My First Short Film Released

The World Premiere of “Return to Hope”!!!

It was just about a year ago when I decided to take a leap of faith in my creative career by pursuing a graduate degree in film. Before taking this leap, I’d already taken a number of leaps of faith in my personal and professional life. This one felt different, not so scary. I’ve since come to realize that this leap is different than all the other leaps, in that the leaping-off point was duly situated at a more spiritually and emotionally mature elevation. In an earlier leap, in 1996, my wife (then) and I packed up all of our material possessions, loaded the little ones into their car seats and moved our family from Rhode Island to Florida. We made the move so that I could pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer animation. At that time, the computer-generated imagery (CGI) industry was changing the face of live-action film with blockbusters like Jurassic Park (1993) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). In the computer animated film industry, Toy Story had just been released (1995) and every computer geek and movie making wannabe was signing up at a college or tech-school with high hopes of claiming a seat in one of the major animation studios. Dreaming of jobs at Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks, they were all looking for the best route into the industry. I was, and apparently still am, a movie making wannabe, but back then I had absolutely zero experience with computers, and it had been a long time since I graduated high school in 1981. Fifteen years long, in fact. So, why did I decide to learn computer animation, having had no previous experience with computers? This is how I rationalized the decision – I would attend Ringling, learn computer animation, move the family (again) to California, get a high paying job producing CGI, and then make a lateral move into the model and props/animatronic studio where I really wanted to be. I had been creating hand built ceramic sculpture for more than a decade by 1996 and I could clearly see myself excelling in a movie-monster/sci-fi model shop. When I applied to, and was accepted by, the Ringling School of Art & Design (now Ringling College of Art and Design), I considered it destiny calling out to me personally, and so Pamela and I talked it over, and then we leaped…

Christopher and Victoria, during one of our many visits to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando (1998?). Both of my children were involved with the production of “Return to Hope”. Chris created the original soundtrack and Tori utilized her superior enunciating skills as one of the tree vocalists. Remember, they are adults now, so it’s not like I’m using this photo to exploit the obvious “cuteness factor” they both possess!

It has been more than 22 years since I graduated from RCAD, and I’m now preparing to land on both feet in the graduate program at SCAD.

Without further ado, I present to you, my loyal blog readers and any other wonderful human beings who’ve found themselves reading here, this is my first short film “Return to Hope”! Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and also here on the “Grand Providentia United” blog, to receive updates on the latest happenings on the event horizon. And, one other request, please leave a comment on this post (either positive or negative) once you’ve watched the film. It’s only nine minutes long, so there’s really no excuse not to watch it at least ten times! JK!!!

Click on the link and enjoy!
Film Journey in the Now

Return to Hope

Production of a Portfolio Film – Post #4 Concept Development

Just like story books, films normally have a layout consisting of a beginning (Setup), middle (Confrontation) and end (Resolution). The portfolio film “Return to Hope” will follow this format, except that it will bend the conventional formatting rules. And hopefully, it will bend the rules just enough to turn some heads and open some minds. This being the first film I’ve ever produced, and due to the fact that my admission to the college is dependent on its various qualities, intuition is telling me that I must push some boundaries in order to create something special and unique; something the admissions board will appreciate and respect. In this journal entry, I’ll be disclosing the basic format of this film and the way the concept will drive the contents of each of the three sections.

One of the first places that “Return to Hope” will break from the norm will be in the way that the beginning, middle and end relate to one another. I intend to enhance the distinctive qualities of each section until they are almost detached, in terms of visual and audio, while also maintaining a unified cohesiveness, binding the three sections together through the use of an underlying theme and the expression of a strong moral message. In most contemporary films, the middle is lengthy and filled with happenings, while the beginning and end are usually shorter, and yet more impactful, as they are the place where the writers are hoping to setup a conflict for the audience at the start, and then resolve that conflict in the end. For “Return to Hope” the three sections will be very similar in length, perhaps being exactly three minutes each. Many readers will recall that this film must be no longer than ten minutes, per order of the great and honorable Admissions Board. So, that will be nine minutes for the film, and I’ll leave the last sixty seconds available for credits and outtakes.

