Green's Blog

LEARNING TO FLY: The 2015 “Year End” Blog

With the tour and release of DIGGING UP THE MARROW, the long awaited announcement of Season 3 of HOLLISTON, 52 more weeks of MOVIE CRYPT podcasts, the release of our 17th annual Halloween short film MONSTER PROBLEMS, turning ArieScope.com into its own little network of sorts with the launch of three new weekly original series (SCARY SLEEPOVER, 20 SECONDS TO LIVE, and HORRIFIED), two heaping handfuls of appearances, and of course all of the upcoming projects that I’ve already been working on but can’t disclose just yet… 2015 set a new record as my busiest and most productive year yet.  Now that I’m stopping to catch my breath and reflect, I don’t even know how it all happened within a mere 365 days.  Unless you’re brand new to this corner of the internet by now you know that my annual “Year End” blogs are nothing short of novels… so pack yourself a week’s worth of lunches, get as comfortable as you can, make sure your will is up to date, and find someone to walk your dog for you over the next couple of weeks while you read this.  (And yes, believe it or not these annual “Year End” blogs are actually way longer before I edit them down and post them.)  I’ll still try my best to not keep you here reading until March.  After all, I’ve got 2016 to tackle and so much of next year already started for me months ago… so let’s get on with it, shall we?  It’s time for…

YearEndARWEN

When I first sat down to start writing this I started to read some of last year’s “Year End” blog but quit after the first two paragraphs.  2014 was filled with so much grief and heartbreak in my personal life that I just had no desire to re-live it all by reading the words I had shared.  The important thing is that I’m so very grateful to say that I survived the storm and that things indeed continue to get better every day.  (Kind of the theme of this year’s blog as you’ll see when it all wraps up.)  I learned early on in my career that one of the greatest gifts in all of this is that I can affect other people’s lives in an extremely positive way simply by sharing my own experiences openly and honestly.  Somewhere out there in the world there were many other people who were going through their own somewhat similar experiences and I was moved by just how many took the time to write to me and say “thank you” and let me know how my vulnerability helped them not feel so alone through their own dark time.  Thankfully, 2015 was night and day from 2014.  So since there is so little bad stuff to discuss, let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

I SAID GOODBYE…

While there are still the occasional bad days in the aftershocks of 2014′s more life changing events (more on that later), save for the usual amounts of Hollywood bullshit (like the massive amounts of wasted months on projects that I found out all too late in the game never actually had their funding) and the many artists that the world lost in 2015 (Wes Craven, Melissa Mathison, and most recently Lemmy just to name a few)… the only personal heartbreaking event of 2015 was the death of my cat Perry.

PerryGreenBLOGPerry Green at 4 weeks old.

Perry was the first real friend I made after moving to LA and I adopted her and her brother Tyler when they were just 4 weeks old.  Back in 2003 I was still struggling to get by from day to day and doing every odd job I could find that would make it possible to eat and stay alive.  One of those jobs was working as the DJ at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Blvd.  I loved that job, I loved the cast of characters that I worked with there, and I had a ton of great nights hidden away in the little crawl space they call a “DJ booth” watching diehard 80′s glam rockers dance to the songs I would play while I feverishly worked on my screenplay for HATCHET.  (Side note: the Rainbow hung a HATCHET theatrical poster in the restaurant.  If you ever go there, you can find it hanging in the hallway that leads from the main restaurant bar to the outside patio and kitchen.)  One night I was telling a friend/co-worker about my cat Axl who was mentally disabled and who had passed away in 2000.  (Side note: Axl would go on to be immortalized as the beloved mechanical cat “Axl” in HOLLISTON.)  Not even a week later, that same friend told me that legendary radio DJ and Rainbow regular Art Laboe had a litter of stray cats born in his backyard and he was trying to find good homes for them.  (Yes, I somehow got Art Laboe’s cats.)  That year, Art got a star on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” and I got Tyler and Perry.  I’d like to think that we both won.

litter boxPerry and Tyler on the day they first came home in 2003.

