Thursday, July 21, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 30 - A New Decade Begins

I would be lying if I said that my life hasn't been interesting, especially the past decade. I would also say that my 20's have been the most interesting, frustrating, challenging, life-changing, adventurous, and revealing time of my life so far. That's why in this series of blog posts I've focused on that time period.

I've had enough experiences in the past decade to write multiple books and who knows how many screenplays that I could make into movies.

Some of those experiences I have put into movies.

But now I'm 30! The "Dirty Thirty" as some people call it. The big 3-0. A new decade to learn even more craziness about life.

Looking back now on the past decade, here's a number of exciting accomplishments:

1. I graduated college with a Bachelor's in Communication Arts.
2. I survived the Army after 3 1/2 grueling years (and made some pretty awesome friends).
3. I made a feature film (written, directed, shot, edited, and sound design done while I was in the Army in Hawaii).
4. I made several short films, multiple which have been in film festivals, a couple which have won awards.
5. I've lived in Chicago, Hawaii, and Los Angeles since leaving Kansas.
6. I was able to visit Ireland and Scotland.
7. I completed a 2-year acting Conservatory.
8. I worked with Bradley Cooper and Cameron Crowe on "Aloha."
9. I finally learned how to talk to network and have met lots of really cool people!

Now for a few things that have been difficult:

1. I've learned the very hard way what it means to have a healthy relationship.
2. I've questioned just about everything I grew up with in order to understand what it is that I believe and who I am rather than just following what I was brought up on.
3. I went into a ton of debt because of my initial time in college.
4. I spent 3 years living in a room with no window, sometimes working a swing shift in a building with no windows.
5. I've messed up at most of the jobs I've had more times than I can count at least once, so horribly that I've felt really bad about it.

Well, that's what I'm remembering right now. But I guess I'm old now, right? So it's okay.

Nah. I'm just starting. I have a lot of friends right now turning 30 this year. Most of them seem to be a bit terrified of moving into that next decade. Me? I feel like I'm just getting started. I'm actually quite excited about the next decade!

One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, didn't actually publish the vast majority of his works until after his mid-thirties. Most famous directors we know didn't get their major starts until their 30's.

On top of this, people tell me I only look 24 or 25 so I'm well on my way to being in a good position as an actor as well since I look younger then I am.

And here's the biggest thing I've finally found: confidence.

I used to have none. I had no self-confidence. Because of this I really had no outward confidence. It's still always a bit of a work in progress but it's gotten better. It also helps to not care as much what other people think about you.

I won't go into on this blog because I think I could write a whole book on it (which I just might someday) but there are a lot of things from my formative years growing up that I feel didn't help me as I got older and instead hindered me in certain things.

That's also why I believe we need different people in our lives to help us along and guide us because no one person can do it properly. We're just all too imperfect and different. Sometimes the things that a person needs can't be received from a single person so another person comes into to help out.

I believe God created us to be interactive and communal beings. Whether or not you believe in God or no higher power, some other form of believe, I still think, just from the nature of seeing humans, that we all in some form desire love.

So, my friends, in the end of this blog series, I want you to know you can all be accepted without judgement by at least one person in this life, even though there will always be people who judge us no matter what we do.

And in the words of the wonderful and talented Doug Jones: "There's love."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 28 - Ambition and Summer Short Films

It took me a long time to realize how ambitious I was. As well as hard working, driven, and passionate.

Just not in everything.

In fact, if something isn't creative it's hard for me to keep an interest and all those traits I just mentioned tend to go out the window.

Math for instance. I ignore it as much as possible, do it when I need to, and turn anything math related into a story to garner interest for myself.

But when it comes to my creative pursuits, which I see as my livelihood, I throw in all those traits. That is why I've now shot 3 short films this year, all of them quite a bit different, but each one very much in my style of filmmaking. One is finished, one is nearing a rough cut, and the third just finished filming.

When I found out I'd be returning to Kansas for a week for my birthday my first thought wasn't anything like, "Awesome! A vacation from all this work!" No, my response was instantly, "A week in Kansas? I can make another movie!" And so I contacted my friend and we figured out a script within about a month, he did all the producing work, and yesterday I shot an entire short film in the middle of the Kansas woods on a hot summer day with a total of 4 actors (including me) as I directed, shot most of it, and had a rotating number of people for grip and sound recording.

In the end I'm pretty sure I got all the footage I needed.

