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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Retrospect

"While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." - Apple Think Different commercial

Where have you gone 2011? Can you believe this is the fifth retrospective I have written? Whether I like it or not, time really flies. I'm writing this retrospective later than any of the previous ones since I'm trying to decide what to write here. I remember watching The Beatles Anthology and George Harrison said that Rubber Soul and Revolver could have really been called part 1 and part 2. I feel the same way when looking at 2010 and 2011. I wrote last year about planting seeds and watching them hopefully grow in 2011. A lot of those seeds are still in the ground. As the old saying goes, patience is a virtue.

The defining moment of the year was finishing grad school in December even though I walked in May. I started my journey at LMU in 2009 and I can't believe how fast it went. Walking across that stage was crazy. I just hope it opens up opportunities both personally and professionally for me. In my exit interview, Dr. DeSena told me about a former student with a music background who became very successful and was recently named educator of the year by LMU. He followed that story up with telling me that he could see me go in that same direction. I didn't really know how to reply to that statement from him on that day. Almost a month later, I still don't know how to reply to that statement.

Finishing grad school really closed another chapter in my life. I'm still unsure how I will look back on my time at LMU. I've said this for a while, but it was a really different experience than Chapman. Everything was different from the environment to the courses to the people. I like to look at that as a positive. I felt like a better person at the end of my time at LMU. My life is in a much better place and that feels really good. I like to think that it rubs off on other areas of my life as well.

I continued to volunteer at Venice Arts throughout the year. I was the development intern from January to April. Then, I was the programs intern from September to December. Plus, I mentored throughout the year. I was really happy with the work I did for them throughout the year. It's fun, rewarding, and the films have been getting better. I have always been fascinated with the mentoring relationship and the effects it has on kids. I realized that is the reason why I went back to school.

To further learn about non-profits I also interned at CoachArt as a programs intern from September to December. I enjoyed my time there, but it was different than Venice Arts. I was glad I did it as I learned about a different organization and saw how not every nonprofit is the same in how they operate. I'm hoping that will be helpful experience in the near future.

I went to Sundance, which was a great time. I read somewhere a while ago that the Sundance Film Festival is something everyone should experience once if you love movies. That statement is so true. I don't know when I'll be back, but my time there is full of memories.

The Oscar party was once again a great success. It's arguably getting a little too big, but I still had a lot of fun. It's quickly becoming a yearly tradition.

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup this year. Never thought I would write that sentence. They were a classic example of a team that made a couple good trades at the deadline and played their best hockey in the playoffs. It's hard to not like this team. They were very likable and fun to watch. They were the first team in NHL history to win three game 7s in one playoffs. It also looks like they are in great position to make another run. Almost the entire team is back and I can envision another deep run in 2012.

As for the other Boston teams, 2011 was filled with mostly disappointment. Don't even get me started on the Red Sox. What a bunch of assholes. They are the complete opposite of the Bruins and for the first time in a long time, I actually was disgraced to call myself a Red Sox fan. I just found the team to be very unlikable and arrogant. No reason a team should have blown such a big lead in the wild card race especially considering how talented they were. The window has closed on the Celtics and this past year was further indication. The Big Three era was fun in Boston, but it only generated one championship. Should have been two, but that's the way it goes. The Patriots are quickly becoming a great regular season team that forgets to show up for the playoffs. They were one and done for the second straight year. Losing to the Jets sucked, but they are getting ready for another playoff run as the possible number one seed (pending tomorrow's game).

I made a crazy decision that I would run the LA Marathon in 2012. In September, I started to train for this journey. It's not easy, but I quickly realized that it's not impossible. During my last training run with the LA Roadrunners a couple weeks ago I ran 15 miles. Every Saturday morning since Labor Day I have been waking up and running with a group of people. It's hard to put into words, but it has been amazing. It's inspirational. I'm also in the best shape of my life, so that is always a nice added bonus.

With my M.A. in my hand, I have no idea what is next. I'm currently unemployed, so that sucks. My graduate assistant position ended when I graduated. With my employment status unknown, I did spend a later portion of the year trying to figure out my next move. I have been exploring an idea to start a nonprofit sometime next year. Yes, the idea is crazy.

When I talked earlier about 2010 and 2011 being part 1 and part 2 this is what I meant. The last two years have given me knowledge, skills, and experience to take the next step and do something special. The seeds have been planted for this opportunity. To explain this idea in a nutshell, it is partnering with arts education nonprofits and mentoring at-risk youth applying to college. Nothing will happen overnight, but it is worth at least seeing if this is possible. Only time will tell. As the late George Harrison once said, "We got to do something with our lives."

It could be the marathon training, but 2011 taught me that life is about not being afraid of even the scariest things. At the end of the day, the game of life is a bunch of bullshit. Why worry about the small stuff? Life is too short and time is too quick to let life pass you by. You want to run a marathon? Go run a marathon. You want to make a movie? Go make a movie. You want to get a master's degree. Go get one. You want to start a nonprofit? Well, go start one and stop writing a damn retrospective that is too long and no one is probably reading.

It's funny that I also randomly bumped into someone towards the end of this year. It could be a pointless meeting, but it just reminded me how crazy life is. A chance meeting can sometimes turn into something more. That's what happened with Venice Arts. It reminded me of that Risky Business video I posted last year that I'm going to post again.

That's my goal for 2012. Make the most of my opportunities. I gotta feeling those seeds are going to grow this year.

It's Time to Dream in 2012.

"If you can't say it. You can't do it."

Happy New Year,

Mikey Filmmaker


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