Named after Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (I’ve seen AEROSMITH 36 times at the time of this writing), they truly embodied the personalities of their namesakes.  Tyler has always been outspoken and wonderfully obnoxious in the best way possible while Perry was always much more reserved, shy, and carefully selective with her love.  Perry never did anything wrong.  Not once.  Never got in the way, never ate something she shouldn’t have, never tore anything up (even as a kitten), never once missed the litter box, never fought with Tyler or Arwen… she was as perfect a cat as one could ever hope for.  Sweet, loyal, and so, so caring- Perry had a way of knowing when I was feeling hopeless and knowing how to listen, how to understand, and how to make everything better simply by just being there.  To sum up Perry in one quick story… she had a little toy hamster that I would sometimes stuff with cat nip.  It was her “baby” and (especially when she was younger) she slept with it, carried it around, and loved it as if it was her own baby.  One night I got word that the very same friend who had brought Perry, Tyler, and I together in the first place had fallen into a sad Hollywood cliche.  You’ve all seen the POSION video for “Fallen Angel” – small town girl moves to LA to become an actress and winds up getting involved in a bad scene- it was basically that story in a nutshell.  When I spoke up and tried to intervene I was written off as harshly and definitively as possible.  That night I was laying on my bed, utterly devastated that I couldn’t be the hero I wanted to be and somehow “save” this friend who now hated me for trying to help. (Side note: it would be another decade or more before I learned how to shed my own terribly misguided hero complex.)  I was heartbroken and feeling like a failure on every level.  As I lay there crying my heart out, Perry climbed onto the bed and gently placed her “baby” on my chest.  Not because she wanted to play and not because she wanted more cat nip in it.  She just wanted me to have it because she thought it would comfort me like it comforted her.  That was Perry.  That was always Perry.

DSC_0005Good girl.   (6.28.03 – 11.26.15)

Perry passed away on Thanksgiving night.  Her kidneys failed and she ultimately went to sleep forever while on her 4th day of dialysis at the vet’s office.  She was only 12 years old, which for a lifelong indoor house cat who lived like a queen (seriously how many cats do you know that get their own bedroom?) was not very old at all and still just doesn’t seem fair. I wasn’t there with her when she passed away, and while I know there was no conceivable way for me to have been there given the circumstances, the fact that she died alone while in the one place she was most terrified of in life continues to haunt me.  Perhaps she spared me the pain of having to make the terrible decision to put her to sleep?  Perhaps she saved me from having to hold her while the vet gave her that final shot?  Or maybe shit just happens and that’s the way life goes?  But with the loss of Perry, my family got a little bit smaller yet again.  It sucks something awful, but looking at the positive side, Perry truly had the best life a cat could ever have and she made my life better for the 12 years that we had together, especially during the hard times when I needed her most.  She felt no pain and she passed away in her sleep naturally.  She may be gone, but she was generous enough to leave behind every ounce of her unconditional love… and of course her cherished “baby” which I now keep in my nightstand.

I DUG UP MONSTERS…

2015 started off on an extremely high note with the release and accompanying US tour for DIGGING UP THE MARROW.  In earlier blogs I’ve detailed so much about the making of the movie and the events/hurdles of that difficult tour (that just so happened to take place during the worst of 2015′s winter blizzards on the East coast) so I won’t take up too much space rehashing all of that again here.  Instead I’ll just say THANK YOU to everyone who watched and supported the movie.  The response to MARROW was overwhelming and way beyond even our loftiest of hopes for it.