Also, it was fantasy, which may be one of the most difficult things to do on a very low budget. Though, this one we wrote with that in mind. And what I like about filming in Kansas is I can get locations for free. In this case, it was a patch of woods that don't look they belong in Kansas but that's exactly where we were.

So in my ambition I continue to make films and they tend to be pretty intense. I tend to push things pretty hard in the films I make and there tends to be A LOT that is shot in a short period of time. I've learned how to do things on very little and it's worked to my advantage.

I'm just hoping this little short comes together in post. I have a feeling it will when I look back and see how well Winter's Spirit turned out.

So in the coming month look forward to 2 more short films: Red Roses Painted Black and Summer Sonata.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed making them. My stories aren't just for me. They're for you. Without an audience, my stories have no home.

Friday, July 15, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 26 - Directing

My whole life I remember wanting to make movies. And I think acting, too. But especially making movies. But when I was younger I never really thought it was actually a viable option.

I didn't have access to any equipment. I didn't grow up with video cameras. I had no way to actually shoot footage as a little kid like so many major directors have done today. But I did have an imagination and pencil and paper. I created worlds in my head and it was through my imagination I could still live.

And it was through my imagination I would discover in time that I had a unique vision unlike other directors, I just wouldn't find it until my 20's.

I remember when I was a kid watching the BBC Chronicles of Narnia movies. I grew up on these movies as well as the books which are some of my favorite books. I would rank The Silver Chair as one of my favorite books of all time and I would actually say the BBC film was the best of the four films they made. Truthfully, the production value of these films isn't anything exceptional and they certainly feel dated. I still loved them as a kid.

At the same time, I thought to myself back then, "I want to make better versions of these movies." Yes, when I was a kid I wanted to make remakes of The Chronicles of Narnia. I know there are remakes. Two of them I think are pretty well adapted, the third one not so much. I'm hoping someday I still get the opportunity to direct a Narnai film but I'm not holding out hope.

My dream project is actually and adaptation of The Neverending Story. That book is incredible!

In case you haven't realized, I love fantasy. A lot of my films have some kind of whimsical or fantastical feel to it, often times in a darker direction, but not always. I definitely have my own unique vision for films and people who know my films even tell me they can see an "Ian Adema feel" to them.

I didn't actually get a chance to make any movies until high school... at least not my own. Some of my friends did some stuff for fun when I was in Junior High that I "acted" in. And the first things I ever made were not that great. I call it my "training period" but even in that time I had teachers who saw my potential and believed in me.

I would say I didn't make anything truly worth showcasing to the public until I shot Beyond The Mirror in 2009. That's really when I truly found my voice and style. And Whimsical Pictures.

Since then I've still done a lot and learned a lot. I've always been determined to find a way into the industry. I'm the underdog so the cards have been stacked against me.

But I'm persistent, hardworking, and ambitious. Nothing has stopped me from making movies. Not even the Army. In fact, I wrote, shot, edited, directed, produced, and did sound design for a feature film while I was on Active Duty. That's like two full time jobs at the same time.

And I made a short film and wrote the first draft of a novel while in the army.

And tomorrow I'm shooting another short film. I also shot a short film at Christmas. And I shot a short film a couple months ago currently in post.

So to add up: Winter's Spirit, Red Roses Painted Black, and Summer Sonata all shot in 2016.

Yes, I want to direct. It's what I want to do with my life. I love it. I love telling stories.

And I hope someday one of those films inspires somebody in the best way possible.

I tell these stories for people. Not just for myself.

I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 25 - Castles

I've always loved castles. And fantasy. Lots of fantasy have castles. 
Very old castles. Ancient.

Last fall I finally got the opportunity to achieve one of my dreams... visit castles. After a very well planned trip, I went off to Ireland and Scotland for 2 weeks total. The first castle I saw; Trim Castle.

It turns out, this is actually where they filmed many scenes of Braveheart, even though the film takes place in Scotland.

I definitely would say that I was very fortunate to go on this trip. I saw SO many castles, among other things. But the castles for me were the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Especially growing up on Narnia and fairy tales, there was something about ancient castles, especially castle ruins, that have fascinated me. 
I remember when I was in elementary school building a model of a castle out of old cardboard and discarded tubes from toilet paper and paper towel. At least, that's my memory. For all I know that was actually a dream. But I'm pretty sure I did that. I just I loved castles. 

And there was just something in the history of those castles, something special, something unique that you just don't find quite anywhere else. While on the trip, when we got halfway through Scotland one of my friends said I would get tired of castles. 

I never got tired of castles.

