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.

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Too many ideas?

 

I don’t actually think it’s possible to have too many ideas.  Too many ideas at the same time?  Yes, that could be a problem.  Learning to focus on one project and stick with it to the end isn’t a new problem for writers, and certainly isn’t one I haven’t faced before.  But, like any good villain/addiction, it keeps rearing its ugly head.

I must learn to narrow my focus from time to time.

And I have done this.  I did it for my web-series (and was set to shoot it when my producer/guy-giving-me-money-to-do-it bailed on me), and I did when I was submitting for the ABC Writing Fellowship.  And I do at work.

Deadlines.  That’s what these events have in common.  Well, how do you impose a self-inflicted deadline?  What am I going to do for myself if I achieve it?  What am I going to do if I don’t achieve it?  At the end of the day I’m not going to punish myself.

I like me too much for that.  #dumb

Instead, I’m trying to build healthy habits in my life.  One of them is daily writing.  If I can’t manage to focus this Gemini-addled brain, at least I can work it on the regular.  And by the sheer quantity of work I produce, I’m bound to finish something without a deadline.  Right?

-T2

PS: On a side note, here’s an excerpt from a recent short story I wrote for the Ventura County Writer’s Club Short Story Contest.

            Marnella Millhouse Maddison-MacGuffin was born with only one eye. “She only has her right eye,” people would say; which of course was ludicrous.  How can you have a right eye, if you’ve never had a left. It was simply put, her eye, and she was quite happy to call it that, thank you very much.

             “Who needs two eyes anyway,” she often thought. She could see as good as any dual-eyed person she knew. She often saw better than most, in fact, with the small exception of peripheral vision, but that’s why necks exist.

            And she could see as clear as day that stealing an Ogre’s treasure was a bad idea. But did anybody ask her what she thought of the plan? Of course not, that would have been smart.  

            “It’ll be alright Marney, there’s nothing to worry about.  Just go play with your dolls.” Well, she didn’t want to play with her dolls, and she didn’t want to go trouncing into the Ogre cave to rescue the morons either, but it was obvious that someone who could actually see what they were doing had to get involved.

            So, there she stood, knee deep in snow and ash, peering into the darkness of the Ogre cave, with her father’s broken sword by her side. The wind bit at her neck.  Couldn’t risk raising her hood. Whatever peripheral vision she had, she would need. 

            “Well, here goes,” she said as she entered the Ogre’s cave.

Brain Farting; In Need of Mental Colonic.

I have found, lately, that I’m feeling stuck.  Immovable.  It’s not that I’m not going places, that things aren’t happening and that I’m not an active participant in my life.  Because I am.  No, what I mean is: Have you ever had so many projects going on at the same time, that you lose the “forest for the trees?”  Like a deer in headlights, I have just stopped.

D3Now, don’t get me wrong–I love Diablo 3–it’s a great game, despite Blizzard Entertainments attempt to remove everything that was awesome about Diablo 2 from it.  I’m still playing the game.  I’m having fun doing it.  But what am I not doing?

I’m not writing.  I’m certainly not blogging, until right now, of course.  I keep saying “yes” to things I should say “no” to.  I need a mental cleanse.  I need to find my bearings.  To come up with a new schedule for feeding my brain and for vegging out with my hardcore Barbarian, hardcore MP10 Witch Doctor, and MP10 Wizard.  ‘Cause, they’re awesome.  🙂

Unfortunately, this sounds easier than I’m finding it to actually be.  My son keeps my quite busy, which I don’t mind.  He’s awesome!  He gave me a thumbs up for the first time the other day.  I felt accomplished and I hadn’t done anything.  How awesome is that?  And yes, he is one of the things I said “Yes” to, but definitely not one of the things I shouldn’t have.  It is a huge blessing to have him in my life and I find that he’s teaching me more about me than I’m teaching him, well, anything.

So, I’ve decided (Just now, as I wrote the last paragraph–which was a process: I paced and everything.) that I’m going to treat my writing time like it’s work time.  This should be obvious, and something you’d think I would be doing anyway, but I haven’t.  I’ve been treating it as “my time.”  It is something I love to do, so it couldn’t possibly be work, right?

So not true.

I’m going to start with prioritizing my projects and then work on them as close to “one at a time” as I can.  We’ll see how this goes over the next few weeks.  I’ll keep you posted.  Thanks for “listening.”  It helped me figure out my problem.  You know, saying it.

Now, back to Diablo.  😉

My Son Turns One

 

The beginning is the hardest part to write.  Endings come easy, and depending on who the author is, can be filled with hope, promise, and a fulfillment only appreciated after taking the journey.  The ending is the reason we tell the story in the first place.  Tomorrow, my son will turn one.

Where to begin?

I am firmly in the second act of my life’s story, the “Complications” or “Rising Action.”  I’m a fan of the five act structure–mainly, so I can live longer–but also because I feel it’s the best way to get to the heart of the matter: my dénouement (or “catastrophe” for those of you who want to see me go out with a “bang.”)  T3 though?  No, he’s in Act One, the “Exposition.”

If one year of parenting has taught me anything, it is that the beginning can be just as exciting as the end, or the middle for that matter.  My son teaches me new things about myself every day–it’s a little frightening.  But it has made me a better person, and a better writer.  I now understand the feeling one gets when a whole other compartment of your heart, that you didn’t even know was there, fills up with an endless supply of unconditional love.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep that perfect little boy safe.  My life changed forever on June 8th, 2012.

