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Wednesday
Jan082014

THE SURVIVOR

51.7 Million people watched the finale of the very first season of Survivor.

I wasn’t one of them.

But during this season, the world of pop culture would become become intertwined with that cast, and more specifically, with a personable gentleman… a YMCA coach from South Jersey named Gervase Peterson.

About a year and half after doing his thing in front of 51.7 million people, Gervase and I were on the set of “13th Grade” working together.

From where I’m sitting. Gervase’s career trajectory is a story of inspiration, opportunity and why it’s smart to “always take the gig”.

After Survivor, G was EVERYWHERE commercials, appearances, hosting, and a recurring role on a soap. From there, he took more advantages of these opportunities…his brand expanded into merchandise, sales, appearances. Then after “13th Grade” appeared in films, TV shows, pilots, we’ve worked together about 4 or 5 times, and let me tell you, from the director’s chair, his performance in our TV show “WATCHING THE DETECTIVES” as sharp tongued and sharp witted detective “Otis Kaygee” was absolutely outstanding. Every take was gold.

Like any career in this business, it’s a serious pendulum, with the great moments come some not so great ones, and it can happen that quickly. However, Gervase never stopped working, as I sit here typing this, he must have ten jobs. I know this because I have ten jobs (our jobs hilariously intersected on the field at a Philadelphia Union soccer game last fall). Actually a lot of people from the Philadelphia area seem to have 10 jobs…Questlove of the Roots, G Love, it goes on and on. Must be something in the water.

So imagine my surprise when my cousin Brian sent me a facebook message “Gervase is back on Survivor!” I had no idea, I’d never really watched that show. But here we are, 10+ years later, something like 27 seasons later, and there’s Gervase in the final top 3 of Survivor, that million bucks easily could have been all his.

Gervase’s story is something we can all take into the new year with us. The opportunities, the opportunities to grow, to learn, to try new things, to just always keep going, to keep working no matter what, because life has a great way of rewarding those efforts. So raise a glass to the new year, and to all the opportunities and ideas that you’re all chasing. In 2014 one way or another you’ll definitely see his performance in WATCHING THE DETECTIVES because that show is too much fun to hold back on it any longer! Happy new year all, now, let’s get to work…

Take care and be good,
Tim

Wednesday
Dec042013

"So Many Ways"



About 2-3 weeks ago I did a test reading for a studio film that shoots in London this summer. This pic came back to me this week saying “thank you”. It was unusual for me, because, first off, it’s a blurry picture of myself. 2nd, it was a screen test, it was basically a fancy audition. It was me on a job interview. A million people do a million job interviews, do we see accountants who interview get pics back from their firm? Do we see interviews for taco bell get a still frame of their job interview? So once the oddness of it passed, I started thinking. I started thinking about that room. How many times I’ve been in rooms just like that. How many times, all of us, in some way or another, have gone into a room, maybe like this, maybe in front of a crowd, maybe to give a speech, pitch or presentation. We all probably start in the same mindset, that initial bit of anxiety, you know it’s like for even the briefest of moments, we go back to the middle school version of ourselves “oh no, these people are going to hate me”. I think our success in rooms like this in any job and in any walk of life, is how long we keep that “middle school anxiety” in or out of our heads. I used to let it run me. In those VERY early days, I used to go in there and be so vanilla and bland, because that was me thinking maybe that was the flavor they wanted. Then one day, I just stopped thinking about that and just decided to just have a little fun with the material. The second I let it go, I let that anxiety go and just do what I do, results went in my favor immediately. Then a little while later, I was lucky enough to be on the other side of that table, where I was directing, where I had the “job interview” and I figured it all out,you all have more power than you think you do in rooms like this. These things, no one hates you, they’re actually rooting for you, they want you to be “the answer” so badly. So embrace it. Follow your instincts, trust yourself, get comfortable with your flavor, we’re all a little weird, embrace it. In my case, in a room like this, I may have 2 minutes to try and do the following things:

1. “wow” you.
2.Let you know I’m super fun to go be stuck on location with at 4am when we’re filming
3. Sell myself, that I can do this job, and do it well.