I just found different castles more fascinating then others. But for me castles are very inspiring. It's one of my dream shooting locations and a location I use easily when I write fantasy. They are so rich with history. And there's something magical about them, at least to me.

My dream home is a castle. We can all dream. Sometimes it keeps us going.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 24 - Dreams

I often have very strange and extremely vivid dreams. I also used to have a lot of deja vu. It's not quite as common now but it still happens. But my dream life has intensified.

Here's an example of a dream I had this year, unedited from when I wrote it down:

Dream Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It started out as a justice mission of some kind. We were in some kind of huge building. I had an M16 again for the first time since the military. First I was on a metal walkway a few floors up looking down on an open area. My comrades and I readied ourselves and the people in charge told me what I needed to do. When the people started coming I soon found myself on a shooting rampage. I moved throughout the compound. At one point an SUV was coming towards us when I was outside the building. I shot out the tires. Another point I shot a driver in the head of another vehicle from a distance. Another point I shot someone in the shoulder without killing them. A bunch of these things happened.

Then suddenly none of my comrades were around and I was still going on this shooting spree. Very soon I was a wanted man. I was on the run. I found myself in a building, which looked like Room 3 of the church I grew up in back home, and I was grabbing clothes, trying to avoid anyone noticing my presence. I packed up quickly, throwing things in a backpack, knowing I needed to get away quickly. Once I packed up, I started to sneak out.

a good bit of time had passed and I was walking down the street, avoiding the gaze of people, because I knew I couldn’t go to jail. It was a sunny day, spring it seemed. I passed a couple kids without looking at them.

Then it was years later and I was at a house. Next door was my old house and I needed to grab clothes from there. I walked across the lawn of the current house and a little girl sat on a swing, her long hair covering her face and flowing down to her knees, head bowed. As I passed her head came up and back, face slightly up toward the sky and her mouth opened wide in a circle, a horrific sight, and a terrible moaning sound escaped her mouth. I ran to the other house, crouching as if that would help me not be seen. I went in and rummaged through the clothes. Not feeling I really had time, I ended up just grabbing a bunch without thinking about what I was taking. When I went back to the first house the girl was still there and she did the same thing. I seemed to imitate her sound as a response, seemingly out of trying to diminish the fear. She continued her open mouthed unnatural moan and as I walked away I flipped her off with both hands. She seemed to laugh in a way. In the middle of all this I realized when I first saw the girl that she was the child of something that had happened earlier, some demented source of something wrong and I think I had something to do with the things creation.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 23 - Friends Who Disagree

When I was younger, I had this thought in my head that anyone who I was friends with should think and believe similar things to me. I think this came out of the idea that people were trying to teach me that certain people will be good influences and others negative. Instead this lead to the believe that anyone who believed something different shouldn't be my friend.

I definitely don't think this anymore.

In fact, quite the opposite. It might partially be because I'm older, but a large number of the people in my life don't believe the same thing as me and also disagree with me on a number of things.

My blog post from yesterday is just one of those things (a touchy subject I remember calling it).

I appreciate these people. Some of them are my closest friends. It doesn't mean I just change what I believe but it does open a positive discourse. And I have to be careful to make sure "discourse" is what I intend and not "argument."

I dislike arguments and often debates, as they often turn into arguments. But discourse allows for all sides to speak their thoughts and learn from one another what they think. I think this is part of being human.

Having friends in our lives who don't agree with us enriches us if we can have civil conversation.

I cherish all the people in my life who I've developed a bond of friendship with. I have friends from all different walks of life and many of them believe very different things then me. That doesn't mean I can't be friends with them.

That's ridiculous.

But it also doesn't mean I have to agree with them. And that's alright.

But I should still love them.

There are some things I can learn from them and other things they can learn from me. We all can continue to learn as we grow older. I certainly have. I've learned a lot of things, especially in these last ten years, that have made a lot more sense then they did in my teens. I had no idea what I was doing then.

Also, we can't just negate the experiences of others just because we haven't had them. Sometimes it's difficult to understand what someone has gone through just because we haven't. Sometimes people have views on things because of this. And the older we get and the more people we meet, the more experiences we understand.

We're all made up of stories. A life is a number of stories that add up to a whole. We can never know all of the stories. There are too many. But the more time we invest in people, the more stories we hear, the more we understand about the people that surround us. No one single person has the same experiences throughout an entire lifetime but there are things we share. And it's in those things we share, those commonalities, that bonds of friendship are formed.