They are perfect, you know.  Our children.  They’re made that way.  And, as I see it, it is our job as parents to ensure they reach adulthood with as little “baggage” as possible.  Heroes with troubled pasts can help make for an exciting read, but not our children.  He should reach Act Two without so much as a broken bone…if only, right?

My wife has decided that his birthday party should have a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme as he’s quite the fan of Mickey.  So we’re having a “hot dog, hot dog, hot-digidy-dog” hot dog bar with condiments and potato salad.  I’m excited about the potato salad, and the few hotlinks I will be sneaking onto the grill.  And my son won’t remember it.

C’est la vie.

My act two has had an influx of rising action lately, as I said a few days ago, I’ve been writing a lot.  I submitted the spec script to several television production companies with the hope of earning a place in one of their writing programs.  I’m optimistic.  My friend, who’s working for a small independent production company, has asked me to write the script for a remake they are doing of a 70’s cult classic–to go unnamed for now–assuming they can get the rights.  It’s a “if we get paid, you get paid” kind of gig, but I like the challenge of reinventing something for a contemporary audience.  It’s going to be fun.  Also, I’m almost completely done the “outlining” and “thinking” stage of the next pilot I’m writing, so I’ll tell y’all more about “Eden” soon.

As for my “climax,” “falling action,” and “resolution?”  No one knows when they will die, or how–I just hope that one of the last things I see is my son’s smiling face.  Because whether my life takes a turn I’m unprepared for, or not–I will die a proud father, and that I’m okay with.

Updates…

I’ve been writing a lot.  Just not here.

I’ve submitted a spec script I wrote for the ABC show “Castle” to Disney/ABC’s Writing Fellowship, NBC/Universal’s Writer’s on the Verge, and to the WB Writer’s Workshop.  Here’s hoping.

“Ripley Madison” has been on the receiving end of a lot of neglect as I’ve been focusing on this as well as a new pilot I’m working on.  Also, I’ve been fine-tuning the “Star Trek” TV-series on the, more than likely, false hope that J.J. Abrams will ever be interested in reading/producing it.  🙂

So, I’ll write a new and full blog post in the next few days to keep y’all apprised as to what’s going on with me and the life that I lead.

Word.

Jumping in to the Deep End

I don’t like to say “no” to people. I don’t like receiving “no’s” from people. So, I go out of my way to ensure other people don’t get them from me. That being said, I am doing a good job here, in 2013, at not taking on so much that I get overwhelmed and projects fall short of where I want them. Three projects is good. Four, not so much.

When I got back from my family vacation to “sunny” Indiana, I dove headfirst into two real projects and one not so real project. The first of the projects is my aforementioned web-series I’ve entitled Ripley Madison. I’ve written the first few episodes and am moving right along. In the next few weeks I will be organizing a casting call as well as interviewing crew, which I will probably have to field from my fellow Brooks alumni, or simply post something up at the school to get current students looking to add a web-series to their resumes (wow, run-on-sentence). I say this, because until I’m able to make these first few episodes to help sell a kickstarter page, I’ll need people who are willing to work for free.

I will keep y’all updated as this process moves along.

The next project I dove into is that of my church’s website. They need a new one. I’m working on it on another web address, which I will share at a later date–once I have a more completed, less ugly thing to show you.  But it’s gonna be awesome.  The theory is to streamline the way the viewer views and uses the site, while taking the design forward into the 21st century.  Yeah.

And the third project, which really isn’t a project, so much as it’s me hanging out in Tamriel, has been a great escape.

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Yes I play an orc, and yes I punch things to death.  Can’t wait for Elder Scrolls Online.

Anywho, I’m glad to be back.  More later.

-T2

A job that is never done…

The best part of having breakfast for dinner last night, is that I had breakfast for breakfast this morning.  My wife has been finding excellent meals on pinterest and made an amazing breakfast casserole–which, of course, I doctored up with cholula–and it has put me in an excellent mood.

On the writing front, the two-part pilot episode for Star Trek Federation–what I’m tentatively calling my next “Next Generation”–is complete.  Well, almost…I’m taking a couple of days away from it before reading it and deciding if it’s worthy of sending off to my few trusted readers.  Part one is excellent, but I had a lot to do with part two and I fear it may have fell short.  But it is a pilot.  So yeah.

Dear J.J. Abrams,

I have the next Star Trek show–it’s awesome–and I think it not only takes on a similar approach to your films, of interjecting a faster and more exhilarating pace, but stays true to the root of what Star Trek is all about:  Exploring the human condition from a very smart and science-fiction viewpoint.

I can have a copy of it in your email in a matter of seconds.  Please email me at thomasdbrown2@gmail.com and I will make it happen.

Sincerely,

Your New Best Friend

In other news, I’m diving head-first into my new story entitled Ripley Madison.  It will be a web-series.  My plan right now is to write, at least, the first six episodes.  Then I will do my best to shoot as many of those as I can for no-money-whatsoever, before creating a kickstarter for it.  I think the plan is sound.  Here is the elevator pitch:

Ripley is a fun, nerdy, day-dreaming high-school girl who’s world of gaming, poetry, and performance art take a serious turn when her older brother is diagnosed with cancer.

Despite the somewhat heavy topic of cancer, this web-series will have quite a good sense of humor, and teen angst.  And more importantly, I don’t think it’s been done before.  Cancer, yeah that’s been done.  Nerdy girl teen angst, also been done.  But not like this.  I’m going to structure the episodes as if they are excerpts from a book.  Not visually a book…but structurally.  There are no rules with web-series, and I’m planning on stepping outside the box with this one visually, structurally, and creatively.  So, yeah…that’s what I’m working on now.

What are you working on?

-T2