BACK FROM BLACK
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Tomorrow ends a self-imposed separation. I, unfortunately, had to begin almost twenty years. And that was quitting the film industry full-time. I have been away from the professional film process for far too long. So why the break?
The short and simple was that I became a father. I know what you're thinking. There are several "fathers" in the film industry. What made your situation different?
Unless you are one of the magnificent film crew members, you probably don't know that the industry is comprised of a freelance workforce moving from job to job like pieces in a giant celluloid puzzle. There is no guarantee of work. Therefore, you always have to be looking for that next job regardless of when and where.
At the time, most of my work was out of state, and I was gone almost all the time. If I had continued, I would've never been home to watch my daughter grow up or witness any significant events in her life. I would never have been there when she needed me.
All of this hit home while I was on the job in Vermont. I was wrapping out a job, and my phone rang. When I picked it up, my wife told me our daughter had taken her first steps. I had completely missed that magical moment. This was way before a phone could capture those moments, and those first few steps walked out of my life forever. At that moment, I had a thought. Was this going to be the way my fatherhood was going to be? Immediately an idea germinated in my mind. Was I going to have to quit what I had always wanted to do and had dedicated my work life to for over a decade? After I hung up the phone, I looked at my friend Mike and said, "I think I'm out." Mike Laughed. He knew how much I loved the job. But I wasn't laughing.
To understand that moment, you must go back to when my wife and I started trying to have kids. Before my daughter was born, we had a difficult time getting pregnant. Kylee, my daughter, was our "miracle baby." Throughout the pregnancy, there was a feeling that we would lose her. Fortunately, she was carried to full term and was born three days before our fourth wedding anniversary.
My wife was sitting on the living room couch when I got home after that gig. She had just ended a conversation on the phone, and it was lying next to her. Kylee was standing on the floor next to her. "Kylee," Kristi said, "look who's home. It's daddy." Kylee looked over at me and then almost instinctively grabbed my wife's phone off the couch and put it to her head, saying my name repeatedly. In the short time, she had been alive, Kylee thought the only way she could talk to me was on the phone. I hadn't decided to quit the industry in Vermont, but that day in my living room with my daughter thinking the only way she could talk to me was on the phone...that did it.
Understand that there are several more emotions wrapped up at this moment. I am the sixth child of six. To support our family, my dad had to work three jobs and was never home. I remember when I played minor league baseball and would see all the fathers there with my teammates. Dad was at work. I remember how bad that hurt, and at that age, I knew that I would never put my kid through that. And that's just one of the reasons. There are more, but that one has stuck with me all these years.
To make a long story short, I got a 9-5 job and had the absolute joy of watching my daughter grow up, never missing a pivotal moment in her life. Ironically, Kylee got into the entertainment industry as a sound engineer and a very successful one. Part of me likes to think my being there throughout her life has contributed to her success. Even if that is not the case, it has been a joy and privilege to watch her become the incredible young lady she is today. And no job is worth not having those moments in my life.
Tomorrow I get a second chance and rejoin an industry I have missed for so long. I will be working a shoot at Universal Studios Orlando and couldn't be more excited. I have been so lucky over the years, and my luck continues.
I look forward to sharing the shoot in this blog and the many more upcoming shoots.
Have you ever made a painful decision and felt that pain is lifted by being brave enough to weather the storm? I'd love to hear about it, and I join you in the joy of knowing that sometimes the pain of a moment in time is worth having the pleasure of a lifetime.