Now, I leave you with some quotes on friendship:

“However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship.” 
― Albert Einstein

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit." – Aristotle

"To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it. . . . Affections and Eros were too obviously connected with our nerves, too obviously shared with the brutes. You could feel these tugging at your guts and fluttering your diaphragm. But in Friendship- in that luminous, tranquil, rational world of relationships freely chosen - you got away from all that."
-C.S. Lewis "The Four Loves"

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.” 
― John O'DonohueAnam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Monday, July 11, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 22 - Red Roses Painted Black

Creating any film on a touchy subject isn't easy. That's one thing I discovered while producing Red Roses Painted Black.

This little short film, which should be released later this year, is all about a guy who's fighting a porn addiction. This is probably my most courageous and important film I've ever done, both as a actor and director. There are films a director feels they want to make and then there are the ones they feel they need to.

This is that story.

The short follows a character named Tom right at the point when he's decided he needs to make a change and seeks out therapy. We then see how his addiction is affecting his life between his therapist, best friend, and new girlfriend.

Now, this was a difficult short for me to get to making because of how personal it is for me. Of course, sometimes those make the best stories. They also make the most terrifying stories because now you're pouring yourself out to the world.

This post alone is very revealing and difficult to write but I've found that the things we hold secret often hold power over us. You may ask, why do I care so much about this topic? Short answer, because I've lived it. I've had a lot of friends who say to me, "No, you're not addicted to porn." No, not so much addicted anymore but I certainly used to be.

When it all started in junior high, I missed meeting, private musical lessons, isolated myself from people, and didn't seek out healthy relationships. I worked hard to look at women as human but more often than not I saw them as objects.

Yes, there was always part of me that could still see a human side, but at the same time I was scared; scared they would find out who I was, scared that I wasn't worth anything if they did, and scared of any and all rejection from anyone knowing about this dirty little secret.

And yes, my family knows about this and has for years. In various ways they found out. I'm sure at times one of us did not handle the situation with the correct response but the love still continues.

And that's the thing about porn. It kills love. One of my favorite organizations is "Fight the New Drug" (

Their slogan is "Porn Kills Love."

Part of what I love about this organization is that it has no affiliation. Why do I think that's important? Because they can take an approach to the harmful effects of porn that reaches out to everyone, no matter what they believe. Scientific studies have shown how porn alters brain chemistry and therefore affects how a person approaches society and relationships.

Fight the New Drug posts articles from porn addicts, significant others, family members, and porn stars who share their stories of the damage that porn has done in their lives. It's a lucrative business that pays a lot of money... and destroys natural relationships.

People are meant to love and be loved. There is nothing in porn that showcases love. It causes people to see others at objects instead of human. You wonder why in a porn saturated society people say men only think of sex? Well, I can tell you that porn is not helping. Truth is, we all have more going on in our brains then just sex, even if there is a biological drive there.

I didn't really understand what healthy relationships were growing up. I think I learned a lot of things on my own... a lot of things that were wrong. Over the years, through some intense romantic relationships, some of which I was trying to find a way out of a porn addiction, I very slowly started to understand what a healthy relationship meant.

There is nothing about porn that really makes you feel "good" other than the quick sexual release. Outside of the that, it's a tornado of negative emotions and thoughts. You start thinking you're not good enough, you're a horrible person, there's something wrong with you.

It's Shame.

It controls life and brings you down. See, love is a natural human response. We're made to love. We may have different ways of loving but we still all need love. It took me a long time to actually convince myself that I wasn't worthless. How long? Most of my 20's.

I spent a lot of my life bringing myself down. Even when I made friends, I'd still bring myself down. If something didn't go my way, I'd tell myself people didn't like me. When my girlfriend wasn't loving on me, I'd tell myself everything is wrong. I put my self-worth in everybody around me and then when I didn't feel like I found it, I turned to porn. It was always there, waiting to tell me that I was accepted.

But I wasn't really accepted. It was all a front. It was fake. A false intimacy.

There was nothing real about it. I was never really fulfilled by it. It was like being led on, dragged deeper into a hole I could never get out of. I was in such despair in my teenage years that I shed more tears than I care to admit, wishing it would just go away, not realizing that I had to do something about it.

I would need to reprogram my brain. I had to tell myself I was worth it. I had to find my confidence. I especially had to stop telling myself that if anything happened I was a terrible person. No one else could do it for me. And it doesn't happen over night.

It's still a good thing to get affirmation from others but we also have to take control of ourselves. Really, porn is a crutch and it doesn't create a healthy outlook on life or sexuality. If you don't take my word for it, just check out some of the testimonies at Fight the New Drug. Trust me, their powerful.

