hollywood career is taking off quite well.

Anywho, I’ll write a real blog post here shortly, but for now I have to pretend like I’m drinking the associate producers coffee again.

“Action!”

Moving Forward…

The snob in me wants to wax verbose about how the breeze feels across my neck, but I think that part of me died two weeks ago. I’m sitting here in Garfield Park in Indianapolis on a Saturday evening, getting ready to crew the pick-up shoot for Dark Ground, a feature film I had the pleasure of starring in shortly after moving back to the heartland, and I’ve been hit with a horrible revelation: I might survive this.

My second son, Isaac Joel Brown, was born six weeks early on September 8th, 2015. He was 18.5 inches long and weighed 5 lbs 9 ounces. He died the night before in his mother’s womb, and the moment that should have been overwhelming in its joy was instead filled with sorrow as I saw my son for the first time, a corpse.

Now, I’m a spiritual man, and I believe Isaac to be in Heaven right now and in that moment as well. He left a warm and happy place and found himself in an even better one. This does not comfort me much. I would rather replace this knowledge with the memory of his laugh, smile, cry, touch, smell or any of the other events that might have been had he survived. I look at my oldest son and know that Isaac would have had the best older brother and that not only was his family denied his presence, but he ours.

It’s very easy to look at the horrible things that life throws at you, and simply “throw in the towel.” I could lose faith. Saying “everything happens for a reason” not only sounds stupid in times like these but cruel as well. What reason could be good enough to kill my son?

Dwelling on thoughts like this is the path to the dark side of the force. I will not search for blame. Fear leads to anger, anger to hate, and hate to further suffering. We’ve suffered enough. I have an Isaac sized hole in my heart as proof of that.

So I continued. I continued to take job interviews, work on film projects and I have not stopped writing. This Friday I was offered and in turn accepted a full-time job. I have also begun working on three different film projects and began prepping a fourth (for the 60 Hour Film Challenge).

I make time for my wife. She is suffering as I am suffering. I have hobbies though. I’ve never prayed in a blog post before, but I pray now that God place his healing hand over all of us. Things won’t change over-night, but one day, one minute at a time, we will get through this.

So, Internet, here is my vow: I will not dwell in sorrow and anger, I will not deny them, I will feel them for as long as I must, and I will let them go. I will make this life the best one I can live and I will remember Isaac Joel Brown. I will remember him as he should have been, beautiful and alive. For he was beautiful, and according to his mother, one heck of a kicker!

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I love you, Isaac.

Now, it’s time to make a movie.