Thank You 2016

It’s a Thanksgiving tradition dating all the way back to 2009! If we’ve interacted about the film or my other work or if you inspired me in some way, chances are  you were thanked. Want to find out for sure? Just put your name in the search field.

thanksgiving_monsterMark Cantor, Paul Galloway, Tim Dodd, Oskar Munoz, Paul McAllister, Peter Miller,  Susanna Steisel, Florentine Films, Robin Stratton, John Nichols III, Liana Liu, Amy Linn, Paulette Livers, Anne Ferrer, Jon Henry, Ian McDonald, Terence Nance, Lisa Danaczko, Jan Freeman, Craig Urquhart, Steven Petrow, Beverly Sky, Leslie Pray, Christina Vogel, Lucinda Bliss, Laini Nemett, Bryan Reisberg, Katherine Smith, Chanelle Aponte Pearson, Larry Dark, Sara Pleydell, Kalia Pang, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Josselin Salazar, Phoenix Art Museum, Madeleine Cutrona, Charles R. Williamson Jr., Mikhail Hallak, Theresa Marchetta, Isabelle Prince, Keaton Hargraves, George Lugg, Didi Cao, Fang  Zhang, Matthea Marquart, Sara Nodjoumi, Mitchell Teplitsky,  Bill Diamond, Ly Ly, Beth Johnson, Leah Shore, Jan Svankmajer,

And thank you again to everyone who supported the crowdfunding campaign.

Continued thanks to these people (2015) these people (2014),  these people (2013), these people (2012), these people (2011), these people (2010), and these people (2009).


The Story Behind the Story

My short story, Lavender, is included in the Best of Boston Literary Magazine, Volume II. I am deeply honored.A Story Published in the Best of Boston Literary Magazine Vol II

If you feel like supporting a wonderful literary magazine, consider buying this paper book.  You’ll get a whole mess of short stories and poems that you can enjoy forever and ever.

About the story: It’s about grief and it is more nonfiction than fiction. I changed the names and the family’s nationality  and some smaller details but otherwise….

I based the story on a visit to my mother shortly before her death, and a few months later helping my widowed father move into a smaller apartment.

It took three years before I could approach the subject of my mother’s death. The urge to write it came while I was cooking–stirring tomato sauce with one of the wood  spoons my mother used in her kitchen. I thought: she made countless meals with this spoon. No, not countless.  Eminently countable. I put down the spoon, went to my desk and jotted down the line and the rest of the story was born from that. I wrote maybe three drafts of Lavender and the piece came together very quickly. That’s not to brag; the piece is very short, and for me, the shorter the story, the less time I spend on it.

I sent it around and the Boston Literary Magazine published it in 2008. It was the first time my fiction had been published anywhere.

And that’s the story behind the story.

Big huge giant thanks to Robin Stratton, who selected it back then and selected it for the Best of.

More writing here.

Banner photo by Peter LaMastro.

Thank You for Making the Indiegogo Campaign a Success!

These generous folks supported A Life’s Work during the recent Indiegogo campaign and are now part of Team Awesome.  They each deserve a post of their own, but I’m afraid this will have to do. For now!

awesome_004If you missed the crowdFUNding extravaganza, you can still become part of Team Awesome by going to the A Life’s Work project profile on the  New York Foundation for the Arts website page. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible and since NYFA controls how the money is disbursed, you can be sure it  will be spent on the film. (Read about NYFA and ALW’s relationship.)

Donate Now!

Okay, thank you to:

Bill Gonzalez, Forrest Wynne, Anne Stephenson, Karen O’Reilly, dfalk37, Cecelia Specht, Gayatri Martin, Dana Eugene Creasy, Ray Magee, Sherri Paris, Kathy Leichter, David Hartman, ecooney, cwood329, Robin Stratton, Anonymous, Manuel Olmedo, Aimee Madsen, Anonymous, James McNutt, Roberta Kowald, Gretchen Knudsen, Rob Elder, David Mayne, Ron Erickson, Will Georgantas, Jen Jorczak, Barbara Frank, ejewett, Kathy McGuire, AT Audio, Pola Rapaport, Greg Lichtenberg, Susan Robinson, Tony Tadey, Daria Price, Andrew Moore, Tara L. Masih, Anonymous, Anonymous, Rita Flores, Roberto Westbrook, thewrightcaroline, Dorothy Robinson, Danielle Futselaar, Julia Ridley Smith, Sarah Verasco, Randon Billings Noble, Niall David, Mary Toepfer Dolce, Lori DeFuso, selbe, Maura McEvoy, Wayne Olsen, Alison Victor, whatisart, Robert Featherstone, Jeff Jackson, Cornelius Sailer, Anonymous, David Licata (not me, the glass artist), Jessica Cowan, Amma Appiah, Kristine McInvaille, Louis Dallara, John Copenhaver, Kimberly Wendell, Laini Nemett, William Bailey, atk2, Beverly Sky, Cliff Garstang, David Cerchio, josiahmail, Laine Valentino, Lisa Heslop, Meredith Miller, corolla150, Charles Graeber, arcodesign, Diane Martin, jplhaupt, Renee Ashley, Laura Powers, Lora Vatalaro, Jeanne Larsen, Rob Venusti, Diane Kelly, Harth, Adriana Gatto, Steven Petrow, Rachel Cantor, Paulette Livers, John Metzdorf, Anonymous, Barbara Campisi, Alison Gibson, Alison Gibson, Marianne Yoshioka, Pola Rapaport, Lauren Taylor, Anonymous, Lisa Carey, Frances Bartkowski, Y.W. Chung, Robert and Mary Darden, aliceag, Stacey Derasmo, Scot Siegel, themehope, Jessica Lipps, Kyu Nakama, Jayne Marek, Brendan Hay, sciencewomansociety , Lucinda Bliss, James Carnahan, Paul Outlaw, Kimberly Johnson, Anonymous, J. Walter Hawkes, Kristin Licata, James McNutt, jahamad88, clof101, Charles Smith, Doug DeFeo, Evan Losow, Steve & Martha Oates, Cassandra Malatak, Rosario Strano, Bob Marovich, Linda Carlson, Faye C, Ed Kelle, Anonymous, Duane Kelly, Karen Bell, Mike Guarino, Judy Fox, David Lewis, Pedro Ponce, Anonymous, Kathryne Leak, Kate McGraw, Indrani Nayar-Gall, Megan McNamer, Joshua Zeman, John Egan, Edwin Stepp, Irene Westcott, Robert Gatto, Paul Lucas, Thomas Bachman, thedavidmiller, crackiecat, Anonymous, Laurie Marsden, Harry Goldstein, Leah Dimond, CM Burroughs, Jill Tarter, Kathryn Schwille, Louis Dallara, leamcox, William Heffner, Paula Whyman, Tina Schumann, Anonymous, Marcie Lenke, Jessica Rosner, Anna Licata, D.W. Young,  bb2316, John Martin, Meryl Meisler, George Kosmides, Daria Price, Judith Pratt, Judith Jones, Jack & Helen Axcelson, Jamie & Jennifer Newton, Marianne Petit, Wolfgang Held, Pete Pazmino, Benna Golubtchik, sgrace1122, Carmen Cormier, Jane W. Deschner, Charles Williamson, Jr., Jennifer Chen, Rob Licht, Ahmad Jarara, Roland Tec, Larry Dark, Heather Kabel, Anonymous, William Swearson, Corey Todaro, Stone Harbor Films – Judith Vogelsang, John R Yearley, danicanov, Audrey Ward.

I may (or may not) write something about my crowdfunding experience. If I do, you’ll see it here first.

And here are the video thank yous wherein I probably mispronounce your name. I’m sorry.

Thank You!

Bride of Thank You!

Son of Thank You!

Return of the Son of Thank You!

Thank You: The Final Countdown!

Bach & Parachute – Sound & Image for You

Here’s a video just for you. Cinematographer Andy Bowley was seriously captivated by this billowing parachute at Arcosanti.  I love listening to, learning and playing Bach. Two great tastes that taste great together. I hope you like it.

Prelude for Cello Suite No. 1 for Guitar.  Recorded super lo-fi in my living room.