That's just a start to why I made a move about porn addiction. It's a passionate topic to me. It's important. A lot of people think it's harmless. Studies and testimonies prove otherwise.

This can't be taken lightly. And there needs to be love.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 21 - The Doug Jones Experience

This is one of the ways in which you might know Doug Jones; a brilliant character actor in a number of beautiful movies including my favorite film of all time, Pan's Labyrinth. This is how I used to know Doug Jones.

Now this is how I know Doug Jones.

Honestly, I am beyond grateful this man is in my life. And truthfully, were it not for his work in many movies that have influenced my life and imagination, it never would have happened. So there are two places I really must thank for this; Hollywood and the Los Angeles Film Studies Center.

Now, right now Sunday feels like the perfect day to write about Doug Jones. Why Sunday, you may ask? Well, for many Sunday is considered a day of rest and a day that we should reflect and make sure to show love to others. Not everybody feels that but many people I know. And Doug shows love for everybody when he meets them. True, he is only a man. But he is one of the most gentle kind and loving people you may ever meet on this earth. 

I tell my friends: "We need more people on this earth like Doug Jones." Anyone who's met him has not disagreed with me. 

When I initially met Doug, I had heard many stories. I really only just met Doug within the past year but if there is any one "name" actor I could ever meet, he has been that one. It's not just because he's in my favorite movie and played some beautiful characters. No, it's because of the man he is. Even if I never got the opportunity to get him into one of my films (though I'm quite sure it will happen in time) I would still want this man in my life. He enriches it and makes it better and I'm sure that's the case with many, if not all of the people he meets. I would still want to be his friend even if I don't work with him. 
Now, I will say this, if you meet Doug Jones, he WILL hug you. If you're comfortable with that, there may be more touching. Nothing creepy, of course. Perhaps, like Doug, we should instead call it petting. He has a special intuition for recognizing when people don't have enough touch in their lives. It's part of his loving and gentle nature.

He's played some very rough characters you wouldn't want to know in real life, which makes sense doing a lot of creature work, but the nature of Doug is nothing like most of the characters he plays. He is such a wonderful and beautiful soul.

If you get a chance, I would urge you to find a way to meet Doug Jones at least once. He's that worth knowing. He has enriched my life and I hope in some way, however great or small, he enriches yours as well.

Me. I'm glad to be able to call Dougie a friend. 

And I hope there will be many, many projects I get to work with him on in the future.

(And maybe if I'm real lucky, someday one of those projects will involve Guillermo Del Toro.)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 20 - Friends


These are the people that we all need. Of course, there are different kinds of friends.

There are the friends you talk to rarely.

There are the friends you talk to regularly.

And then there are the friends you are closest to and see them whenever possible.

I definitely have all of these friends. But the ones I always remember the most are the ones that whenever I go back somewhere, they are the first people that I want to see. Those are usually the friendships that last a lifetime, not just a season. These are the friends that you know you can count on, even when things get bad. They'll be by your side even if they don't agree with everything you've done or said.

Those are the friends who we can lean on when times are rough. That when we see them again after months, it's like nothing changed. You can do just about anything with them, it doesn't even have to require talking, and your just glad you were in their company.

Those are the best kind of friends.

I would say in any one place I've lived I've never had more than 4 of those friends. I would say there are 4 I would put in this category in my hometown, 3 in Chicago, 1 in Hawaii still, and 3 in Los Angeles.

Now, I must be clear, this doesn't mean the other friends aren't important. It's just, those specific friends are the ones I want to spend the most time with and see more than others. They are the ones I am more likely to share my deepest secrets with, have the best conversations with, and enjoy the time more than anyone else with.

I care about and appreciate all the friends in my life. They're all important. But we all need what we might call that "inner circle" of friends who we have those special connections with.

These are the people that will most likely help us when we're down.

Sometimes we all need a friend to lean on.

Friday, July 8, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 19 - First Relationships

Well, this post will not have any pictures for a couple reasons. First, because it would take up to much work to find anything related to it and secondly because it doesn't make sense to be posting pictures of my first ex on a public blog.

But here's the main point of this post: you can learn a lot from a first relationship. Especially if you really didn't understand relationships in the first place.

See, the thing is, with the way I viewed relationships in my early 20's, I saw it as the end all be all and if you couldn't find a girlfriend in college you were doing something wrong. I thought I needed somebody and I think I was a little bit desperate. I think I actually knew how to flirt but didn't know that I knew how.