Railroads Once Crossed It” First river, Hope, June 2022

The setup (introduction) for “Return to Hope” will be narrated from the viewpoint of the trees. Yes, I realize how bizarre that may sound to some of you, but I’ve been communicating with many trees as of late, and they never fail to deliver a viewpoint that is far outside of the understandings of our collective human intellect. The trees are very aware of our dysfunctional behaviors and yet they have an undying belief in our capacity to heal the damage we have inflicted on the ecosystem of their home planet. Trees are serene and enduring. Most of the stresses trees will encounter are perpetrated by mankind, and still, they continue to filter our air and water without complaint or even mild opposition to our actions. They know that the human tendency toward destructive behavior is non-sustainable and irrational, and they know that ultimately it could lead to a disastrous collapse of the biosphere we all rely on for life itself. But always, the trees wait patiently for us to see the error of our ways. These are just a few of the many important reasons that I intend to give them a voice in this film.

“Hear Me, Know Me” Anonymous tree friend

In the next journal entry, I’ll continue to focus on the first section of the film. I’ll likely dedicate one or two entries for each of the three sections. Although they will only be three minutes each, in length, they will be complex enough in terms of visual and conceptual content that I expect they will require adequate explanation on my part. It is a win-win situation for the ego and the observer though, because all of the writing I do here is intended to be an integral part of the creative process for the final product. Now I ask you, how fun is this?!!!

Film Journey in the Now

Return to Hope

Production of a Portfolio Film – Post #3 Unexpected Production Delay

Here and now, I am returning my focus to the making of “Return to Hope” (the portfolio film that I’m producing as part of the application process to the MFA program at the Savannah College of Art and Design). To any readers who have been patiently waiting for my attention to return to this blog, I feel obliged to offer you an apology and an explanation. Please accept my apology for having left you hanging for so long. I confess that it has been twenty-three days since my last journal entry. Please know that my deepest intentions are now motivating me to write regularly here from this day onward, at least until the project is complete. The reason for my absence was as simple and ordinary, as it was difficult and unexpected. Some of you may recall that my roommate unexpectedly informed me that she would be moving out and breaking her lease on the apartment where I was renting a room from her (see my post on September 26th for the details on that bombshell). She went on to declare that she would be moving out within two weeks. This left me in the precarious position of having to find a new room to rent from someone else, or entering into a lease contract with her, her boyfriend and his friend. I could not even imagine signing onto a one-year lease with the three of them, because we choose to live completely contradictory lifestyles. Without going into details, let me summarize our differences this way: while I am practicing making healthy lifestyle choices, they are living habitually unhealthy lifestyles. So, the explanation for my absence is that I needed to turn my attention to finding a new place to live, moving out of that unhealthy living situation, and moving into a more positive, and healthy, living arrangement. Well, I have found my new home, perhaps even until graduation from SCAD in the spring of 2025. I moved in over this past weekend and I’m excited to report that it’s the perfect place for me to thrive and create! Positive and progressive, healing and rejuvenating are terms I would wholeheartedly use to describe the atmosphere of the home I am now renting a room in. My new roommates are much more compatible and a lot less negative than my last roommate and I even have use of an outdoor space (backyard) that I didn’t have in my previous living arrangement. Now, I can get back to purpose. Reclaim the reigns. Move forward with the manifestation of destiny. Return to the “Return to Hope” project and continue the journey toward making the “Grand Providentia Projection” a reality.

A place to live and dream!

More to come, soon! Hopefully, tomorrow…

Film Journey in the Now

Return to Hope

Production of a Portfolio Film – Post #1 Concept Development

The first time I laid eyes on what my childhood friends and I would eventually refer to as the “First River” in Hope, Rhode Island, I thought that surely it must be a magical river. Magic was the only explanation my six-year-old imagination could come up with as to how the river’s water could have been transformed into a wonderfully milky, bright orange flow.

The first river was actually more akin to a spillway than a river, being flanked by hand-stacked stone walls and gravel embankments from the point that it emerged out of the arched granite gateway at the rear of Hope Mill, all the way down to its reintroduction point with the Pawtuxet River. The mill had been using the Pawtuxet’s water to generate electricity for nearly a century before I first visited its spillway, a historical fact that was entirely irrelevant to my uneducated mind at six years of age. And on that first sighting, every gallon of water in between those walls, for the full half-mile stretch of the first river’s length, was a swirling Creamsicle orange. During the following weeks, I returned to the river often and I was thrilled and delighted to see that it would change colors regularly. Baby blue was my favorite because it appeared to be creamy enough to drink, but even at that age, I sensed it would be an unwise decision to do so. For weeks, I visited the magic river, and I kept it as a secret from my parents. When I finally told my dad about it, I was perplexed by his stern reaction. As we walked down to the rivers’ edge together, my father’s demeanor seemed to grow stormier with every step. When he saw it, he became downright angry. He said, “Son this is not right! The mill is polluting the river with their wastewater and that’s against the law!”