Marrowpremiereclips

For a movie with such a strange concept and with such a weird presentation (documentary style using a mix of reality and fantasy with almost every single “character” in the story appearing as “themselves”) we really had no idea what audiences would think about it.  As much as I love just how warmly people embraced the movie, it’s the imaginative theories that fans continue to post and send to us regarding the world of “the Marrow” that consistently make my day.  To say too much more on that front could spoil the movie for anyone who has not yet watched it, but the fact that DIGGING UP THE MARROW has so many fans using their own creative imaginations is the most rewarding achievement any story teller could hope for.  And I mean that so very sincerely.  Thank you for always being willing to go with me on each journey, for truly supporting our work so that my crew and I can take risks and make more of the things we care so deeply about, and for being open minded enough to let me play in whatever worlds I dream up as opposed to keeping me in just one box doing the same things over and over.  MARROW was certainly a weird project, but it was one of the very best creative experiences I’ve ever had.  And you made that possible by always accepting my new offerings with open arms… even when I don’t even tell you what the project really is until right when it comes out.  (If you recall, for the 4 years we worked on making MARROW all we told the public was that we were “making a documentary exploring monster art” just to keep all eyes from looking too closely at what we were up to or prying for information.)  I especially, especially want to say thank you to those of you who saw the movie early on – whether it was the unfinished version that we screened at Buttnumbathon in Austin two Christmases ago or the world premiere at Frightfest in London a full 6 months before the first ever official public screening of the film in its proper release.  You were all kind enough to not spoil a single thing about DIGGING UP THE MARROW in your initial reactions, generous reviews, and other extremely kind on-line praise.  The fact that you showed just how considerate you are of other movie fans and that you really cared that they should get the same experience that you had in knowing as little about the movie as possible when going into it… that was just so wonderful to see.  Seriously, you guys are alright in my book so I’d like to keep you around… hmmm, maybe forever if that’s OK with you?  I say it so much that it has become passé but it is true.  My fans are the best in existence.  But more on that later…

BlossomHeadFinalSheetOriginal concept art by artist Alex Pardee- my genius partner in MARROW crime.

To say that I love Alex Pardee would be a massive understatement.  I don’t just love Alex as an artist, friend, and collaborator… he’s also one of my favorite human beings in this universe and someone who came into my life at the most perfect time.  I am a more fearless and open minded filmmaker because of Alex.  In fact, I’d say that my very soul actually expanded ten-fold over the 4 years that we worked so closely together on this project.  Creating alongside Alex was nothing short of a gift and there is absolutely nothing that would ever come in the way of us working together again some day.  He was a true partner in every aspect of MARROW and his voice is equally as prevalent on screen as my own in the finished film. The entire core group of creative minds that made MARROW has become legendary in the 17 years that ArieScope has been making movies so far.  Just focusing on the creature creation and practical FX side alone… the team of Alex (the designer), Greg Aronowitz (the sculptor), Robert Pendergraft (the fabricator) and the whole team of artists at Aunt Dolly’s Garage who worked so hard to bring the monsters of “the Marrow” to life… it was one of those perfect working experiences that you dream of getting to have when you first start making movies.  DIGGING UP THE MARROW was further proof that it’s the people that you work alongside that make all of this worth doing.  I’ve become a better storyteller just by knowing these wonderful friends and you certainly haven’t seen the last of this team’s collaboration.

MarrowAUDIENCEblog

I know that MARROW fans are anxiously waiting for word of a sequel.  We would of course love to continue our journey into this fascinating underground world like we had always hoped to.   We’ll see what the future holds for that world but in the meantime, if you enjoyed MARROW on any of the various VOD or streaming outlets that you watched it on, please consider buying it on DVD or Blu-Ray as that greatly improves the chances of us getting to make another one.  Not to mention, the special features included on the DVD and Blu-Ray are worth the price alone.  You can buy your very own autographed copy here.

