1:02 PM, Thursday, June 16th, 2011:
So I told Tyson this entry's news and his first reaction was:  "DON'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT!" and I giggled. He had just seen the documentary that is 100% predicated on the idea of sharing everything so you know what it feels like. Who cares if the whole thing crumbles? I'm buzzing now and that's what I want to share. 'Cause I haven't buzzed like this in years and I completely believe that this news will start the ball rolling on this documentary far beyond what I thought before I had finished it.
Oh yeah, I finished it.
100 hours folks. The bulk of it had been done for 18 months, and it STILL took 100 more hours (stuffed into a week) of laboring to put that story together. More into just what that entailed, I can't keep pre-emptying the news.
Laura came over, a casting director friend of mine, and watched it yesterday morning. She has been a champion of mine for going on 3 years and I was still a little surprised at just how much she liked it. In telling her previously about the concept (going back ten years and telling myself the whole journey) she had mentioned HBO. They tend to air interesting documentaries from time to time. I agreed, that it fell along those lines, but she needed to see it before she could put anything into motion.
Well, if you thought she was a champion before, she seems all but determined that this is the angle to jump start everything. She's setting up a meeting with the head of casting at HBO and she assures me she will watch it and it will go to the right people. All you can ask. What they do with it, is anyone's guess, but we both believe it could be bought as-is and broadcast. It honestly turned out that good. I say that with a bit of surprise myself because I really had my doubts. This is the type of break a filmmaker dreams of. Knowing it will be watched and truly assessed. And as well? It takes no imagination on anyone's part. It is a complete, finished project that actually works as a movie. So why did I have doubts?
First of all, the concept is big budget, and the execution was no budget. Going back in time, back INTO the first entry and grabbing that dude, taking him to a room and showing him all ten years? Those are some intense logistics considering everyone can look at the video from that time and see the differences. To boot, Jess, Marty and I shot it completely guerilla style, sneaking around hotels and had no business being able to pull off what we did. Then? The shots of 2000 and 2010 Adam sitting there watching it and trying to have those conversations during the movie? I ad-libbed them all. Stupid. When you're doing split screen you can't really ad-ilb, but I felt comfortable enough with my timing that I thought I could do it, and I really didn't want to script this. I wanted to gear up with some whiskey as 2010 Adam and face my demons with a guy from 2000 I knew would be angry with me. And then immediately turn around 5 minutes later (with a little more whiskey) and just become 2000. So, so, so painful. I shave my goatee and put on the same clothes? I'm there. And once you're there? Watching The Journey is devastating.
Then? The ending. Which way does Adam go the following morning with all this information? Heartbreaking to shoot and we had to shoot multiple endings because I was so fucking conflicted. Then the actual timeline of putting all this together:
December 2009 - the majority of the story is edited for the show in Columbus the following month. A week later...
January 2010 - scenes with Jess and Marty shot. 7 months later...
August 2010 - the 2000 and 2010 Adam scenes filmed. And finally 10 more months later...
June 2011, I put it all together. Why so long?
Now do you see why this most recent drama hit so close to home? You're being called name after name, your failures thrown in your face directly to a new love in your life. you already know by even attempting this project youre going to be defending what people assume is at the very least extreme narcissism. And how hate fuck do you defend thinking your life should be a movie when no one else does? Talk about ego. Who the fuck does that? So to understand this, and to try and explain why this feels like the opposite of narcissism, you have to understand how I tick:
If it hasn't been done before? My ears perk up. "I bet I can do it" is the first thing that pops in my head. 'Cause honestly? My life has been defined by doing what people told me I couldn't. Talk radio at 19, 4tvs - a show with 5 of the same guy, interacting live onstage with himself... I've been successful at doing things people haven't before, and it's kind of addicting. Had I flopped on WTVN? We wouldn't be having this conversation. I guess that may be debatable as I've proven failure doesn't deter me... but so much of my self-confidence came from that early success. Who knows. I don't say this to toot my own horn, I'm honestly trying to explain why I continue to bash my head on the rocks. This is just what's in me. And yes, it's kinda nuts.
The thing with this project though, is it's actually a bit more ballsy than the site. The site, or even my music, is passive. People can choose not to read or listen or even view the videos... but with a movie in a theater? There's a bit of "I have something special you should see" attitude to it and you are judged with the bar of other feature length films. If you don't like my YouTube video, look at what it's up against. Heh. Big fuckin' deal. Even with shorts, everyone and their brother puts short films together, a feature? That's a commitment and people have serious, serious expectations.
