Friday, August 29, 2014

Hangry - The 48 hour film challenge for Seattle

The short film I was Director of Photography on "Hangry" is now up on the internet for all to see. It was made as part of the 2014 48-Hour Film Challenge in Seattle. It didn't win any awards but we did get lots of good comments from viewers. My son Calvin also made his debut on a film set as the Script Supervisor. He also got credited as the Assistant Director.


Hangry on Vimeo (

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Death of Robin Williams and My Thoughts on Suicide.

There was a time when I had very little sympathy for suicide. It seemed to me like a cop-out, a giving up that was more about hurting those left behind or a way to get attention. I was detached from the experience, had no real exposure to depression and was pretty full of myself (being in the young and invincible stage of life). I remember a test in High School sociology class where the likelihood of suicide was 'measured.' I was in the group that wouldn't kill themselves because they didn't want to deprive the world of their presence. I thought that was pretty accurate.

Over time my understanding of suicide changed so that I could see how depression was a chemical imbalance that could sometimes be corrected with medicine. And sometimes it could not. And sometimes medicines that worked in the past would stop working and while looking for a new fix the depression would wreck a person's life. I also saw research that concluded that many suicides were impulsive and if the impulse could be interrupted then the attempt could be put off for quite a while; sometimes permanently but not always. The depression was still there; I'm not saying there is some miracle intervention.

But still I had little connection to what could drive a person to seriously consider acting in this way.

And then recently I went through a very difficult time. My entire life seemed to fall apart. I had what I call a mini nervous breakdown. My marriage was ending, my job was ending, my likelihood to continue working in my field seemed nil, the amount of time and money I had spent getting to this point was overwhelming, my skills in my previous profession had aged to the point where I couldn't get a job there either. I say my marriage was ending but it was a lot more than that. I had had one marriage end before and it didn't affect me this badly. I won't go into details here but this was the most painful time of my entire life.

I started walking, daily if possible, while listening to loud techno music. It seemed to help but not always. Sometimes my mind was a record that was skipping; running over the same things, the same thoughts 33 times a minute.

And on one of these walks, late at night, I saw it. Lots of oncoming traffic and the opportunity to step out in front of it. I watched it, saw what it was and knew. I knew about Spalding Grey. I knew about Kurt Cobain. I knew about David Foster Wallace. And I knew that if I could not resist this urge I would join them.

I did. I made it past. I walked that same stretch of road and watched similar traffic many times and thought about how close I came.

And so I hear about Robin Williams and I'm sad but I'm not judgmental. But I do remember a younger me that would have been. Reading recent comments from Henry Rollins brought me back to remembering a mindset I used to have.

I don't have an answer.