I know, my life is surrounded by music. I do radio in the morning and when I am doing things around the house I jam to Zac Brown Band or my favorite Reggae station on Pandora. But I really miss playing music. There was a time in my life when I went to band practice in a cool warehouse and we ran through our 45 minute set of originals 3 times, three times per week. We were tight. The guitars were heavy, the bass melodic, the percussion insane. We were a ‘musician’s band’. People used to come see us just to watch Denny Greco play the drums and to listen to all of our odd time signatures and changes. We dressed in bowling shirts, or all in red, or all in purple. We had super 8mm film projectors playing strange things, upside down lamps, a typing marionette that was beat to death with a golf club by Brian, the frontman. We were Phonetic Plumbing and it was 1994. Marilyn Manson was getting signed by Trent Reznor and Interscope/Nothing records and they had a signing show at the Plus Five Lounge in Davie, FL. The who’s who of the South Florida music scene was in attendance. I can’t remember who they were now, but back then I knew all of their faces, names and their music.
It was the height of the Seattle grunge scene and we were kind of on the outer fringe of that type of music – at first. Then we skewed even further out of that realm into something that was pretty crazy. My musical style was more blues and southern rock than the rest of the group, but I could chime in with a decent mix of the styles so it all worked out. We never did anything with our music. Honestly, there is so much I cannot remember from those days and it has nothing to do with drugs or drinking. We experimented with stuff, but we were serious about our goals and getting into real drugs was never on the menu. We did some cool stuff that, at the very least, was fun to listen to when we were all together – but nobody really cared when it came down to it. Our music had a niche audience that we never were able to reach. Common tale for many a band since bands were invented.
We got some music on the local radio – The Local Show – on 88.5 WKPX, which was Piper High School’s radio station. It was cool to hear our song on the radio. We’d try to request it as much as we could and make the list of most requested. In my previous band “Wood” we got to number one once, I think. I don’t remember that too much either. I do remember that we had to fire our bass player from that band. He was a good guy and was studying law. He was married with a young baby and of course the band was just a hobby, even if he shared our collective dream of getting signed. When we started to write more complicated music, he had a tough time keeping up. He was never a solid bass player when it came to keeping time, which is kind of important in the rhythm section. So I was elected to tell Mitch he was no longer in the band. I cried afterwards because that’s the kind of guy I am.
One day our frontman decided we should move to San Francisco. I wasn’t about to move to San Francisco. Such began a quick decline in the band’s future and overall relationships. Most of us have remained friends over the years and thanks to Facebook, still keep in relative touch. I miss playing music though. It was such a wonderful high and really got me through some tough times. I started playing A LOT of guitar when my life changed drastically when I was 18 and for years after, my guitar was an extension of myself. These days, that part of myself spends countless hours in my basement. That is a shame and I want to pick up the axe again and play. It has been so long that it is actually frustrating to play now.
It all started with a tuna sandwich and an unsweetened iced tea. Henry left his lunch on the picnic table outside in the office courtyard, he forgot his smokes at his desk and there was no way in Hell he was going to miss his after-lunch Marlboro. Henry lives for his simple pleasures: smokes, cocktails and sneaking in the supply closet with Lacy, the Boss’s Executive Assistant. Henry plays a little loose with his morals. “It’s fine,” he thinks to himself. “Twenty years as a Catholic will do that to ya.”
When he returned to the bench he was surprised to see a fox eating his lunch. “Get outta here dog!”, Henry shooed. Instead of fleeing into the safety of the nearby wood, the fox turned his sleek face and glared at Henry. “I’m not a dog, you ape!” Henry froze in fear and wonder. The fox maintained his eye contact as he continued to chew the tuna sandwich. “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever had a conversation with a wild animal before?”, the fox confidently asked. “Um, not since college.”, Henry stammered. The fox laughed, pieces of tuna fell from his mouth onto the ground. He jumped down and quickly lapped up the tuna chunks. He reached out his front paws and dipped low, stretching his back. He shook his head quickly, licked around his mouth and with the grace of a cat, jumped up on the table to resume his meal. Henry just stared at the fox, internally questioning his own sanity. With his back to Henry, the fox continued, “So, you did a lot of drugs in college? Is that what you meant?” Henry widened his eyes and shook his head as though he just snapped out of a trance. “What? Yeah, um Yes.”, he was incredulous. “I mean no! I didn’t do drugs but that was what I meant.”, said Henry. The fox just grunted and sniffed the iced tea bottle.