And within 4 months of being away from home I was in a relationship with a girl that I was automatically bringing home to meet my family. You heard that right. After a month of dating she was going to meet my family.

I would still say the first 6 months were quite nice. I believe some people call that the "puppy dog" phase. But after that, we started telling each other our secrets and that's when all the problems arose. See, when the problems arise a balance must be struck so the relationship can be healthy.

This relationship never got healthy.

It kept getting worse. I started going to counseling for some things I was dealing with. She refused to believe there was anything for her to work on. No matter how much I loved her (and I did) there was literally nothing I could do that would have fixed things except do everything she wanted. By the time that relationship ended, I had lost almost all of my friends. I ended up with a whole different friend group.

When it ended, it turned out most of my friends didn't like her, never really had. Really looking back, she was a bit bossy, controlling, and very jealous. Truthfully the life I was pursuing never would have worked out had I stayed in that relationship.

But those 2 years were very important to my life. I started to realize I didn't need someone to complete me. I learned a LOT about women I didn't understand before. I learned more how to love on a truly deep and human level. I learned a hell of lot about how operate in a romantic relationship. And in those 2 years I learned way more about what it would be like to be married than I anticipated.

At one point a college pastor of mine told me that I'd "learned more in 2 years than a lot of people learn in 7 years of marriage."

That alone says a lot about that relationship. There were multiple times she stayed for long periods down in Kansas with me at my parents house. She even got a job down there one summer. I think a lot of my blind love caused a lot of people frustration. But hindsight is 20/20.

Then one day, after many events in our lives, we decided to needed to take a little time apart. So we did. And then my eyes opened and I realized how much I hated my life. So 2 weeks later I ended it and suffered through an hour of her pleading me not to do it.

And then she went spreading rumors that I had "used and abused it." No one believed her except her closest friends. A month later she was dating another guy that she's now married to.

And do you know what happened when they started dating? He wasn't able to hang out with most of the friends he had previously.

Perhaps the fact that our song had become "Last Christmas" might have clued me into something early on. Foreshadowing?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 18 - Remarks on Porn (Slam Poetry)

Living in a world of media saturated society where the webs of porn create dichotomy. A growing business destroying lives where on the outside the populous believes the ever growing lies.

Will we, do we, should we, could we look at porn? Is it fine to bring these fantasies into the bedroom? Or will we be left torn?

They say they love their lives and put on a sneaking fa├žade only to please the boys behind the curtain smoking their rod. Bitter, alone, and inwardly rotten, none of them want to change until they hit rock bottom.

What is this world we live in today? Where boys grow up in the porn culture and decay? Nothing is left to be able to connect and love. Instead we objectify and view women as conquests.

Unable to find intimacy we settle for control and consistency. Real relationships are unimportant when we can have what we want instantly. It’s a dismal world of dark distractions, the dirty little secret we keep for instant interaction.

We live with masks, the ultimate masquerade, parading around while ignoring the past. But the future knows full well the pain we will cause, only waiting to put the future on pause.

Once the bottom is reached we will see where we are, lost souls in the dark reaching out so far. Until we accept we are broken we cannot accept the loss we have taken. We must learn to be healthy again, changing how life and sex should be viewed.

Let’s take a chance and fight to view people as people instead of promoting lust as the modern steeple. We need to fill the hunger for broken love instead starving people for human connection. There is an epidemic of epic proportions we cannot ignore anymore unless we suffer from complete societal distortion.

This whole mess is underplayed and it’s time to take the power away. Open honesty and love is required to tackle this demon and rediscover relational intimacy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 17 - Crisis

This is more than just a problem. This is a crisis with our nation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 16 - Marketing of Love


Ah, yes, the thing that makes the world go round. "All you need is love." But what is love?

Let's look at a definition -

According to Google:
1. an intense feeling of deep affection (noun).
2. a deep romantic or sexual attraction to someone (noun).

1. feel a deep romantic or sexual attraction to (someone) (verb).
2. like very much, find pleasure in (verb).

1a. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
1b. attraction based on sexual desire
1c. affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
2. arm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
3. the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
4. unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

Now, the Greeks had 6 different words for love:

Eros or sexual passion
Philia or deep friendship
Ludus or playful love
Agape or selfless love, a love for everyone
Pragma or longstanding love
Philautia or self-love

Now, let's add one more thing interesting about love that came out of a book written by Gary Chapman that has a certain amount of weight in it's concept: The 5 Love Languages.

