WATCH AS I STOP BEING A JACKASS FOR TEN SECONDS
Allow me to take a few moments to do as I so very, very rarely do. That’s right: I’m going to be serious here. Or mostly so, anyway. Yes, OK, I will probably make a dick joke.
You know me too well.
I would be lying if I said anything other than that the last 4-6 weeks have been a swirling, twirling, nigh-overwhelming little adventure for me. That’s not complaining – it’s been a hell of a fun ride seeing my very first movie come together, and I’ve tried to take it all in as much as possible. You only get one first movie, right? Some people only get that one. If they’re lucky.
Most get none, though. And that’s been the point that’s been so hard for me to reconcile. I got one. I really, actually, literally, somehow got one. And until recently, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
The first time I realized what was actually happening was the day the first GOING THE DISTANCE poster popped up on the Internet. It kind of blew me away. For the first time – even after having watched the movie in various forms on a dozen occasions – and with all apologies to Martin Lawrence, shit got real. But not even remotely in the same way as when the first trailer showed up not long after. All of a sudden, people who weren’t my parents and who didn’t work on the film knew that it existed.
A movie really isn’t a movie until portions of it are served up to the public, a baby bird nudged out of its nest by its wary, ever-attentive creators. For me, it was thrilling and nerve-wracking to see it happen, and once it did…I become completely aware of something:
No matter what happened next, my all-time, hands down, best-case-scenario dream was going to come true. A movie that I wrote was going to be released into theaters for (conceivably) the entire universe to see. And you know what? That’s scary on such a profound level that I almost can’t understand it. It’s a feeling that I think would be indescribable to anyone, the sense that everything you ever wanted has fallen into your lap…and now what? It’s all downhill from here, isn’t it? It won’t ever be this good again, will it? Those questions tumbled over and over and over in my mind the last couple of weeks, threatening to stomp all over the last vestiges of sanity I felt I might be clinging to. And there’s only one thing in the whole wide world that I want to say to all of you for putting me in that position:
Thank You if you had ANY hand at all in getting this movie made and/or out to the masses. I know some could use this sentiment as an obligatory throwaway, but I appreciate the effort every single last person put into this production. I don’t care if you were a producer or the director or the lighting guy or the guy who sawed shit or the caterer or the travel coordinator or an assistant…I just won’t be able to adequately express my gratitude. Whether you were one of the main cogs or the grease that allowed the entire mechanism to rattle to life, I could never hope to repay you.
Thank You if you’re any of my family or friends who constantly ladled upon me your undying and unyielding support. This is how impossibly awesome the people in my life are: I have had so many calls, texts, emails and messages that I absolutely cannot even begin to think of responding to all of them. Again, that’s not even me complaining the slightest. Even though I feel terrible that I haven’t been able to get back to each and every one of you…what kind of lucky bastard EVER has something that great happen to him? The meaningfulness of such is completely incalculable and I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever forget it as long as I live. Please know that if you sent me a word of encouragement, excitement or congratulations over the last few weeks, it has been received with a broad smile and a full heart, even if a reciprocated communiqué never precipitated.
I hear a lot of people who have “made it” talk about the hardships they faced, the people who didn’t believe in them, the assholes who spit in their face and told them they’d never make it, the roads that were blocked, the hardships they triumphed over. I don’t doubt that many of these stories are true. It’s just that I never had that experience. I never had anyone I love tell me that I couldn’t succeed. I never had anyone I cared about tell me I was an idiot for trying. I never had anyone who was important to me trying to knock me down.
If you ever want to get a look at the most fortunate guy in the entire world, come knock on my door someday.
Finally, Thank You if you go see this movie in a theater, or buy the DVD, or watch it on a plane, or catch half of it lazily on cable a year from now. Thank You for giving my little movie a chance. This has absolutely nothing to do with dollars and cents; if you saw it and hated it, hey, I’m not mad atcha. Thanks for giving it a look anyway. If you saw it and loved it, I’m glad I (and, obviously, everyone else who worked on the movie in any capacity) could bring a little extra light to your day. The goal of any artist in any medium – I don’t care what the cool kids say – is to get their work to be seen and then to be discussed. If we hit you in the breadbasket and you walked away with an emotional erection (there it is), I’m eternally giddy. If you walked away wanting your $10 back, I promise I’ll try to ensnare you the next time.
And so that dream, she’s come true. And it was over the last couple weeks that I mulled over what this meant, struggled with its implications, fought back the fear that found its way into my mind. And over the last couple days, I’ve realized that it’s this very kind of fear that is the perhaps the most inconsequential, mostly because I’d been looking at all that was going on around me in the wrong light. So here’s my final Thank You.
Thank You, all of you, for making me not only the Guy Whose Dream Came True, but also the Guy Who Now Has an Excuse to Make New Dreams.
Thank You for the best moment of my life.