“Hey. Wait, what’s your name anyway? My name is Lewis.”, the fox said, sitting back on his haunches. Henry blinked a few times, “Henry. Henry Jones.”, he said with a weak and cracking voice. “Oh, please say Junior, that would be too much for me to handle!”, the fox guffawed. “What?” Henry was getting angry. “Like Indiana Jones! Henry Jones Junior!”, the fox cackled, doing his finest Sean Connery impersonation. “You can talk AND you’re well-versed in 80’s pop culture?”, Henry yelled. The fox nudged the bottle of tea with his nose. “Hey Doctor Jones, can you open this tea for me, I don’t have any thumbs.” Henry cautiously glided over to the table, avoiding the chunks of sandwich the fox dropped on the ground. Henry opened the tea and slowly placed it on the table. With this right paw, the fox knocked over the bottle, the tea emptied out on the table, splashing between the planks onto the ground. The fox quickly lapped up the tea, his paws shook the wetness off instinctively while the tea continued to gurgle out of the bottle. Henry snapped up the bottle and twisted the cap back on. The fox looked at him with excitement, licking his paws and around his mouth. His head snapped back and forth from the tea on the table to Henry with the bottle. “Why did you do that?”, Henry protested. “What? Knock over the bottle to lap up the tea? I’m a fox, how the hell else would I do it? No thumbs, remember?”, the fox replied. “Well, you could have asked me to get you a bowl or something. More than half went to waste when it spilled on the ground.” Henry looked down and noticed the bread crusts from the sandwich. “I also find it interesting that you didn’t eat the crusts.” “Yeah, I don’t like the crust. Since I was a kit I’ve hated the crusts.”, the fox chortled. “So, who made you sandwiches when you were a kit?”, Henry asked. “Again, must I remind you that I am not a raccoon, so I don’t have need little hands.” quipped the fox. ” I’m a scavenger and a thief. I’ve been stealing food. I don’t like to kill for my meals.” He started licking his paws and then moved onto other parts of his body. Henry looked away uncomfortably. “Do you have to do that in front of me?” Henry whined. “Oh, my bad…” chuckled the fox, “…sometimes I forget my manners. The fox took his snout out from between his legs and started licking his paws again.
Henry stared in silent wonder at the fox as he cleaned his crimson fur. He could not believe that he had spent the last few minutes speaking with a wild animal. “So, you don’t kill?” Henry asked. “Nope. A buddy of mine still does and I hate it, but he’s a little closer to the wild than I am.” “Can he talk?” The fox sneezed, then yawned. “He can talk, but he chooses not to. That’s true with most animals.” Henry crinkled his brows and pushed his chin back into his neck. “Really? All animals can talk?” The fox sat back and scratched his ear with his hind leg. “Oh that’s better. Goddamn fleas. Most animals…For example, cats cannot talk. Well, they probably can, but those pompous assholes choose not to.” Henry laughed, “I hate cats too, that’s funny.”
The fox jumped down off the table and did his normal stretch. He trotted up next to Henry and sat down like a dog expecting a treat from his master. Henry went to pat him on the head, but the fox growled and snapped at his fingers. Henry pulled them back quickly and shouted, “Hey, what the hell?” “Henry, when you make a new human friend, what do you do?”, the fox asked in a monotone. “What?”, Henry gasped. The fox started scratching again as he attempted to clarify his question. “Would you pat your new friend on the head or would you shake his hand? People need to realize that when you pat us on the head it is really demeaning…and don’t give me the dog argument, because dogs don’t count. They’re brain-washed. Sorry do-mes-ti-cated. Little fools that live for that shit…petting and whatnot. Animals in the wild want a little more out of life than the excitement of hanging our heads out of the window of your SUV on the way to some manicured dog park.” Henry nodded his head, signaling that he understood the fox’s etiquette lesson.
Henry crouched down to the fox’s level and extended his hand, all the while making strong and sincere eye contact with the fox. “It was a real pleasure to meet you, sir. I hope you enjoyed my lunch and I would be honored if we could meet again sometime and discuss any topic that interests you.”, he said. The fox raised his paw and allowed Henry to take it in his hand. They shook. The fox then scurried off into the wood. Henry cleaned up the remains of the lunch he never got to eat. He lit his cigarette, sat down on the bench and smoked.