I walk in there as pretty much a complete stranger, and I have 2 minutes to do all of that. That’s no time. I have some friends who are musicians, and they have that same feeling “People give our music a few minutes to make an impression before they move on”, but again, this is any job in any walk of life. In corporate jobs, a friend told me that in her interview they said “look, we work in a small office, anyone we hire, needs to be someone fun we can work with”. See? How many qualified resumes/interviews did they look at and toss out? They were looking for specifics (she got that job by the way HOORAY FOR FUN). So many times, there are other factors involved BEYOND who we are and what we do, so sometimes the best thing, when these things are over,is to walk out of there and do our best to forget about it. Normally it works, except for a certain prestigious tv show that brings me in 3 times every season and says “Tim we need a 6’1 blue eyed Irish looking kid” then I never hear from them until the next time and think “I AM THE BIGGEST LOSER IN THE WORLD. THEY NEEDED A GUY WHO LOOKED LIKE ME AND I SOMEHOW BLEW IT”. (don’t do this, this is a dumb thing to beat yourself over the head with, plus no one in your life ever wants to hear you talk like that)

I was on the other side of that table in that room last year for a film called SUHANI, I wrote it and the mighty Mauro Giuffrida was directing. Mauro, who’s got a great eye, all across the board, his eye for the camera is outstanding, but so is his eye for talent. Those 2 days of auditions and screen tests, they were brilliant. It was just great theater with these wonderful actors that Mauro had brought in. It was the first time where I felt anxiety on the OTHER side of that table, because there was so much talent coming in, how was he going to narrow it down? It meant some of these brilliant actors and performances weren’t going to be chosen, I almost ran home to do a rewrite of the script, make it 506 pages long and with parts of everyone. But Mauro was looking for those “intangibles”, he was, in his mind, matching these characters up, “who works here in this key scene?” “Who can be funny there?” “How does this couple look matched up?” he was looking for so many other things. By the way, I’ve seen the finished “Suhani” and it really works, Mauro knew what he was looking for, and he did it. He doesn’t like it when I give him compliments, so I imagine he’ll probably hate that I’m putting this online.

So, back to looking at that room. Looking at that blurry picture. We’re all in this together. Me making that face, it’s a face we’ve all made (though I bet you all made it look way sexier than I did YOU DID DIDN'T YOU). We’re just trying to go in there, do our best, and get the job. Will I be in London this Summer? Seriously, no idea. I went in there, got as comfortable as I could, and for 1-2 minutes, did my thing. So go, go give a speech, give that presentation, go for a dream job interview, do your thing, go big, have some fun, show ‘em all what you got. I think if you stay true to yourself, you’ll do great. 3 weeks left of 2013, let’s make ‘em count…

Take care and be good,
Tim (AKA that guy in the blurry picture)

Monday
Sep162013

"Monday, Monday"


You know, Mondays get a bad rap.

I know I know, everyone gets back to the grind after a little weekend time, but Monday is also a clean slate, a whole slew of new chances to get something going, a whole bunch of opportunities to find that “dare to be great situation” (Thanks Lloyd Dobbler) that’s how I’m looking at it today. I’m knee deep in some wonderful little projects, including 2 documentaries I’m really excited about, prepping 2 shows, and working on a feature film with a budget and fancy names, but in this weird little world, there’s so much stop and go, so so much of it, so much “this is happening! It’s been greenlit!” by the time the ‘T’ in the word “greenlit” is pronounced, it already had been shelved. It gets like that with any job, the huge anticipation, knocked over by a “wait, not so fast” and this isn’t just me, this happens all the time, Zach Braff ended up kickstarting his next film because of how frustrated he got with the stop and go, and even the wonderful Eddie Burns last week tweeted “Doing what I always do, writing the next script while trying to get the last one funded” it’s just the nature of the beast (Though Burnsy has Spielberg and Hanks on speed dial, a definite plus).

So with all of the uncertainity, insanity, and creativity mixed with frustration, sometimes the best way to deal with these curveballs by just keeping an open mind, looking for a punctuation point, looking for that moment where you can say “oh yeah, life throws you all kinds of nonsense, but I’m going to put in a few extra hours this week and try and win one”. Today, my punctuation point is this Monday, and check this out, I scouted a location for the feature film, will we use it? Maybe not, but a view like this isn’t a bad way to kick off a brand new week and brand new set of opportunities.

T.G.I.M.! Ok, that’s a bit too much. I should delete that line.

Have a great week everyone, hope you all find an opportunity for a dare to be great situation for yourselves. I’ll be trying to do the same thing here.

Take care and be good,
Tim

Thursday
Jul252013

"BOOGEY BOOGEY BOOGEY"


The story of “DOWN WITH THE BOOGEY” is a very odd and complicated one.

In the world of indie film, I’ve always found, that to have a successful-no-budget indie one you should hit these certain “marks”

1. Principal Filming Completed. All your script pages and all of your actions and talking heads and whatever you were filming, wrapped.
2. Post production. This is where so many indies fall apart, the hard part of editing, and I’m guilty of this myself, is seeing “mistakes”, things you missed or didn’t get quite right, the mistakes will swim in your head, they’ll haunt you. I imagine, many a film has died at this stage. I’ve found, for me, when you’re in this phase, and it’s not going so great, go home, work it all out, walk the dog (if no dog available, maybe borrow one) sleep on it (your thoughts not the dog), normally, there’s an answer in your head waiting for you when you wake up.
3. Once your film is edited to your satisfaction (easier said than done, I’ve watched my stuff in theaters wishing I had an extra take or two of certain parts) then you get it out there, on the road at festivals, screenings, or get it to distributors. Pray hope everyone loves it. Never believe the filmmakers who say they don’t care what audiences think. We’re in the storytelling business. When you tell your story, you want it received, for me it’s my favorite part.
4. If a distributor bites…CONGRATS! You’ve won this level!