Why Crowd Funding Now?

A Life’s Work is  midway through a 30-day crowd funding campaign via Indiegogo, which has partnered with the New York Foundation of the Arts. Here’s the pitch video.

I’ve written about crowd funding here before, and the take away is if you want to reach your goal, start early (check), don’t do it alone (check), be prepared to work hard (my pecs are primed), and set a realistic goal. (Is $30,000 realistic? Is the $40,000 stretch goal doable? Guess we’ll find out.) (No, and no.)

I’ve also strongly advised that people have a campaign either in the early stages of a project or the very late stage of a project. People are more inclined to support beginnings and endings. “I’ve got a film project in mind and I have great people excited to work on it and I need a little money to shoot a kick ass short film that could be made into a feature if it’s seen by the right people, whom I know!” Or “We’ve finished shooting, we’ve finished editing, the composer is lined up. What we need now are funds for things like color correcting, sound mixing, E&O insurance and all sorts of boring but expensive stuff like that.”

A Life’s Work
is in the latter category, and that’s why it’s up on Indiegogo now. Personally, I know I’m more apt to give money to projects during these phases, and of the two, more apt to help out a project that just needs a little help to become fully realized. Knowing that my contribution is going toward something that will soon be in the world excites me. I and a whole mess of other people recognized that there was something special going on. We decided we could help, we could be part of it, and gave a hand to the creator. I feel like a patron. I feel a sense of pride and something like ownership.

Support ALW via Indiegogo or buy 5 Starbucks ventis.Being the person I am, I quantify my contribution. Let’s say I gave $25. A Starbuck’s latte venti, costs $4.45 before tax and is 240 calories. My $25 dollars could buy me 5.61797733 lattes and contribute 1,348.31461 mostly unhealthy calories to my body.

Now, a ninety-minute film is 5,400 seconds. Let’s say this hypothetical film was shot on video at 29.97 fps (frames per second), we have 29.97 x 5,400 seconds or 131,838 frames. Now, let’s just say that that the total budget for this hypothetical film is $80,000, from soup to nuts. By dividing the  dollar amount by the number of frames, we can calculate how much each frame costs. Each dollar will buy 1.647976 frames, which means that my $25  bought 41.199375 frames, or about  1.5 seconds of the film . So, if you, Dear Reader, were to contribute $25 to such a film, you would be responsible for making those crucial 41.199375 frames possible. If you don’t think that’s a big deal consider a film that’s missing that number of frames here and there. It might look like this:

So, if you feel like owning a piece of A Life’s Work,  go over to the Indiegogo page and buy yourself some of the film.  You’ll also receive some cool rewards.

Thanks for your continued support.

Nine-Year Old Blog

The A Life’s Work blog is nine years old today. So much can happen in nine years. For example…

The fourth subject of the film, Robert Darden, was chosen and we interviewed Bob in Chicago and Waco.

I visited the White Mountains in California and shot Bristle Cone Pine trees.

Bristlecone Pine treesEditing.

A work sample screened at IFP.

The Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in Santa Fe, NM, was shuttered.

Paolo Soleri retired.

We interviewed Jeff  Stein, A.I.A.,  in NYC.

Paolo Soleri died.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture reached out to The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, and the latter gave the former access to its vast collection of digitized music and related materials.

The Allen Telescope Array was hibernated due to lack of funds.

The SETI Institute did a crowdfunding campaign and raised enough money to bring the ATA out of hibernation.

Allen Telescope ArrayEditing.

Jill Tarter retired.

The Champion Tree Project swapped shingles, changing their name to The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive.

I was interviewed by a few people about the film (and my writing).

The blog went on hiatus.

The blog returned from its hiatus.

We interviewed Jeff Stein at Arcosanti.

Jeff Stein takes a photo of his interviewers.Editing.

We shot Arcosanti with a drone.

A Life’s Work received contributions totally more than $3,000.

A bunch of really great people contributed blog posts.

I wrote a lot of blog posts — about 500.

Think about what transpired in your life in the last nine years. Kind of amazing, right?

Donate Now!


A documentary about people engaged with projects they may not complete in their lifetimes.