We’ve raised Zero dollars to produce #BottomFeeders
Yes, that is correct. However, we are not properly plugged into any kind of network that would have an opportunity to raise funds. I do know that my pursuit for investors has clearly outlined which people in my life believe in my goals and which ones see what I do as a fairy-tale waste of time. That’s quite alright in my book. I won’t hold a grudge, but I will also not smile and hug when things go well. I will not allow them to congratulate me and tell me they knew I could do it, because they really couldn’t care less.
So, What’s Next?
We are going to reschedule this production for next year. June/July of 2018. We will be mapping out our strategy and tackling it after the coming of the New Year. It will include crowdfunding and networking with people who have the means or connections to invest in a hilarious indie feature with a wonderfully talented cast. We have some other ideas up our sleeves that we will roll out soon enough.
We’ve all known a Wormtongue. This is the person you’ve known for years or it is someone you barely know. A friend you’ve hung onto over the years for whatever the reason. Maybe this person was part of your “old crew” from when you were in your freewheeling younger days and he or she reminds you of the time when you didn’t have such responsibilities. Who knows, but we all know a Wormtongue. What is a Wormtongue? OK, I will explain for those of you not versed in the J.R.R. Tolkien character.
Who or What is a Wormtongue?
The name itself hints at something undesirable. Worm-tongue? Gross! Who would want a slimy slithering tongue? Nobody I would want to be close with. It seems like someone with that name would be bad for me. Correct. In the story, Grima Wormtongue was the King’s right-hand man. His advisor and confidant. He advised him on everything from how he felt about his own children to the laws of the land. Grima was an important man in the court of the King. The only problem was, he was a corrupted man. He became a spy for the Wizard Saruman and facilitated the possession of King Theoden. He whispered spells in the King’s ear until the King was compromised. He aged unnaturally fast. He looked sickly and lost his zest for life, his love for family and his honor. (Spoiler) Grima Wormtongue was eventually tossed out of the court and Galdalf the Wizard reversed Saruman’s spell of possession.
Now, think of the people in your life. Do you know a manipulative and negative person who whispers things in your ear that make you less than you wish to be? It gets better, because this person may not be whispering in your ear, but in the ears of others. He or she may be spreading lies about you because of some strange desire to destroy you. Or for a more Machiavellian desire to be powerful. This person is a Wormtongue for many others and has chosen you to be the subject of his or her spells…destroying relationships…your reputation. This person may also be telling you things about others in your life. Pitting you against them so there is tension and angst. These are Wormtongue’s Elixir of Life.
What Can You Do With Your Own Personal Wormtongue?
The most successful way to “cast out” this demon of manipulation is to confront it head-on. If your network of friends or co-workers clues you into the hissings and whispers of this nasty individual, you must face the demon. Your Wormtongue might advise you to hire an ape on your film crew. Would you listen? Of course not, so why listen to other things – like when your Wormtongue talks smack about a friend or colleague? I have a friend who is a very good guy and has had some bad luck. He has a Wormtongue who is manipulating others against him. Hopefully he will adress this person head-on and cast this person out. Wormtongues destroy your soul. Cast out your Wormtongue.
Yes, I just finished The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I don’t read anymore for so many reasons, so audiobooks are my thing. This one was narrated by Jeremy Irons! There is nothing like Scar from the Lion King reading you a bedtime story! I think my favorite part was when the Sun spoke with a Cockney-ish accent. So, holy carp man-bat!
So Fitz, What Did You Learn?
I knew this story before it unfolded. It was a lovely fable and very entertaining. Not sure if it was the writing, the reading or the wonderful mix of the two, but I loved it, despite it being predictable in places. The only reason why it was predictable to me is because I am very familiar with the concept that inspired the story. I read about it in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I watched it in the documentary The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Though the steps and explanations may vary, it is still the story of following your “Personal Legend”, or your “Burning Desire”, or your “intentions”. These stories attempt to teach you to listen to the Universe – your God – your heart – whichever speaks to you. In The Alchemist, the Shepherd Boy seeks a treasure he dreams of. He learns many lessons along the way, each one leading to a new adventure and a new lesson. He applies what he learns and advances to the next step. As the reader/listener, you can pull any shiny nugget of wisdom that speaks to you. I found a few nuggets.
