A BEGINNING, A.K.A. WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?
For this first post, let’s start with a confession:
More than anything else I do or have done professionally (i.e. for money) in my entire adult life, for many years I've secretly fancied myself to really be, underneath it all, a writer.
The truth is, though, that it's been many years since I've actively DONE much of it; any that I've shared publicly at least, aside from the random social media screed. Besides the other obvious limitations of that form, there are also issues of sharability, ownership, and permanence to consider.
For a long time now I've been sorting out how, exactly, to rectify this situation, and I’ve decided that this blog is the solution. I operate in a world of bilingual, cross-cultural communications every day, so I know that getting the tone right in this adventure will sometimes be a challenge, but I figure that if I at least state my (good) intentions up front and am candid and clear about things as I proceed, then I can be forgiven the occasional misstep - in theory. Right?
Cool. So: why a blog?
Well, for one thing, I need a regular creative outlet to encourage a proper writing habit, and having a personal platform that begs to be filled is a great motivator. And in an effort to integrate and consolidate my online presence, I want my thoughts to show up in one central place instead of being scattered across a half-dozen different websites, none of which I actually own. So I'll push OUT to social media, but things will START here.
I also have lots of random stories to tell, things that don’t necessarily fit cohesively into any one other place, which leads us to the next question:
What’s with the title?
This is where it gets weird, or maybe more interesting, depending on your point of view:
The short version is that given where I started from, in all ways, the expectations any reasonable person would've had for the trajectory of me and my life versus where I've actually ended up is nothing short of - well - crazy. The gap between those two things - what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, but what I call my reality - has at times made me feel a little crazy, too, hence the blog title. So acknowledging that it’s okay to be “crazy, but in a good way" has become the unofficial organizing principle of my life. It’s the only thing that - ironically - consistently makes sense as a philosophy for me, and I suspect that even more people will come to similar conclusions of their own as the reshuffling of the geopolitical order continues.
Okay, great. So how does this fine idea look in practice? Your mileage may vary, but my operating philosophy is try to take (only) smart risks, learn from mistakes, share the wealth of successes and the (usually) helpful pain of hard lessons learned freely, with others, in order to help flatten their own learning curves, and then I trust that they will share their own relevant lessons when I most need to hear them. In my case, self-reinvention has been both the secret weapon to my forward momentum, and the self-reinforcing result of it’s application. In the process, I try to do as little harm to myself or others as possible while avoiding stagnation at all costs. Then, repeat. GO.
The longer / more candid version is that, if you know the details, from an outside perspective my life story so far reads like the adventures of a slightly more self-aware Forrest Gump adrift across the entire spectrum of the international entertainment business, which isn’t horribly far from the truth. In my travels from Anniston, Alabama to Athens and later Atlanta, Georgia, then across the country to my long-time home of Los Angeles, and then now, all the way across the Pacific Ocean to my current home in Beijing, China, I've been fortunate to have and make and experience far more than my fair share of random and amazing connections and coincidences and collisions with notable and/or fascinating people, places and things along the way, and many of the stories and lessons learned are just too good / funny / weird and/or instructive not to share.
So I wanted to create a place to collect them all, in a way that hopefully doesn't make me look like a self-promoting jackass. That’s (frankly/admittedly) an inherent occupational hazard of the entertainment business, and will likely prove easier said than done sometimes, but that's the goal anyway.
And I figured that sharing these tales will not only help ME to work out and integrate some of the stranger questions and tangents and insights of and from my life into one cohesive meta-story, it might also help someone ELSE to identify and sort out the overarching themes of their own seemingly random lives as well - and then they can tell me or others what they learned, and the positive cycle continues.
Because - to get back to that Forrest Gump comparison for a minute - in retrospect, my own journey HASN’T been completely random. Along the way, I’ve used both conscious and unconscious strategy and tactics, combined with a massive amount of good-to-great fortune, plus some lucky recoveries from a few tragic, potentially debilitating missteps - moments that could have and nearly did end me - to get where I am and wherever I am going...but that’s getting ahead of the story.
For now, at the very least, I think this project could be fun for me and my friends to reflect on and engage with, plus maybe it's interesting for any of THEIR friends who see it, and in this day and age that ain't nothing, so off we go.
In terms of content, I'll use this forum to post about any and everything I want to, but will tag and categorize it in order to be easily searchable to anyone who randomly (there’s that word again) stumbles across it as well. When I have a lot to say on a subject, like right now, I can be a little bit long-winded (insert friends' and former students' knowing laughter HERE), so I'll try to be succinct wherever I can or should be. But I won't put artificial limitations on what I write, either. It's my blog, and I'll ramble if I want to. ;)
I imagine that I’ll mostly write about current events and relevant developments in the film business between the US and China, plus notes from my travels and then anything else I want to get off my chest or discuss with you here. And in between those topics, I'll add chapters to the backstory of my life as they occur to me - for fun, or posterity, or just to share the learning experience (and wow, have I had a few).
Think of this site as an asynchronous memoir of a guy who isn't famous, but who has some unusual stories to tell. I hope you enjoy it, and that this is worth the time it takes to read and write for all of us. Comment below if you like. Thanks. :)