He says that there are 5 different types of love languages:

1. Gifts
2. Quality Time
3. Words of Affirmation
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

At one time or another I have received all 5 of these from people, especially my family, and everybody has their own mix of these of what makes them feel loved (I have recently realized how important physical touch is in my life, depending on the people of course).

So what's the point of all this, why did I just give you a bunch of information on the ideas of love?

Well, it's because I'm highly dissatisfied with the way that love has been marketed. I'm sure that if you watch most media you'll notice that love is almost always sold as romantic. 

The problem: this starts to give across the idea that romantic love is the only kind of love.

There is nothing wrong with romance. I myself am a romantic at heart but if the only kind of love is romantic then the only purpose of me talking to any woman on the planet should be to try and start a romantic relationship with her... and where does that leave my mom and sister?

Yeah, exactly. 

It doesn't make sense. Now, there is media that dives into the other side of love but it's not as common and even less commonly promoted. Take Valentine's Day for example. It's a day that celebrates love... but it's become a day that celebrates romantic love. There is no reason it shouldn't be a day to celebrate the love of family and friends.

We all need love. And not just romantic love.

It's fine to seek out romance but that doesn't mean you can't be friends with that person if a romance would not work out. It doesn't necessarily mean you'll be friends if you continue to be attracted in a romantic way, as that usually doesn't work out well, but throwing away a relationship where you have a mutual interest just because there is nothing romantic could be harmful. Even then it takes some discerning as there is always a line and unfortunately today with a highly sexualized media culture and underlying rape culture it is getting infused in the subconscious of men that women are objects, not people.

Relationship. There's another word that always get the wrong meaning. Today it always means romantic. But why can't you have a relationship that's a friend, a family member, an acquaintance. There are different types of relationships.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is we need to re-approach the way we look at love. 

We need to understand what makes us more than just biological creatures. We need to understand that love is about all people, not just one person.

Yes, there is love and it is also found with friends and family.

Monday, July 4, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 15 - Independence Day

Independence Day: July 4, 1776. The date that our country signed the Declaration of Independence.

It has become a day of celebration of freedom from the British and over time and has become a holiday that people don't remember the purpose of and instead has just become another day of celebration. And two major motion pictures starring Jeff Goldblum:

When I was a kid, I used to love shooting off fireworks. It was the excitement and thrill of lighting them, the colors they created in the air, the intensity of the explosions. I have many fond memories of setting off fireworks in the cul-de-sac right outside my house and then later in the countryside when they were banned inside city limits. I enjoyed time with family and friends with good company and good food. 

Then one day, I joined the Army. 

Through 3 1/2 years I was trained with a firearm, trained for the possible need to kill another human being, and trained to survive. I was fortunate in that I never deployed but sometimes with my training I felt like I had. After all, they were training us as if we would. 

And the thing about fireworks is: they sound like gunshots in the distance. 

I don't get freaked out by fireworks or jump at the sound but I can tell you that my heart rate elevates, I'm taken back to one of the most miserable and depressing periods of my life, and it's almost like I'm there again. True, I never deployed, but I can at least start to understand what those who did went through. 

I think that when it comes to the sound of fireworks it's not just the sound association. You see, when I was in those environments when gunfire would be solidified inside my mind there is something else I had: a firearm of my own to protect me. When that M16 was in my hands, I thought less about other gunfire. I think it's something about gunfire without a way to protect myself that gets into my head. I'm not sure. But that's what it feels like.

The point is, I understand what it's like to be a military vet on the 4th of July.

Nothing is ever the same, coming back from war or training in war. 

Life changes drastically.

Tolkien understood this far too well. And that's why the end of Lord of the Rings is so brilliant. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 14 - Self publishing

Today, the link for my first published novel went up on Amazon. I ultimately decided to self publish. And being a poor artist, I also ended up designing my own book cover below.

Link to my book on Amazon (soon available for Kindle but I recommend the hard copy form because it's formatted better):

A little history of this book (which is the first in a trilogy I haven't finished).

The first line I ever scrawled that this book would become happened in 2009 in a physics class. I had a thought that was a sentence and I wrote it down on a notepad.

Then, shortly before I joined the Army, I started the actual story. Shipped off to basic training, once I had free time there I had nothing more than paper and pencil. In that time I wrote the first 6 chapters of the novel, working my creative muscle and also entertaining the other trainees. When I arrived at advanced training, finally with access to a computer, I typed up those chapters and continued writing, finishing maybe about half the book.