I PANICKED…

There’s an earlier blog from March that recaps and features photos from the DIGGING UP THE MARROW tour appearances (San Francisco, Boston, New York, Austin, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Chicago) but this Fall I was able to do a few additional appearances in Denver, in Worcester, and three more right here at home in LA.  However, a new hurdle that unexpectedly arrived in my life this past year was the occasional panic attack.  Mainly on airplanes.  Kind of the worst possible thing to have come into your life when you have to travel constantly for your career.  I have no idea where it came from or why it started happening though I would expect it’s just part of the aftershocks of 2014 and that it will hopefully subside with time.  (At least I seriously hope so because if not it’s kind of like one giant cruel joke.)  My first major panic attack happened on a flight back east early last Spring.  I’ve spent the past decade flying all over the world doing festivals, premieres, conventions, and other appearances in support of my various films- all without incident save for the typical things that suck about travel.  This was just another flight and something that’s become as familiar to me as driving at this point.  I mean, I’ve never enjoyed a flight in my life- but I’ve always been able to just suck it up and get through it.  However, right before take off that day I randomly started feeling claustrophobic and within 5 minutes I was covered in sweat, shaking, and struggling to swallow and breathe.  It started with a random memory of something that quickly escalated into a flood of anxiety ridden and painful memories.  Kind of like when you click on a website and suddenly find yourself pummeled with dozens of pop up ads that take over your computer screen with boxes and boxes of shit that you don’t want to look at.  And as fast as you try and click off each one of those annoying ads, ten more pop up until finally your computer just can’t handle it and shuts down. The woman sitting next to me that morning saw that something was wrong and that I was struggling to breathe.  She called for a flight attendant to help me get off the plane while there was still time before the cabin door was closed.  As my uncanny “Adam Green luck” would have it though… a young woman seated just 4 rows behind me started convulsing and having seizures because she was overdosing on some sort of drugs right at the same very moment.  (I mean… really??)   So the passengers on the plane were all put into lockdown and no one was allowed to move until medical assistance could finish removing this unfortunate woman from the plane which took about 20 minutes total.  It was horrible just sitting there trying to breathe one breath at a time, but I dry swallowed some medicine that my doctor had given me years ago for flying and by the time the flight was actually ready to leave I was out cold.  The panic attacks have unexpectedly reared their ugly head(s) a few more times since then but it’s always completely random and usually on a flight.  One time it was even on a flight to Vegas- which is a super easy and fast 45 minute flight from LA.  It made no sense.  After discussing this problem openly on the podcast I’ve heard from a TON of people who also suffer from panic attacks and who know exactly what I’m talking about and just how frightening and crippling they actually are when they happen.  I guess I had thought that I had suffered a panic attack before and that it was just feeling overwhelmed and stressed… but no.  This is something far, far different.  It honestly feels like you’re having a heart attack and as if you’re going to die.  While I’ll continue to deal with it and while I expect that eventually this bullshit will subside… to say that I now hate flying even more so than ever before doesn’t even come close to expressing just how much I truly fear getting on a plane.  Why am I admitting all of this?  I guess so that you’ll understand that when I’m asked to come speak somewhere, appear at a convention, or do a screening… it’s far more than just an inconvenience.  Just getting there can literally be torture and my own personal hell.  I wouldn’t wish this shit on anyone and my heart goes out to everyone else out there who has to deal with this on an even more frequent basis than I do.  All I ask is that you please don’t take it personally or hold it against me if I can’t make it to the convention of your choice.  There’s just a lot more to it.  All that being said, in 2015 I still managed to make it to a bunch of appearances and every single one of them was extremely memorable…

IMG_8513I ran into an old friend at Mile High Horror Fest in Colorado in October.

