I continue to have an excellent summer filled with friends, family, fun -- and learning.
I enjoyed combining both friends and learning in my latest short video piece. All shot and edited in a few hours at the lake house retreat of one of my best buddies. AND I added my new animated logo in the opening. I created the animation on my own. I didn't need to hire anyone to make it for me, or use an expensive design website. Nope. Taught myself.
What a super empowering feeling THAT was. Yeah.
And I continue to discover that examining life through video is expanding my perception and feeding my curiosity in new and vibrant ways. For this, I'm super grateful. Because life -- at least for me -- is always about staying curious.
So, if you are seeking 4 minutes and 30 seconds of peace from your day, I hope you will check out "Summer Daze: Pocahontas Lake".
Summertime rocks in my world because the slower pace always allows me more bandwidth to broaden my creative skills.
One of my main goals for this summer has been to up my video production skills as I prepare to add video journalism and other forms of video content creation to my creative arsenal.
It's been amazingly easy so far to find affordable opportunities to learn the basic tech and techniques surrounding shooting and editing. I even learned how to fly a drone! Meetup groups and Apple Store classes have gone a long way towards providing creative support and expanding my expertise. It's all been super fun and all the workshops have either been free or crazy cheap, which is always a nice bonus.
After just a couple of Apple Store workshops, I not only got a lot more familiar with the iPhone's video and editing capabilities, but I also started to learn to look at the city in a much more focused way. This led to my first assignment to myself, which turned out to be an homage to New York City's street food scene. I produced this "quick and dirty" style, with just the general idea that I wanted to cover food trucks -- no shot list, no storyboard, no narrative arc, not a lot of time to shoot, and I edited the whole thing on my phone. Shooting and editing this short piece was a blast, and I can't wait to dig in again soon with my next New York City-themed short. Coming soon! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Street Food Fantasia...and sorry if it makes you hungry.
I recently went on an amazing two-week adventure in Europe. What made it amazing is not as obvious as you might think. Yes, I saw beautiful sights, ate delicious local cuisine, and savored that sense of freedom and perspective one experiences far away from the day-to-day cares and concerns that typically feel sooooooo important. But it was the totality of the trip, and all the creativity and diligence I invested in planning it, and what I learned (and re-learned) about myself by traveling solo that brought the greatest joy and rewards.
This isn't the first time I'd been a solo traveler. The first time I traveled alone was on a 10-week backpacking trip through Europe in my mid-20's. All that I had available for guidance and communications back then was a dog-eared Let's Go book and an AT&T phone card: no cell phone, no social media, no widespread internet in those days. And certainly no WiFi. Email existed, but I wasn't an early adopter.
That backpacking odyssey helped to shape a core part of me. While the overall trip went really well, some things happened to me that were less than ideal, or I made less than ideal choices that got me into a couple of less than ideal situations, and I had to figure my way out of them, language barriers and all.
And I did. And everything turned out fine. I learned how to adapt when a plan falls through. That there's no point in getting upset. You can always figure out a Plan B, C, D, E, or F, and then you just make the best of that new plan. And more often than not, that Plan C or Plan F? It often turns out to be just as good -- or maybe even better -- than Plan A would have been.
I've traveled solo to some foreign places since that epic backpacking adventure. However, the last time was back in 2010. A weeklong trip to Paris, a city where I've traveled numerous times over the years, and have some command of the language. So, as this latest trip finally approached, despite my previous travel experiences, I was admittedly a little anxious. I was going to be staying with family in Vienna, so I knew I had support there, but for the other two legs of my trip -- Budapest and Prague -- I knew no one, and certainly didn't know the languages.
And, again, everything turned out fine (even with a handful of mishaps along the way). Better than fine.
Like my backpack excursion all those years ago, I planned everything on my own. But now, with cell phones, the internet, social media and email, everything was a lot simpler this time around. Although, there is also a lot more information out there to sort through, so it's easy to get overwhelmed. I soon learned to do research up to a point, and then just make a choice, and be okay with the results -- end of story. (Another traveling lesson that will now apply to other areas of my life!)
Perhaps the most surprising thing I discovered about myself on this trip was that I am not addicted to travel. I thought there would be a good chance that I'd be despondent when I got back to New York City. But when I arrived home, despite all the experiences I will remember for a lifetime -- I was really glad to be home. Glad to get back to my life, my family, my friends and all the mysteries and messes that lie ahead.
I love travel and experiencing new adventures -- especially on my own. This trip reminded me of that. I've begun making a list of cool places around the world I've never been to, and I plan to visit at least one new place every year. Just knowing that I have the freedom and fortitude to travel solo, if and when I choose to, well, that was this trip's most valuable souvenir.
Thrilled to have been invited to participate in this super fun and spunky play festival for the fifth time at New Ohio Theatre!
Got a chance to watch rehearsal last week and, based on the quality of the various plays, performers and director within my grouping, this is clearly going to be a great one! A small sampling of the talented playwrights involved in this festival are: Maggie Bofill, Anton Dudley, Katherine Clark Gray, David Lawson, Mona Monsour, Kate Moira Ryan, among many, many others.
If you've never gone to one of these and want an authentic independent theater experience, then spend an hour or so one evening June 2-4 and check out The 5th Annual New York Indie Theatre One-Minute Play Festival!
In my in-depth interview with playwright Cori Thomas and director Kent Gash, discover the fascinating process behind the development of Thomas's new play Lockdown inspired by the lives of the inmates she interviewed at San Quentin State Prison.
Lockdown opens today, May 2, at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
I was really psyched to get this recent Op-Ed piece I wrote picked up by the multi-award winning NYC weekly, The Villager.
April is National Volunteer Month and, as someone who is devoted to serving the arts and my community, I thought it was a good time to encourage people to take a little break from their Twitter feeds, and consider getting out there and doing something more truly hands-on.
Hope my piece inspires you to do some giving back in your community!
My interview with Matt Williams is now one of my new favorites.
In our in-depth exchange, the veteran sitcom writer-producer -- and playwright -- opens up about his career path and his widely publicized "epic battle" with Roseanne back in the day and how that ultimately led him to his next best thing.
Williams seems like he will always be a playwright at heart, though, despite his TV success. And, as he prepares for the Off-Broadway world premiere of his latest play, Actually, We're Fu**ked at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre, he describes the impulses that drove him to write the piece and why this "old white guy" thinks he has the perspective to tell a story about four potentially "fu**ed" Millennials.
Backstage.com recently included Mad Libs Live! in a feature publicizing an upcoming production of the show near Austin, Texas!
What's so extra super-cool about this production, though? The cast may include kids as young as 14! I don't think any MLL productions have cast kids so far, but it's an exciting idea on all kinds of levels and I look forward to more young talent participating in future productions!
In the meantime...put on your cowboy _____! Texas! Yee-haw!
This column on the Jackie Robinson Museum is one of my favorites to date because I am so excited for the museum and all it will represent. I also learned a lot about the amazing Jackie Robinson Foundation, which has been sponsoring wonderful programs for decades.
The Jackie Robinson Museum won't open until December 2019, but there will be related events in NYC and throughout the country all year in commemoration of Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday (January 31) and in celebration of the museum's opening.
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Recent news and latest updates on my writing and artistic projects. Also check back here for occasional tips and observations on creative writing and theater!
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