“First River” Hope, RI – June 2022

I’m not sure about this, but I think my dad may have reported the environmental crime to the local authorities. The mill, however, continued to pollute the river for at least another three to four years, because I can clearly remember watching the fish and turtles dying slowly through the passing seasons, presumably a result of the toxic dyes being poured daily into their habitat. That childhood experience has remained fresh in my mind for fifty-three years’ worth of water passing under a multitude of bridges in my lifetime. Memories of the experience have also evolved into the underlying premise of the portfolio film I am now producing, titled “Return to Hope”. The film is to be a crucial element of the submission package for my application to the graduate program at Savannah College of Art and Design. Although I have never created a film before, this one will need to be emotionally provocative and intellectually impactful, considering that I’m hoping to impress the college admissions board. The sole mandatory guideline given by the admissions department is that the film must be no longer than ten minutes. Well, as you might imagine, this requirement brought my confidence level up a notch or two. As a novice filmmaker, producing a ten-minute film seems manageable. As to how impactful it will be, well, that is entirely a matter of intention.

Spillway Outlet” Hope Mill, Hope, RI – June 2022

The month of October is my personal favorite. Not only because it is the month I was born in, but because it represents the beginning of the transition between summer and autumn. I love the cool crisp mornings of fall; the coming harvest and the promise of snowfall; anticipating nights spent by the fireplace staring into the glowing embers and remembering the best of autumns long past.

This morning, October 1, 2022, I set the intention to turn my focus primarily to the work on this film. Journal entries on the Grand Providentia United blog site will also be largely dedicated to this intention. I will be documenting the process from beginning to end, right here on this site. Happy October everyone!

As soon as I published this post, a notification popped up to congratulate me on my 100th post on Grand Providentia United. In light of the transcendental level of intentions I’ve been setting this morning, I see most clearly that there is a high density of synchronicity in the air today!

Here and Now

There is an Abundance of Self-Worth Available for Us to Offer Ourselves, But First We Must Feel Worthy Enough to Accept the Offer (Conclusion)

Fresh Perspectives Harvested

I rely on my intuition to guide me in matters of introspection and personal reflection. When my body, mind and spirit are in agreement concerning any new learning experience I’ve gone through, my intuition informs me that it is time to reflect holistically on that particular experience. Subsequently, I’ll often journal those reflections while remaining focused on any changes of perspective, and any new behaviors or actions I’ve initiated as a result of those changes in perspective. Some experiences take more time than others to process internally. The experience of working my body to the point of heat exhaustion for minimal reward, has been one of those experiences. My intuition will often need to remind me that it takes as long as it takes to work my way through an issue or experience. Through personal growth, I’ve learned not to rush the internal processes, nor try to force my body, mind or spirit to give up the proverbial goods before all three have achieved a harmonious balance. The common misstep of rushing to conclusions usually leaves me dissatisfied and displeased with my own performance in moving beyond the experience, and eventually, I imagine it could deprive me of food for the soul to the point of spiritual starvation. When any one of us sends out our intentions and then follows through with the actions required to bring them to fruition, we are not only influencing the direction of our own life trajectory, but we are also bringing change to the lives of those within our sphere of conscious influence. Intuition has informed me that it is currently time to finalize the internal processes and bring to an end the self-discussion of my experience with heat exhaustion in the here and now.

Work Before Play (1984)

In the first journal entry on this subject, I implied that the reasoning behind the acceptance of this menial labor job was complicated, and in fact, maybe it did appear to be complicated then. Now that I’ve processed the experience, I know that my reasoning was quite simple and easy to describe, but I was merely evading the self-worth issues involved, by attempting to dismiss them as complications. The problem with that strategy is that it affords very little potential for positive growth. With my intentions now set on laying this whole thing to rest, I’ll start with the simple reasons that I applied for this job.