My nugget is my own, my precious.
I don’t need to tell you what my nuggets are. Frankly, few of you want to see my nuggets, (wink wink) – neither would I if I were you. BUT – now that we’re on the same dirty page, follow me into the Hobbit hole. I know the Universe wants very much to align me with my dreams. I know this, I can feel this – but it’s not a guarantee. I know that I must accomplish things, learn new lessons and follow the language of the world (nature?). I know that the answers are on the wind, in the sun’s light and in nature around me. There is no way to quiet my mind and completely stop thought. I will try instead, to focus that thought on the language of the world which is love. Once I am one with love, I can be one with my goals. I know, it sounds like a bunch of crap I got from a story about a kid who talks to sheep and searches the world for wine and falls in love with the first girl he finds in the desert. I jest, of course. The point is that the fear of the failure is worse than the failure itself. The failure will provide a new path and I must follow that path to the next failure, until I can hear and understand the omens and learn where my treasure truly exists.
That was fun! Plus, I had a great workout and run today. I was chased by a bat. I had no idea Fairport, NY was bat country!
Just to reiterate, I am writing for myself. Yeah, I could keep it in a journal on a drive that only I have access to, but I am naturally a glutton for punishment. I also have some illusion that someone will take the time to read these and drop a nugget of good advice. I feel lost. I feel like I cannot see the forest for the trees.
There Is No Heading to This Paragraph
I’m the goof. I’m the clown. You need a quick joke – I’m your guy. I’m not the guy who can tweet wisdom and get likes and retweets. As a matter of fact, when I do tweet, even if I think it seems deep, nobody gives a shit. The fact is I’m a clown on a small radio station – and people listen to that for the music and not for my silly quips. I get that now. I am also cognizant of the fact that people close to me don’t care that I want to make a movie. I’ve “made movies” before and they have donated. Nobody has much faith in my skills to think that investing in a project I am putting my heart and soul into is worth it. It is a sobering thought and I have pondered its significance for a while.
I teeter back and forth between throwing in the towel and being a silent suburban automaton and actually “burning my ships” and going for it. I’ll mow my lawn twice per week; I’ll run out to get the mail moments after I hear the familiar groan of the mail truck; my garbage will be out on Wednesday evening, ready for an early Thursday morning pickup (unless there is a holiday that week – then we shift that to Thursday evening and Friday morning). Bored yet? NO? Great! It’s not a bad existence if that is what you want. It’s a trap, though. Humans were not designed for such a life. We were destined to appreciate the finer things in life. I don’t mean yachts and private jets or sports cars either. I mean love, friendship, joy, happiness, freedom of spirit. I mean the lack of real stress. Throw a rock and you will hit a guy or girl who has made millions telling people how they climbed out of their pit of debt and desperation. Imagine a life where you have your bills paid (or you don’t even have bills!). A life where, when you wake up, you can decide which adventure you’d like. How do you get there? I know the answer is slapping me in the face, but I am so numb from all the slapping, I cannot feel it. Kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees.
I think in pictures. I think in story. I think in terms of emotions. Logic is my enemy. I go with the gut so often and I never learn. I see a creative goal that I wish to achieve and I strive to achieve it. I have fallen flat so many times I’ve lost count, but I still try. This is to my detriment, unfortunately.
Holy Crap I Need To Write That As A Movie!
Easier said than done. I have creative ADD mixed with procrastination and pepper in some impatience laced with self-confidence issues. Yes, I am a God awful mess. I have had some glorious moments in the past, creatively, though they were so long ago, I cannot remember them. I think they were mostly musical – back when that was where my heart was.
It Started With A Stratocaster
When I was 18 my life drastically changed. Why? I followed my heart, unfortunately. Needless to say it changed and I had to continue down the path of wayward creation. My pal Denny and I started playing music together. I had a nice guitar and a crappy amp. He had a crappy drum set (it was mine, actually) but he was pretty good. He got great. Greater than great, actually. If you were to ask anyone from those days about Denny’s drum prowess, you would get a voluminous response. The kid has skills and he progressed exponentially. I was a self-taught (save for a few lessons) guitarist and what I lacked in technique I made up for in heart. We ended up playing some very interesting music together and I am proud of those days. Had I stuck with it, I am sure I would be a pretty damn good guitar player now. But….creative ADD strikes again!!
