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current month of July, 2021, I find myself sharing my story to more people than
I ever have. Working as an evening manager at The Shaffner Inn, a historic bed
and breakfast within the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, for a day job
during my duration of grad school provides such an opportunity. What I tell
people is basically an elevator pitch of who I am, what I’m doing, and my main
goal of grad school which then provides the polite reaction of the listener
saying, “congratulations!” However, what I don’t tell them is the beginning of
my story. Like any good pitch given within the studio system you start with the
logline, and, if the producers in the room like what they’re hearing, it’s at
that point you share the opening image.
The opening image to my story would be a clean pair of grey, ankle top, suede oxfords in Drew Thomas’ closet just below all the rolled up Japanese movie posters. The year was nearing the bloom of 2017. I had just graduated from Augusta University with a Bachelor’s in Communication and was making plans to leave my hometown. Though I lived in Augusta, Georgia for 15 years, the city offered nothing for my career. The closest occupation at the time was to work at the news station which, after an internship and a bit of perspective, simply wasn’t the place for my endeavors. So one of the things to do one last time before I jumped into the film industry was to visit my good friend Drew Thomas.
about Drew you must understand is that he is an exceptional individual who
loves film and the craft of it just as much as I do, possibly more-so due to
his admiration of the French New Wave, for which I have zero patience. I met
and became instant friends with him during a film appreciation class within my
undergrad, and, right before it was time to say goodbye, Mr. Thomas gave me a
gift. I think these shoes were actually more of a regift as they were too slim
for his feet, but the sentiment was still there. However, little did I know
these shoes were going to become more to me than just another pair in my closet
beside rolled up movie posters.
Now, I can’t
recall the reason why I started doing this particular thing I’m about to
mention, but what began as an artist’s quirky way of self-expression became a
methodology of life. What I started doing was writing down everything of
significance within my life on Drew’s shoes after I moved. For example, when I
visited a state, I had never been to, its initials were inked onto the heel.
Every time I got a gig as an actor, I tattooed the job on the toe cap and each
client I took to lunch, was inscribed on the side vamp. It became almost a
shorthanded journal entry of my journey as a professional filmmaker, but on
be on a SD card or on loose leaf paper, I’ve always been an individual who
records things… I am a storyteller after all. But this seemingly insignificant
and silly art of mine that I started back in 2016 has become a life changing
practice. During this five-year course of becoming a professional filmmaker
where I have four client-based screenplays to my name, two feature films in
production and participating in a grad program where only seven other students
within the nation are involved, the jotting down of significant events on this
pair of shoes has sparked a sharp reminder for me of why I’m dedicated to
have become a visual reminder to keep moving forward. It took five years to
cover one shoe and there’s no telling how long it will take to brand its twin,
but if journaling one shoe has led me to this point in life and I continue with
the other, in the following five years… I might actually exceed my goal. For
some surreal reason, wearing my resume (for a lack of better words) on my feet
along this voyage makes me believe I’m one step closer to obtaining success.
Now yes, that’s a bit on the nose, but I find that doing this practice has
caused me to become more active in the world (outside of film), take riskier
opportunities, and improve my outlook of the unknown.
practice is an odd thing to do – I don’t deny that, but it’s become one of my
personal methods of pursuing my dreams and keeping myself on track. What’s
written on the shoe of five years can be read below.
House in GA, Nathan’s Apartment, Parent’s apartment in OK, My apartment in OK,
Brother’s Apartment, Parent’s 1st House in FL, Drew’s House, Cam’s House,
Doug’s House, My 1st apartment in GA, My 2nd apartment in
GA, Elaine’s House, Grandparent’s House, Aunt’s River House, Grandfather’s
House, Uncle’s House, Hilary’s House, Uncle’s Apartment, My Apartment in NC
Talent Agency, MI Talent Agency, Magna Talent Agency, 180 Talent Agency, Mellow
Mushroom, Gatsby’s Bar, Tombstone Café, Regal Cinemas, Red Dirt Film Festival,
Augusta University, LOL Jax Film Festival, Millar Productions, Enterprise
Interview, Election: Trump v. Biden Poll Worker, Magnolia Point Golf and
Country Club, Called Higher Studios, University of North Florida, The Shaffner