I physically moved from Allentown to Savannah less than two months ago, but I had been searching for, and applying to, a number of jobs in this area since early June. For whatever reasons, the companies I’ve applied to were not responding to my applications. My ego kept trying to sell me on the idea that I was too old to be of use as an employee and that these companies were passing me by in search of younger bodies. While it is true that age discrimination exists, I prefer to live happily in the self-delusion that it does not apply to me. I like to imagine that I know my physical capabilities well enough that employers will be compelled to perceive my strengths simply by reading the confidence expressed in the cover letter I’ve attached to the resume. I know, laugh out loud, right? The other, more likely scenario, and this one has actually been brought up during recent interviews, is that I am overqualified for the positions I’m applying to. I’m inclined to believe that this is the issue that I’ve been up against, and if it has been, I had not previously been able to achieve clarity on what strategy to take in order to circumvent it. During the past fifteen years I’ve worked in an extremely specialized industry, namely the fine art sculpture casting industry. I’ve reached a high level of expertise in sculpting, molding, casting and finishing fine art sculpture. During the planning stages of making the move from PA to GA, I conducted a number of searches for sculpture production facilities in or near Savannah. Those searches were unsuccessful. So, while many of the skillsets involved in sculpture production are directly transferable to a wide range of design and manufacturing positions, they are so specific to the industry, that they are also a mystery to the majority of employers who are considering my employment. One way that I’ve attempted to resolve this issue is to pursue job positions that I perceive to be related to the skillsets and level of expertise that I’ve acquired, while also requiring that I upgrade my skills to include the specific range of expertise for the new position. To many, this may seem like a reasonable solution to my dilemma, but it falls short when I include the purpose of my moving to Savannah in the first place. I came here with the specific intention to attend a graduate program at the Savannah College of Art and Design starting in the fall of next year. It would be entirely deceitful for me to approach an employer under the premise that I am interested in learning the specific skills of their trade, with intentions to become a valuable employee, when I know from the start that I would not be there long enough for their training investment to pay off. There was a time in my life when I was willfully dishonest, but thankfully those days are far behind me. My moral compass is now set on a course toward progressive growth and healthy choices. I will continue to experience setbacks, I’m sure, but each time I recover from a setback I’ll expect to attain a clearer vision of the pathway ahead.

Myrtle Beach 2011

When I made the decision to apply to this warehouse job through a staffing agency, I did so with a few simple principles in mind. First, I concluded that a temp agency was the way to go because I was only committing short term. That, after all, is the nature of a temporary work assignment. Second, I wanted a position that was primarily dependent on my physical body with very little thought involved. I reasoned that I could use the bulk of my intellectual energies towards journaling every day, continuing my creative pursuits in growing the Alt Unity, and in making manifest the Grand Providentia Projection. And the last consideration, one that was primarily subconscious, but also of equal importance, was that I wanted to remain completely available and able to cut ties quickly in the event that one of the preferred employers that I had applied to earlier were to call on me to commit. Here is where synchronicity stepped in to validate my reasoning. Last Thursday, during my second week at the warehouse, I was contacted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, regarding an application I had submitted back in June. Following an initial phone interview with a staff recruiter from the college, I am feeling quite confident that this position would be ideal for forward movement on all fronts. I’ve not heard back from the college yet, but I know through experience that if it is meant to be, it will be. When I hung up the phone at the end of the interview, I immediately began to prepare for the possibility that SCAD would offer me the position. My first thoughts were concerned with my current residential location with regards to its proximity to the college. The SCAD campus is spread throughout the beautiful Historic District of Savannah, housed in a number of significant historic buildings in that area. It was my first choice to find a room to rent in the district, but I was unable to find a suitable room that was affordable within my budget. Right now, I’m located about twenty minutes away from the Savannah Historic District, so I am hopeful that an offer from the college might open the door to opportunity, making it possible for me to live in that vicinity. Between the time I finished the interview on Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, I was putting out intentions based on my desire to live in the Historic District. And on Saturday morning the Universe cooperated again! My current roommate approached me with the offer to move out and follow her to another apartment complex that was about ten miles further away from the site of the college. She told me that she was dissatisfied with the apartment we were living in, and she wanted to move back to the complex where she had previously resided. Two aspects of her offer were problematic for me, and I knew by the time she finished her pitch that I would not be able to accept. Being aware and present in the moment that she was asking me, was key to my seeing the two issues so clearly. I could not imagine relocating further away from the place that I had intended to move toward, and I also couldn’t go along with her intentions to go back to a place where she had previously been. So now, I’ve begun the search for a new home closer to my heart’s desire!

For those of you who took the time, and had the patience, to read through this trilogy of entries based on my experiences during the past two weeks, I am sincerely grateful for your presence! Hopefully, now that I’m recovered from the self-inflicted illness, I’ll be able to get back to a steadier routine of writing on this site. Thank you for reading here!