Now add in, that it is a 100% chronicle of who i am. Whereas if I made a movie about another subject, and someone didn't like it... it's not really something you take personal? If you watch this film, and don't like it, you do not like me. Period. You must believe I am lying, spinning, deceiving, arrogant and insincere. Our views on life, love and the pursuit of happiness are so off that we would be hard pressed to have a conversation. That is an intense calling card to hand someone. Whereas The Journey is so big that hardly anyone is going to delve into the past too much, an edited documentary of the whole thing? Whew. During the two screenings I've had? I hit play for them and wanted to drive to Nebraska. I've heard other directors talk about this feeling of sharing your baby with the audience, but it's just so amplified with this one. Whew.
So it was with this understanding that I put this together. Completely aware that people that don't know me will think I'm saying "look at how awesome I am!" when it starts - when in fact I'm really just saying, "Can you believe I actually captured these moments?". That is what makes me so proud of this movie. It took well over a decade, and every day of that decade. A commitment to express how I felt at all times even though I KNEW I would look bad later... and never take it down. That is why no one has ever done this as long as I have - it's really fucking hard. But because I always showed the true emotions? It works. Even when I thought I had Comedy Central in the bag and that amazingly at 980 of 1000 the perfect ending to the movie happened? When it didn't, I turned on the camera and shared the fact that I was completely devastated. Just as I had done the year before, and before, and before.
What I believe helps it keep its sincerity is that it was never meant to be like this when it started. I was simply keeping my radio listeners up to date with what was going on, and since I was doing a video show instead of radio? I attached video. And because i felt indebted to those reading and watching to create more entries, I kept doing it. After the humiliation of losing Aspen in 2001 however, it shifted and became what it is now. That and of course the choice not to go back to Ohio when Jess did.
And after 18 months of trying to piece together the narrative, gulp, it works. As I said before, I am still a little shocked that it does. As an outsider you really are anxious to see what happens next, and the ending is a bit of a 'hold your breath' moment. The time travel angle is a great vehicle for what could really be a boring film of just video blogs and voiceovers. I really think I have something here.
Now, the potential pitfalls to the success of this documentary: topics of most documentaries have a "greater good" angle, or the subject is super-famous. I'm a complete no-name and you'd really have to stretch to find some "greater good". Now realize, I'm saying this from an executive's perspective and how they think about marketing it... anyone who sees it will immediately see the greater good because it forces you, point blank, to think of the choices in your life. By being so personal about mine, you have no choice but to do the same. You're instantly confronted with your "what-ifs" and at the end of the movie? You're spent. That's the greater good, we all have those random thoughts about the choices we've made and its intriguing to see what one person would do if given the chance to do it over. I think most people's reaction after the movie will be to want to go be alone for a little bit. The tone isn't sad (though obviously parts are), it's just intense and it is a massive mirror if you process it.
People seeing this with an open mind however will have a greater understanding to why my relationships process so quickly. I may be the most open person on the planet and if you choose to talk to me about those things? We will quickly connect. 'Cause you're not meeting some representative of myself that is trying to look good... "I am woefully underachieving for my skill-set and I've been divorced three times. And what do you do?" is what you'll usually hear. I've had opening dialogues like this and they turn into 8 hour phone conversations and revelations from them of "I have never told anybody that.". Not because I have some gift like so many people proclaim about themselves who get similar reactions from people, it's because I know exactly who I am and I have absolutely no fear of failure. That either scares the shit out of people and they attack you relentlessly, or that's really inspiring and they want to open up to you.
If things go well with the meeting with HBO? We just may find out what a wholllllllllllllle lot of people think.
Is there an interstate to China?
PS - Might be the longest I've gone without explaining the title. Ha. So funny what sticks with you, but here goes: When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, a running joke was:  "Do you have HBO?" and whomever said yes would get "Human Body Odor?!?!? EWWW" and run away laughing. I guess it never left me, because every single time someone says HBO? I say the words "human body odor" to myself, before I continue my thought process. <shrugs> Alright, enjoy the trailer.
Premiering Sunday, June 26th at Studio 35 in Columbus, Ohio. Matinee at 3:30. :) Jump on the Facebook page and let me know if you can make it.