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.

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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.

A Lovely Day on the Fury Road

A Review of “Fury Road.”

I don’t like statements like “adrenaline-fueled ride” or anything that uses the word extravaganza to describe a movie. That, usually, doesn’t paint an accurate picture. But I just saw “Mad Max: Fury Road”, and I have to say that Geoff Pevere of Globe and Mail nailed it on the head when he called it “a double-barrelled shotgun enema straight to the senses.” The Fury Road is an adrenaline-fueled, non-stop action, oil painting that is both beautiful in its color palette, and filled with some of the craziest, and dangerous car stunts you will ever see. I loved it.

George Miller may have gone off the deep end with “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” but after a few decades of producing family films he stepped back into the world of Max Rockatansky and delivers a film that both honors the first two brilliant installments of the series, but also reminds us that action filmmaking can be more than just explosions, and violent deaths; it can be art.


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I’m just going to leave this here, because I love it.

Throwback Thursday or My New Old Best Friend

Dear God,

First, thank you for today.  I love it when I wake up and I’m still here.  Now, secondly, thank you for my brother, Richard.  When we were younger neither of us were very good at the whole “being a supportive brother” thing, but now that we’ve grown, I couldn’t ask for a better friend.

This isn’t my typical blog post, but it’s something that’s been pressing on my heart.  I need to say these things and not just privately.

Fifteen years ago if you had asked me what I thought of my younger brother I would tell you “I love him.”  Or I would have made a fat joke.  (Oh, the irony.)  What I wouldn’t tell you is this:

He is funny, charming, intelligent, honorable, kind, and fair-minded.  He has been nothing short of a beacon of support for me in any endeavor I have ever had, and doesn’t speak to me as if one day I will be successful, but as if I already am.  Do I have disagreements with him?  Of course, one could say “all the time,” but they are no longer fights, they are conversations.  Do I think he’s obnoxious?  Incredibly.  But then again, so am I.  I like to blame it on being a Gemini, but the stars hold little sway on my behavior, not nearly as much as I do.

No idea who all those other people are.

When I was younger I was indifferent to this “younger” person who was not smaller than me.  I know, if you ask him, he would say I was a horrible older brother.  I wasn’t mean, and I cared about him deeply.  That being said our relationship never really evolved past the point it was when my parents brought him home from the hospital:

“If I hit him (physically or emotionally) he’ll make noise, and often times he’ll make enough noise or the wrong noise, and he’ll get in trouble instead of me.”  Like the time when I poked him and he threw himself through a table in order to get me in trouble for pushing.  As quick and clever as the plan was, our mother saw through it.  #Skills

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I stopped this.  When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and despite all of our previous history, my brother showered me with support.  I let a lot of things go during chemotherapy, to say nothing about my hair.  I don’t usually sweat the small stuff (outside of food in restaurants) anymore, and hurting my brother for sport had no more appeal.  It was childish.  And though, not intended, it was cruel.

Now, not all of the change was me, but it was enough.  I have found that this crusty Tech Sergeant is and has always been my best friend.  And I can’t thank God enough for bringing him into my life on that June morning, so many years ago.

Love,

T2