I REMEMBERED WHY I DO WHAT I DO…

Mile High Horror Festival marked my first ever appearance in Colorado, which after a decade of conventions, screenings, and appearances all over the world was long overdue.  The festival screened HATCHET and HATCHET 2 on 35mm and Kane Hodder and I were on hand to provide two long, incredibly in-depth, and personal Q&A’s with the audiences after each screening.  While the fans there were among some of the most passionate and gracious I’ve had the honor of meeting, the timing of those particular screenings couldn’t have been more poignant in my own life.  To back up just a little bit, the great Wes Craven had passed away only a few weeks before the festival and it was a crushing blow to all of us within the horror community, fans and filmmakers alike.  You can listen to the full Wes Craven tribute that Lynch and I did on THE MOVIE CRYPT here, but needless to say, Wes was a hero and one of the most kind and supportive idols a young filmmaker could ever hope to meet.  From always being so kind to me, to always reminding me that what I was contributing to the genre was important, to being among the very first of my friends to contact me on his own and donate personal items for my Boston Strong fundraiser where I helped raise 15K for the victims of the marathon bombing tragedy… Wes Craven was a wonderful, wonderful man.  You can hear about all of that stuff and just how Wes affected my life in our podcast’s heartfelt tribute special where about a dozen other filmmakers who knew or worked with Wes joined Joe and I in paying our deepest respects to the man, but to save you an extra 2 hours I’ll just get right to how the devastating loss of the brilliant Craven tied into my Colorado experience.

AdamWesA candid (and blurry) moment with Wes during a 2010 Masters Dinner.

When the news first broke that Wes had left us, sorrowful phone calls and incredibly sad text messages started flying back and forth between most all of us who work within the genre.  It’s just the way it goes that sometimes it takes a tragedy to motivate people to pick up the phone and come together.  For many of us “younger filmmakers” (shit, do we even still qualify as “younger” anymore?) the general feeling we were consumed by was one of… well, “What the hell have we done so far that even matters?  We’re supposed to be carrying the torch… but are we?”   Sure, the entire industry has changed since the 70′s/80′s/90′s and we’re currently emerging from a period where remakes were some of the only things that could possibly get made with any kind of real studio budget or marketing support.  You can’t even compare the way movies get made and released these days to the way things worked back then.  Still… you look at your own contributions to the genre and by comparison to someone like Wes… sometimes it all just feels like garbage even with all business and budget disclaimers put aside.  In speaking with the “older guys” that were Wes’ contemporaries (at least in age group) they sternly put that feeling into proper perspective.  Though my generation is standing in the enormous shadows of artists like Wes Craven, John Carpenter, or John Landis (just to name a few because the list of true “masters” could go on and on and on), the generation before ours was standing in the shadows of giants like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Orson Welles (again- just to name a few).  It’s all relative.  Still… it’s impossible to ever think of something that you created as holding a candle to the films that came before your moment in the director’s chair.  So to be blunt, while I was in the midst of feeling like I had failed Wes (my own misguided sentiments, certainly not his) the very last thing I personally felt like doing was going to a festival where I would be celebrating the first two HATCHET films.  However, much like when I screened all three HATCHET movies together for the first time at that Boston Strong fundraiser… watching those movies with an audience filled with diehard fans once again made me see what THEY see when they watch my films.  Almost every filmmaker will tell you that the very last movie they ever want to watch is one of their own, and while that is still very much the case (you won’t ever see me reaching for an “Adam Green film” to throw on and watch at home), the communal theatrical experience is a completely different event.  The applause, the cheers, the smiles, the laughter, the love, the excitement, and especially hearing fans say their favorite lines along with the films… it reminds you that something you made truly means something incredibly special to the people that you made it for in the first place.

IMG_8515With FINAL DESTINATION’s Jeffrey Reddick and HATCHET’s Kane Hodder at Mile High.  (10/3)

So I flew home from Colorado not just having had an incredible experience meeting yet another awesome chapter of the Hatchet Army but also reminded that “Victor Crowley” is loved way more than I realize a decade and two sequels later.  Almost fittingly, that same week the official “Victor Crowley Halloween Mask” hit retail outlets.  It’s no joke just how much the fans’ enthusiasm can influence your spirit and how the fans can teach you so much about yourself just by being them.  Mile High was a fantastic and much needed experience and I’m so grateful to have been invited to be part of the festival this year.  While I was there at Mile High I also hosted the Q&A for TALES OF HALLOWEEN with my good friend, director Neil Marshall…

I DID HALLOWEEN RIGHT…

Back in Los Angeles I did three more appearances in support of TALES OF HALLOWEEN, a terrific anthology film made by 11 of my filmmaker friends and including more actors and crew friends than I can begin to name.  (I play the role of “Officer Carlo” in three of the film’s segments.)  I hosted the film’s panel at SCARE LA, I hosted the LA premiere/opening night of SCREAMFEST, and I also took part in the movie’s poster signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA.

tales-of-halloween-poster  TALES OF HALLOWEEN hit theaters and VOD on 10/16.