Is Blaming My Flakiness on Creativity a Cop-out?
Yes, yes it is. Unfortunately, it is also a golden rule for me. I’ve allowed my emotions to make decisions for me since I was 18 (maybe even earlier). Those decisions have proved to be about 50/50 successful. I guess that’s not bad for me. Thankfully, I have an understanding and loving family. I am referring to my parents and my two brothers, who have bailed me out of so many ‘tight spots’, that I cannot ask again. Also, I am 44 and should be able to bail others out of their tight spots. This is not the case, unfortunately.
This brings me to the present day. I often have my fingers in a handful of really cool and exciting projects, none of which materialize for a multitude of reasons. The main and most painful reason is that I am probably not talented enough to actually do them. Case in Point: “That is a great story, it would make a fantastic movie!”. I say this on so many occasions. I have notes and notes of the beginnings of great stories, no endings. Most don’t even have a middle. I guess that is why I’ve only ever completed short films. They all have surprise and abrupt endings too! Why? My ADD kicked in at some point and I devised a way to finish the script quickly.
I didn’t intend on this Blathering to be a Fitz-bashing.
But that’s how it ended up. I have had a tumultuous relationship with my wife and children since day one. My kids don’t know the difference, my daughter has all of my creative ADD, and I am excited and sorry for her at the same time. I have driven my wife mad over the years. That’s an understatement. Sometimes I think that the life I am living now is kind of like Jacobs’ Ladder. (Spoiler) this whole life is me on my deathbed because my wife murdered me in my sleep. I wouldn’t blame her. I am quite impressed that she has not covered my face with a pillow yet! I am pretty difficult to live with. I have few handy skills, even though my family is chock full of carpenters and contractors who can build you anything you want. Because of my ADD I can start projects and then get overwhelmed and move onto something that is more fulfilling. I’ve gotten better. I complete most home-related tasks these days.
If You’ve Made it This Far, You’re My Kind of Friend
Thanks for reading, I just needed to vent. I didn’t get to vent enough, but I should probably stop here. I have a show to do.
“Desperation is a stinky cologne” – Chief Grady, Spurbury Police
I pride myself on how I smell. My wife often compliments my lack of odor even after a 30 minute run. You will be happy to learn that I did not plan on blathering about my musk, however I wanted to write about some sage advice I received yesterday after my scribble about optimism. Apparently I am trying so hard to bring about action that I might be pushing it away. I googled this concept and found a plethora of videos that spoke directly to single men about how trying to hard to get a date will most certainly result in the opposite. You’ve seen it, I am sure. Maybe, like me, you have been “that guy (or girl)”! Trying so hard to impress the opposite sex that you actually made sure that he or she would not touch you with a 3.5″ pole (Yes, I did). Looking back, when I finally gave into the translation of the Doris Day mantra of “What will be will be”, things lined up nicely.
Maybe God, Buddha, The Universe or Bob Marley
Whomever you follow, there is one rule: it happens when it happens. I’m not versed in the laws of Bob Marley, but The Universe as an intelligent power will deliver when it wishes and not a moment sooner. It’s similar to the chic restaurant popular with the Rochester upper crust: you get your dinner when they are good and ready to bring it out. You could go to a fast food chain and get it right away, but it is not necessarily better because it’s fast. Unless you really enjoy things that are bad for you. If you are one of those folks, I recommend Taco Bell. 🙂
Thanks to people who actually give a rat’s ass.
I appreciate my friends who took a few minutes to join my journey of catharsis. (Or is that through catharsis?) My determination to both reteach myself to write and stay motivated to improve myself artistically and professionally. I am 44 and I should have done this when I was 24. I started to, but so many things got in the way, like dreams that were not well-planned, distractions that were in liquid or smoke form and women. This was a fun process today because I learned a few things about myself that I already knew but didn’t want to remember. Specifically how much Taco Bell I used to eat and what that did to my digestive system.
