Six months ago, I put a fresh coat of paint on my personal website, the very site you’re on right now. The purpose to my having a website at all was to act as a portfolio. I work as a commercial director, which from afar might sound glamorous but a majority of the time manifests as coffees, lunches, phone calls, and emails. On rare occasion, I get to do something I love, like be on set, or meet incredible people with incredible stories, or work with a crew who inspires me. But mostly, you’re redesigning your website.
At the time, I decided on a whim to add this section, Words, to serve as a platform to update interested folks on the goings ons of my directorial life. And in theory, it can still serve that function. But since then I’ve made a discovery. A tremendous amount of the work I do is not allowed to see the light of day. Some of it I can’t even talk about. I know this makes me sound like a CIA agent. And I won’t say that I’m not. Mystery I’ve heard is good for careers.
I still love the work I do, even if I can’t show you. But what’s the point of updates on projects you can’t see?
So, I considered removing this section unceremoniously. Maybe no one would notice. Then this site could go back to functioning like a manila folder of projects I’ve shot from far too long ago. But that too felt disappointing. I still wanted to put out something.
I have close to six thousand followers on Twitter. “Why?!” I ask myself often with all punctation. I still don’t know. I have to assume at least some percentage did some late night googling of my much more famous brother, discovered my account, chuckled at one of my witty one-liners about Trump which constitutes 90% of my tweets, then drunkenly clicked ‘follow’. Or maybe you’re one of the last tribe of media consumers that still watches commercials and really appreciates what I do (though you’d have no way of knowing).
Whatever the reason, here you are. If you were here in person, we’d fill the Greek Theater past capacity. So since I’m short on the reason, I’ve decided to make one.
I’m putting a concerted focus on writing in the new year. I don’t often get to share my writing, given the work that I do, but I have a wide spectrum of ideas and this is the perfect place to put them.
Short stories. Essays. Personal and social analysis, anything I tweet about that I feel I could expound upon. And even casual updates when there is a project I won’t be hung for discussing. I’d like this to be open ended, stitched together if at all by a common thread of cosmic perspective, the one view I feel is lacking in our discourse.
We are increasingly concerned with confirming our immediate perspective. We watch the news that supports our view. We read the writers and tweet the tweeters that make us feel right. You do this, even if you aren’t aware. But it’s understandable.
It is a part of the human condition to replace base reality with one that we prefer. We used to be a part of nature, just one of the kingdom, cognizant of all the harm that could befall us. Now we live and work in man-made shelters that offer a more palatable reality, one in which nature is not trying to kill us all the time. I’m not actually hurling through the lethal vacuum of space on a rock at 67,000 miles per hour, I live in a charming duplex with candles and a refrigerator. See how easy it is to completely ignore reality? You’re doing it right now!
But we now have the ability to take this instinct to an unprecedented level, and in the process you are, because we all are, aiding in the degradation of our humanity. You don’t listen, you defend. And even now, at the slight accusation, don’t you feel your fingers twitch, ready to punch back in defense of your reality?
What I don’t hear is a voice to suggest that when challenged, you don’t get defensive, you get humble. Get curious. That’s exactly what I’d like to do here.
I recognize in myself the poor job I’ve done to understand rather than assert. Modern politics is one example of this that I think most can relate to. There are plenty of pundits to discuss who is right. And I’m certainly not claiming that I don’t have a strong opinion. I very much do. Feel free to read my tweets.
But it can’t just be about being right. That can’t be the goal, winners and losers. I believe that if we back up enough, away from the tree to look at the forest as the old adage goes, we will find a common truth. And maybe from that universal truth, we could birth a shared understanding.
I’ve been told through the years by a number of lucid people that they enjoy reading my writing. Some have told me they like my perspective on, you know, stuff. I think there’s an opportunity to inject something interesting and sincere into a world that, as far as I can tell, really hates itself right now. If this is to be anything, I hope it’s that.
I’m not an expert, a politician, or a scientist. I’m not a lot of things. But I’m also the same thing as the rest of you. And I guess that’s the point. Maybe we should stop putting each other under a tinted microscope. Our CV and pedigree determines the worth of our opinion, down here, in the world we’ve built for ourselves. Between these walls there are a number of rules which determine who wins and loses. If you’ve played the game longer than others, of course you will be better at it. The stories I write and the opinions I share strive to be above that. Not better than, just pulled back from the microscope. Back up enough, and we all start to look exactly the same. Small.
As an adjunct to this new experience, I will try to be more active on Twitter. I’d love to know what you think. I’d really like this to spark conversation rather than act as a lecture. Maybe this isn’t a theater so much as a circle. We’re all in the circle, and we’re talking. Except I talk first, then the rest of you. But not at once. I have no idea how this is going to work actually. But let’s try it.
Blogs were invented in 1997 and twenty years later I finally understand why I want one. I hope this feels less strange as the weeks go on.
Twitter is where I will be announcing new posts, so feel free to keep following. I know in the past I have…oh let’s say completely lied about the frequency of my future posts. But that’s so 2017 and every single year before that. This is 2018. Year of the dog. Dogs are man’s best friend. My point I’m pretty sure is that I’m not going to pretend I can keep to a schedule on what is right now a moonlit experiment. But the joy the thought of this idea brings me is hopefully evidence enough that I will present often. And please, tell me if this becomes awful for you. I know how hesitant Twitter can be to criticize.
Here’s to new endeavors. Stay tuned.