Though I’m clearly biased seeing as how I’m friends with every artist involved with the movie both on screen and behind the scenes, I really, really love this movie and I think that you will, too.  Though I was originally asked to contribute a segment for the anthology, unfortunately I was unavailable during the time the film was in production.  Thankfully however, I did still get a chance to be involved with TALES OF HALLOWEEN when Neil Marshall cast me as a police officer in his segment.  Since the anthology is all set on one night in the same town, two other shorts requiring police officers in their segments were also kind enough to cast me, too.  I was grateful that I didn’t have to miss out on the fun entirely and it was an incredibly cool project to work on- especially when I was merely an actor and not responsible for any of the stressful aspects that go into actually making a film.

Arwen autograph signingArwen joined me for her very first autograph signing when we took part in the TALES OF HALLOWEEN poster signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA.   (10/10)

TALES OF HALLOWEEN is a blast and I’m so, so proud of my friends for what they achieved with each of their individual and unique contributions.  I expect the film to become an annual Halloween holiday go-to for many horror fans, right up there with the classics like John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, Mike Dougherty’s TRICK R TREAT, and even IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHARLIE BROWN.  I’m not saying that you can possibly even compare any of those films to each other… but I truly believe that you’ll enjoy watching TALES OF HALLOWEEN every year when the holy month of October rolls around.  I know I certainly will.

I MADE PEOPLE LAUGH…

The very next week I was off to my hometown of Boston where I did my 4th appearance at my favorite US convention- Rock And Shock in Worcester, MA.  (Sure, I’m biased given that Rock And Shock takes place a mere 40 minutes from where I grew up in Holliston, MA- but it really is an amazing experience every single time.)  As I explained above, I don’t do very many conventions.  Typically I’ll only do them if/when they fall in line with the promotion of an upcoming NEW release of mine that I am supporting.  It’s not that I don’t like doing them or that I don’t cherish every single opportunity that I can get to meet fans face to face and shake their hands.  Believe me, if you think that you’re excited to meet me- I’m ten times more excited to meet you.  You’re who I work for.  You’re who I create for.  You’re who I am thinking of during every minute of every project that I do- whether I’m asleep or awake.  You’re the one who gives me life and who makes it possible for me to chase this seemingly impossible dream of being a storyteller.  All of the free stuff I do- the short films, the various original series, the podcast, responding to fan’s messages personally on social networking… I enjoy doing it because I feed off of how much I know that you appreciate it.  If you’ve ever seen one of my panels at a convention then you know I typically plan/write an entire performance so that you get the most out of my time on stage as opposed to the typical Q&A where artists just sit there answering questions just like every other panel you’ll see that weekend.

F904B4C7-E4A3-4873-9D06-85175F859D80Standing room only for “Adam & Derek’s Wicked Boss Panel Thing” at Rock And Shock. (10/17)

In my 10 years doing the convention circuit so far I’ve done everything from video presentations to spoken word sessions, to live readings, to hosting “roasts”, to stand-up comedy sets.  When the cast of HOLLISTON does appearances together we do live readings from scripts that I’ll write specifically for that particular convention and we’ll even involve the fans as our guest stars or hide celebrities within the audience who will take the stage with us at select moments.  We’ve even held “mock auditions” for our fans and given them the chance to come up on stage and play the role of their favorite character on the show while reading opposite from one of us.  This year at Rock And Shock, Derek Mears and I surprised fans with a full hour of improv comedy.  We began by doing a Q&A as each other where I answered Derek’s questions as “Derek” and Derek answered my questions as “Adam and (fake) Arwen”.