Or did you win? Because BOOGEY did ALL OF THIS, and it won!

3 times.

Wow what?

See? Odd. Complicated.

“DOWN WITH THE BOOGEY” first and foremost started in the brilliant, hilarious, warped and twisted mind of Jack Knapp. He writes a script I’d been in love with since I got to page 13 of it, he directed a beautiful and original film with this incredible cast of talents, from all over, assembles a fun little film, we threw some test screenings, we get out to LA in front of an academy award winning production company who’ll release this and BOOM, done. By the time credits rolled on BOOGEY, it had a wonderful little deal. Seemed easy. TOO EASY.

Of course, like anything, things change, personnel changes with the company, and we lose a HUGE fan and absolute champ named Ari Silber. Ari was an ally, a pro and just an all around good guy. He’s since gotten involved in charity work and if he brings them the same levels of effort and care he brought to Boogey, there are some charities are likely booming from his participation. From there, the new personnel was still on board for Boogey, and things were all speed ahead….until the night I left for Sundance in 2012, the company went belly up, everything fell apart. Not even a call. Weird right? No worries, because a 2nd distributor was in almost immediately, then that deal hit a snag, and that’s when a 3rd flew in, promised the world to our fearless director Jack Knapp. Unfortunately when the world is promised to you, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the world can be a screwy place.

So now what? Jack said it plain and simple “let’s just give it away”

WHOA WHAT. Yep. The important thing here, and it’s what we all set out to do, is to make a really good and original film. Mission accomplished, I’ve personally been dying to share this thing as soon as it wrapped. Jack Knapp is one of those storytellers, if you follow him online or on twitter, he’s just a naturally great storyteller. He also happens to have a great and unique vision in the film. If Jack was doing a film adaptation of the phone book, I’d campaign, audition, beg, stalk just to get cast in the role of “LAST NAMES THAT START WITH THE LETTER O”.

Not only is “DOWN WITH THE BOOGEY” coming out. It’s coming out for FREE. Please watch it, love, it, see this little film we’re all so proud of. Not only is it coming out for free, it’s coming out for free TOMORROW.

So there it is. 3 distributors, 4,098,871,246 cast members a couple of years in development, and here we are….hours away from finally being able to share it with you. I’m pretty excited to share in this story, the same way I was excited to share this story when I got to page 13 of the script many moons ago.

Details will be announced very shortly and I’ll be sure and post any links and all info right here on this space!

So please, get your favorite snuggle buddy, a few snacks, get comfy and get ready for BOOGEY to enter your life.

Take care and be good,
Tim


Wednesday
Jul032013

"OHHH We're Halfway There, WHOAAAAAAAA"

Here we are in July, halfway through the year. I always felt like THIS is the time to go make those New Year’s Resolutions, because who really wants to make them in January? We just came off a holiday season filled with snacks and spending money, I bet everyone’s January resolutions are like mine “get into great shape, save more money”, I think the year needs to breath a bit, then make our resolutions…

A bunch of interesting conversations happening lately, a lot of good folks want to try some brand new things, not new things like “maybe I’ll try Diet Coke and REALLY give it a chance this time” I mean people are looking to change their games, start a new career, start a new thing, try some new things. It’s been wonderful, I’ve been lucky enough to be in these conversations. The common factor seems to be “well isn’t it too late?” It’s not too late for anything at all. I am, right this very second, watching footage on my other monitor of a film I’m directing right now, about a young man, who, one day, gave up his cushy corporate job, and followed his dream. It’s called “Just Bennie” and so far, the footage I’m watching is beautiful, it’s inspiring, and really, it’s never too late. I know a kind man, after losing his wife, retired from his job, and started a rock and roll band. The late great James Gandolfini didn’t become the iconic TONY SOPRANO until he was almost 40. Sting didn’t form The Police til he was almost 30. Dan Hedaya, who was “Nick Tortelli” on Cheers and “Cher’s Dad” in Clueless (as well as one of my favorites “A Life Less Ordinary” he played “the man upstairs”), didn’t get started until he was around 40, he had a career as a school teacher. Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer didn’t win a World Series until he was 48 years old! I say, go for it, it’s never too late for anything, I’m no different, last weekend I was “THISCLOSE” to buying these drums.

I don’t know how to drum, I do know how to make a racket though. Get out there, have some fun, try some new things, make your own racket and tell your stories, people will want to hear them, they’ll be inspired by them. I wish you all so much great luck with it all.

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