Check out Bottom Feeders – my current “trying too hard” over-obsession
[vimeo 222292133 w=640 h=360]
When was the last time you decided you were going to accomplish a goal and really had no idea how you were going to accomplish it? Have you ever attempted such a daunting undertaking? It’s one thing to decide to lose 40lbs. or maybe get yourself out of debt. The tools on how to do it are right in front of you. Change your diet, exercise, send out resumes to get a new job, cut your spending, etc. Now, imagine you want to create something out of nothing and you need a shit-ton of money to make it happen, but you don’t have the money to do it and if you tried to save it up yourself you would be neglecting the family you support! Yes, I am talking about this movie again. I cannot stop talking about it because it is my “burning desire”. The biggest problem is we are constantly in a holding pattern for whatever reason. We’re always waiting on someone else. We’re waiting on “connections” to people who might have the means to invest in our film. We decided to finally put together a crowdfunding campaign and solicit friends and family and others for donations, but we are waiting on others for things we need to get it going. I have started working out, running and eating right again so I can get myself back to the healthy state I was in a few years ago. I quit drinking too. this is a big deal for me to do and I plan on sticking to this plan until I can fit into my 34″ waist pants again and not feel like an oaf when I get dressed up in buisiness attire.
I am really struggling to be positive here.
I get it, I really do. People have their own struggles to deal with and they don’t need to help every artist that comes groveling for funds. I know people who say: ‘Just make your movie, I did!” Most of them are in their 20’s, they are single with no kids and were smart about their credit cards. I am starting this journey at 44 years old, with 3 kids, a wife and a mountain of personal debt. Blah blah blah, I know. This doesn’t mean I missed my shot. I refuse to believe that. I go into each day focused on my goal and each day I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything. I have reached out to people for help, only to be brushed aside and not taken seriously. I have tried to ask professional people what they charge for their services, but the majority of them have not replied. There have been a handful of amazing people who have donated their time and expertise to this dream and they will not be forgotten. The others, the ones who don’t have the time for me now, they will want a job from me one day. I’ll be nice and hire them because I’m not a vindictive dick, but I will remind them and hope they change their ways.
We are making this movie for people our age (late 30’s-late 40’s) who are fans of kevin Smith. We wanted to produce a film that was a throwback to the 90’s indie scene and thumb our nose at the big budget reboots. We posted our teaser in a Facebook group devoted to Kevin Smith fans and they all seemed genuinely interested. Two of our cast members have a direct line to the man himself, so it is not impossible that he sees this and perhaps takes interest. Yes, it is a long shot, but what the heck, I’m not getting any younger.
Ok, I wrote this to make myself feel better. I have to do a radio show now.
Reach out to invest in the movie. At the very least you’ll get your money back and help start a momentum that will pay you dividends for years to come.
The power to focus one’s mind on a singular goal is essential to success. I’ve read this in so many self-help books from Napoleon Hill to Denis Waitley. If I had the power to explode someone’s head, I am not positive I would use it. ( I am also not positive I would NOT use it – so there’s that.) I am pretty sure I have an ADD-ish brain, so my thoughts switch as often as I blink, or close to it anyway. I have been focusing on the $250K that we need to raise to make Bottom Feeders. I’ve visualized friends approaching me, wishing to invest because they know I am a talented guy and I am due. I have visualized Kevin Smith himself catching wind of this movie and offering to put it out as a new View Askew production. I have visualized so many scenarios and none of them are taking shape. I know that the Universe aligns itself with one’s consistent thoughts and positive emotions (at least that is how I understand the Law of Attraction) but I think I need to focus on one scenario. We need $250K to make this film, so we can start momentum and make more films and keep making films in Rochester, NY. I want to start a mentorship program so that others can follow in our footsteps and make filmmaking accessible to anyone. Currently, if you want to make a movie the right way, you need seasoned professionals. Those people have families to feed and they don’t work for free. Some of them have helped me out and I have promised to get this momentum going so they will have more work. I need your help. I need investors. This film is going to be great.
If you want to master the process of meditation, which is key to the success of attracting what you want, you should check out this article.
UPDATE 7-7-19: We have not gotten to 250K but I will admit I have failed in my visualization exercises. We are trying to raise at least 100K now and there is about one week left as of this update. We can still make this movie even if we only reach $30K. Donate here: https://igg.me/at/bottomfeedersmovie/x/100286#/