E991FFEA-C7C1-4CEE-A64C-2CA9D92184C9“Derek Mears”, “Fake Arwen” and “Adam Green.”  Worcester, MA (10/17)

After our brief “Q&A” we did a demonstration on what NOT to do as a fan at a convention and in turn, we let the fans air their grievances from any bad celebrity encounters they’ve had in the past.  Derek and I acted out the scenarios that the fans provided us with and illustrated what NOT to do as an appearing celebrity at a convention.  I’d say “you had to be there” to appreciate it, but thankfully, my friend Ron Cabucio captured the show on camera.  So set aside an hour (perhaps in late Spring when you finish reading this blog) and click the image below to watch what you missed.  It might not be nearly the same as having actually been there, but hey… it’s something.

rock_and_shock_logo PANEL blog

So why put all of that extra work into it?  Well, having been on both sides of the “table” at conventions as both a fan and as an appearing guest, I believe that fans deserve more.  After all, we’re performers.  So why not PERFORM?  Of course logistics dictate that a full-on performance is not always possible or appropriate, but you can always count on the fact that I’m gonna take the stage and try my damnedest to give you everything that I can possibly give you in the time that I have.  I take my convention panels very seriously and I try hard to make every moment of your time count.  Sometimes it isn’t about putting on a comedy show and it’s all about spilling my guts as honestly and openly as I can.  You never know what you’re gonna get, but I assure you that you’re always going to get something more than just a standard Q&A.

9B300433-B04C-4447-BCB8-A87F712B20A5Fans in Worcester, MA showered me with some amazing, creative, and personal gifts. 

I SHARED AN UNFORGETTABLE MOMENT WITH GEORGE…

But the best was still yet to come at Rock And Shock as just a few hours later I took the stage with the legendary George A. Romero to host his panel and close out Saturday’s main stage events.  With all of the smart phones in the air recording the event I’m sure that at some point the Romero panel itself (or portions of it) will be on YouTube, but for me the most memorable moment actually happened as George and I were exiting the stage.  I’ve known George for ten years but never before have I had the chance to sit and discuss filmmaking with him on a peer to peer level.  I was so honored when I was asked to host his panel, but in my mind I was merely going to moderate/interview George and then field fans’ questions for him.  You can’t imagine just how many times I pee’d a little whenever George (“the Godfather of Modern Horror”) would address me as a fellow filmmaker or include both of our bodies of work as examples to the audience.  The smile on my face was so big that it fell into the laps of the first 3 rows of the audience.  Yes, I fanboyed out with absolutely no shame.  I just couldn’t control it or keep my cool.

GeorgePaying my respects to the Master himself, George A. Romero.  (10/17) 

No matter what I may or may not have achieved in my career so far, I’m still just as awestruck with undying respect for artists like George as I was before my own career ever started to happen.  I wish I could remember that hour we shared on stage but I was freaking out inside so hard that it was all a big blur for me.  For what it’s worth though, I’m told that it was a terrific panel.  So the panel wraps up, the audience is on their feet giving George his due standing ovation, and the two of us start to make our way out of the panel hall.  We weren’t even off of the stage yet and George put his arm around me.  He leaned in and quietly said some of the nicest things you could ever dream of a guy like George Romero ever saying to you, about you, or in regards to your filmography.  I had posted the below photo on Facebook shortly after the convention but like I said then, to publicly repeat what he said to me would cheapen it.  Perhaps someday I’ll share it, but for now… I selfishly want to keep that cherished moment all to myself.   (Don’t worry, I wrote it all down the moment I got back to my hotel room.  I won’t forget what he said.)  The below photo captured the moment perfectly… right down to the tear running down my cheek.  It’s my favorite photo from 2015.  Taken by a fan in the crowd (Joao Pimentel), you can only imagine my surprise when Joao shared this image with me the next day. It was one of those moments that was so surreal that you’re not really even sure that it actually happened or if maybe it was all a dream… but then Joao was thoughtful enough to come by my booth at the convention the very next day and hand me an 8X10 print of this image- amongst several other photographs that he took during the panel.  (Are you starting to see what I mean when I say how lucky I am to have the fan base that I have?)  Of course this photo is now framed in the ArieScope office.  It was one of the most unforgettable moments in my life and THANKFULLY someone actually captured it and was awesome enough to share it with me.  Now whenever I feel like giving up I look at this photograph and remind myself that…. “DUDE.  George Romero believes in you.  Don’t let the world break you.  You can still fight one more day.”

