We have a lot of drop-in visitors since moving to Albuquerque because I40 runs right through the middle of town as our friends and family from Texas and the Ozarks pass through toward the Grand Canyon and beyond. We’re a good picnic/layover spot, and I think some of them even like to see us. Recently one old friend passing through asked why I’m a filmmaker now. He’d known me in my public safety days and also knows me as a writer, so this seemed like a weird turn in the road to him.
I get it, but it makes sense when you get into my head. First of all, filmmaking is just another form of story-telling. You could put “story-teller” on my tombstone (if I was going to have one, which I am NOT), and I’d be perfectly happy. It’s part of my hard-wiring, and I doubt I could shut it down even if I wanted to.
Second, I often play the role of producer on films, commercials, industrial shoots, and most recently, a book trailer for Karen Cimms and her “Of Love and Madness” trilogy. I realized early on that the role of producing is much like leading a major crime scene. Everyone including the camera crew, sound techs, grip and electric gang, art department, actors, and director has a role, and the producer’s job is to get them there working safely and with all the resources they need to get the job done. Compare that to, say, a homicide scene where patrol officers, detectives, crime scene techs and photographers, journalists, witnesses, and concerned citizens all play an integral role. My time as a lead detective is remarkably similar to the producer hat I wear nowadays, but without all that gore and misery.
Thus, it’s not such a stretch of the imagination to see that working creatively and collaboratively in a fast-paced and fluid environment called to me. I also believe that the skills and contacts I develop in filmmaking will work symbiotically with writing as that career blossoms more fully. No experience in life is wasted unless we choose to squander it. I’ve always told the boys to be safe, just not too safe. Choosing writing and filmmaking as a second career isn’t playing it safe…but at least no one (so far) has threatened to kill me this time.
Please note that I was carrying a hard-drive, keys, and ear phones in my hoodie pocket at the time of this photograph. That is NOT my gut. Just saying.