When I shipped out to Hawaii, writing took a bit of a stand still at first. After about 6 months, I wrote a feature screenplay. Then I shot that screenplay. After principle production was done, I decided to discipline myself to write. I took out a template online with 365 days in boxes and I would write every day, checking off every box, no matter how little I wrote. Some days I wrote a few thousand words. Other days a few hundred.

In 45 days I had finished the novel while editing my feature and working on active duty in the Army. And I spent the past couple years, over time, coming back and revising the novel. Last year I tried to send it to publishers with no luck. I thought about it again this year but decided, in the end, that it was worth it to just self publish.

So that's what I've done.

I'm very proud of this book! I hope you'll enjoy Taron's journey as much as I have writing it and I look forward to completing his story for you down the road.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 13 - Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt has become a new epidemic in our country. These days it's nearly impossible to obtain a degree (other than an Associate's) without incurring some kind of debt unless you go to school many years after having saved, have a saving fund from your parents, or your parents are rich. And, of course, these days apparently many jobs have decided that you shouldn't only need a Bachelor's degree but a Master's degree, which is even more expensive.  Even now the public colleges are difficult to walk away from debt free and of course it's basically impossible at a private college, especially if you're from a family that is right in the middle of "making too much money" and "making too little" because then, according to the government or something, the parents should be able to pay for college. Over the years colleges prices have been hiked up yearly. When I started at an out of state private institution in 2005, the annual tuition, including my room and board, was a little over $19,000 (still a lot) but by the time I was finishing in 2009 the tuition had gone up at least $4,000. That's at least $1,000 a year. If we're going back in time and minimizing that cost, even though wages were lower, the inflation of tuition cost still flew much farther than the inflation of income cost. Today, in 2016, students graduating from college are basically at a loss.

So here I am, in the same boat as many other students, after having graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Arts that will never make any difference in the film industry. But I envy those people who say they only have $30,000 of debt or less. That's manageable.

To date, the last time I calculated over a year ago I have at least $150,000 in student loan debt.

You heard that right.


And do you know what the most money I've ever made in a year was, even while I was in the Army?
About $35,000.

If you do the math, unless I find some phenomenal paying job or break into the industry, not only will I never pay all that back, I'm basically guaranteed to go into default. Now, I'll be honest, I rarely talk
  about my student loan amounts to me. There are a number of reasons.

1. Sometimes it's embarrassing to admit it.
2. If I'm looking for a date it's definitely attractive.
3. I just don't know what to say because I don't know what to do in the first place.

But I think it's important for this crisis to be out in the open because I know I'm not alone in this and that's it's an epidemic that is also hurting our economy.


Because since students are graduating with student loan debt and unable to make enough money at the jobs they find, all they are doing is paying rent, for food, a phone, and student loans (most of which often goes to interest and therefore goes nowhere).

I ended up in the Army because of my debt. And it wasn't even because they would pay a lot of it back. In fact, when I enlisted, I didn't understand the repayment programs and therefore didn't have any of my debt paid back, which even though only would have taken care of my Federal loans, leaving about $125,000 left.

On the nice end of my service, I've been able to take use of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and go back to school and by the time I'm done I should have a Master's degree free of financial charge (it certainly was earned through my service). But that still doesn't alleviate the massive debt I've accumulated.

Now, I haven't calculated how much I've paid over time, though I know at this point it's a lot, but I left college with about $80,000 in student loan debt. That's nearly doubled and I've only paid off a couple loans, mainly because most of the companies I'm ending up paying interest only and the interest rates are nearly as bad as credit cards. On top of this, private loans have no real hardship relief, unlike federal loans.

I'm basically over time mentally preparing myself for going into default. Because unless something comes along, some miraculous break that pays well, I'm definitely going to default. Doesn't mean I'm not trying to pay the loans. Just means I don't have the money.

For all those out there sailing on the same Titanic ship with me, know you aren't alone. Don't let it bring you down. Keep moving. Drive on. We will find a way. And hopefully one of these days (hopefully soon) this crisis will be solved.

I know this was a long post but it's an important topic. One of these days I'll sure I'll have a film on the subject. But in the mean time, enjoy a few more political cartoons on the topic.

Friday, July 1, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 12 - Discipline

I'll be honest, keeping up with this blog and this concept hasn't been easy. Yet, I've only missed one day since I've started. I actually came close to missing today.

It all comes down to one word:


I've been disciplined to write this blog. Today I was disciplined to write two major overhauls on a short film script I plan on shooting in a couple weeks which nearly made me forget to discipline myself to write this blog excerpt.

Which is really short.

You're welcome.

Until tomorrow.