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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Retrospect

And here we are again. Another year has come and gone. Where did you go, 2008? It seems like I hardly knew you and honestly when looking back I'm kind of glad. It's a year that I hope to never have to re-live again.

When I look back I can only think of one thing that typifies this past year. 18-1. And I mean that in much more than just the literal sense. When I think of 18-1, I think of what could have been. Because really 2008 was full of many lost opportunities. Let's take a look back...

After catching some extremely bad luck, something finally fell my way when I got a job working for a top tier literary and talent management company in April. Everything was great at first. I was learning a lot and even though I worked long hours, I didn't mind. In May, I took a temp assignment within the company that was very difficult, but I stuck through it and lasted on the desk for six weeks. I was even applauded during the staff meeting for stepping up.

Then, I started another assignment in late June and it would be my undoing. I was working for two assholes, who had little to no compassion. I was put in a tough position of being offered the position on a full-time basis in August and accepted. I was their fourth assistant of 2008 (the three others quit, two in less than a month). Soon after I realized it was a huge mistake. They gave up on me and I gave up on them. I officially gave notice in October and left in early November.

I don't really have any regrets. I was a beaten man. Not really happy with myself and I don't want to live like that. I don't want to have to get high every night to simply kill the pain of a long work day. More importantly, I don't want to turn into the people I work for. I don't want to be alone in my 40s. I don't want to try to be picking up random girls on facebook and telling people I'm a big deal, when I really am not. I looked around there some days and the majority of the managers there had nothing, but money and their career. What is really more important? I thought I knew the answer, but 2008 showed me a different perspective.

I can honestly write here that I lost my passion for the business. At least in the sense of making major motion pictures. I still do want to produce, but only independent work. I like to describe the film industry as a bunch of bullshit. Really, it's a bullshit business that you really don't understand unless you've sat on a desk at a major studio, agency, management, or production company. Yes, it's high pressure and sometimes millions of dollars are being discussed, but should it really matter if you don't answer the phone right away? Or respond to an instant message in five seconds? Half the time you get yelled at for menial things that really don't matter in the big picture.

I just don't know if I can do this type of work for the rest of my life. If I do, then I may be dead by 50. It burns you out. Especially when you feel like you're working even when you're home. I never felt so tense in my life. I just know that if I do take another entertainment job in 2009, then I will be very conservative in accepting any offer. I'm not going to fall in another trap again.

It was also a tough year as I lost my Aunt in February. She was 86 and living in a nursing home after suffering a stroke in 2006, but it was still extremely difficult. She watched my sister and I a lot when we were kids, so I have a lot of memories and still miss her. Then, my grandfather suffered a stroke in November, but is pulling through. He has fully regained his speech and his mobility is getting better, so at least that is good news.

In politics, Barack Obama became the first African American president. While that is exciting, it was disappointing to see California ban gay marriage. I will say that voting in person for the first time was definitely one of my highlights of the year.

In sports, I watched the Patriots blow their chance at being the greatest team of all time when they were upset in Super Bowl XLII. I think it's safe to say that the Patriots were probably the most unlucky professional sports franchise in 2008. They lose against the Giants to go 18-1. Watching that final drive again, I simply scratched my head how that all went down. Then again, I'm not going to get into it. This season there was hopes of redemption, but Tom Brady went down in the season opener with a torn ACL. Matt Cassel did a great job coming in and led them to an 11-5 record, but the Pats still failed they to make the playoffs. Finally, to top off the year, there are reports Brady might need even more surgery and miss all of 2009.

The Red Sox put up a gallant effort to repeat as world champions, but fell to the Devil Rays in game seven of the ALCS. The Bruins fell in game seven to the Canadiens even though they were a number eight seed. Yes, the Celtics won the NBA championship and that was probably the only team to fully reach its potential in 2008. Then again, I guess one championship is better than none.

Will 2009 be any kinder to Boston sports? The Celtics are in good position to repeat. The Red Sox should contend. Though, I think 2009 could the year of the Bruins. I like this '08-'09 team a lot and maybe they could finally put together a playoff run or do I dare say Stanley Cup championship.

As we shift to movies, I watched the 2007 Oscar season get all screwed up due to the WGA strike. Then to make things even worse, I only predicted 15 out of 24 categories correct. Though the icing on the cake was watching Paul Thomas Anderson lose Best Director and Best Picture for There Will Be Blood to the damn Coen Brothers and No Country for Old Men.

I did move to Hollywood this past year, but I would say there is a very good chance that I will probably move again as I simply can afford to live comfortably in a studio at this point in my life. I have managed to pay my bills and all, but there is no cushion to save any large amount of money with the type of salary of I was earning.

I'm not really sure what I want to do in 2009 with my career. As I stated previously, I still want to still active in the film industry, but I may very well try to get another job in the day. I have a vision of what I would like to happen, but I need help from others and I'm not sure it will happen. I don't anticipate this vision to be carried out for another couple years, but it's something that needs to start happening soon.

I'm also seriously considering going back to school to get my masters degree. And believe it or not, I'm not thinking film. I want options in my life and I think a masters would give me that. At the moment, I'm not going to say what I'm thinking of studying, but I think it would be very beneficial to not only me, but others.

Speaking of others, I'm still flying solo and would really like to meet someone who shares the same passions in life as myself. Will I meet her in 2009? I don't know. I would really appreciate a little help from my friends, but that seems to never happen. Apparently in this day and age, people don't set friends up on dates.

I look back at 2008 and think what could have been. I also look back and see all the possibilities it showed me. Some good, some bad, some ugly. It's part of life. As shitty as some things were this past year, now comes the test to see it I can overcome it all and still succeed. And this past year also showed me that success comes in more ways than one. Everyone's success is measured differently. What's more important is whether you think you're successful and that's how I'm going to live in 2009. I don't really give a shit about what other people think because if I did, then I would still be working at that management company getting yelled at by two assholes...

My New Years Resolution(s):
- Blog more
- Predict a perfect score at this year's Oscars
- Work out more
- Drink less beer
- Smoke less cannabis
- Buy a hamster
- Buy less DVDs
- Save money
- Join Big Brother
- Save the world from global warming
- Watch all five of P.T. Anderson's films in one day
- Study even more about The Beatles
- Have lots of sex

Happy New Year
Mikey Filmmaker
12/31/08

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