45AA3A91-95CB-4A81-9FA4-03100985999EA moment that I will never, ever forget.

I HELPED DOGS…

The only other convention appearance I did in 2015 was at MonsterMania in Cherry Hill, NJ in March.  Though I greatly appreciated being invited to appear there, the convention took place just a few weeks after my tour for MARROW had ended and the very last thing I wanted to do was put myself through yet another flight back East for an appearance.  However, once I heard that MonsterMania also helps raise money to benefit New Jersey’s “SAVE THE YORKIES” shelter… there was absolutely no way I was missing it and I was right back on a plane again.  I wrote all about my incredible experience at MonsterMania in an earlier blog which you can read below (“SURVIVING MY OWN MARROW” from March 27, 2015), but the aspect that made it one of my favorite highlights of the year is that I helped the convention hit a new milestone and raise over $7,000.00 for the Yorkie shelter during my appearance there.   I auctioned off a screen used HATCHET 2 prop and I also auctioned off a “date” with myself to help the cause of saving these wonderful animals.  Again, I don’t want to take up too much space here rehashing events that I’ve already blogged about in depth, but after all that I went through in 2014 and how much my Yorkie (Arwen) helped me make it through my own hard times, this was something that I just had to be a part of.  There are a million worthy charities out there and every single one of them is just as important as the next.  I personally contribute to more than many of them.  Of course we can’t all afford the time or money to help every charity that asks and not everyone is in a position where they can use their own public spotlight to help out others.  But there are so many different ways that you can help a cause you believe in.  So I urge you… do it.  Be a part of something bigger than yourself and put some time into helping out with an issue greater than your own personal problems.  I promise you that what you’ll take away from the experience is something that’s just absolutely priceless.

IMG_5688“Bella” was just one of the many Yorkies we helped save at MonsterMania. (3/14)

I HELPED PEOPLE…

2015 began with Entertainment Weekly listing THE MOVIE CRYPT as one of the “20 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To” in the January issue of their magazine (Issue #1345, January 9, 2015).  The acknowledgement was just the beginning of another amazing year for the podcast that Joe Lynch and I do every week.  We had 52 more weeks of enthralling guests, hilarious laughs, sketches, and too many inspiring real-life stories to possibly keep track of.  From Hollywood’s biggest icons to the industry’s most exciting up and comers, every Monday we released 2+ hours of incredibly entertaining and invaluable personal stories.   On March 11th, Joe and I even did a “live” episode of the podcast where we recorded an episode at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, TX during a double feature screening of our films DIGGING UP THE MARROW and EVERLY.

schibi movie crypt1Artist Cody Schibi created this incredible poster for our live event in Austin. (3/15) 

Two of the MOVIE CRYPT’s episodes that I’m personally proudest of actually came right at the end of 2015.  So many artists have come on the program and bravely included their struggles with substance abuse and addiction as part of their “tell all” life stories… and in return, we often get letters from listeners who are dealing with similar struggles themselves.  For a podcast that’s all about telling the truth about surviving the journey through Hollywood, both Joe and I felt that we would be remiss if we didn’t finally dedicate a full episode to this extremely important issue and address it head on.  This was a dark and difficult subject for us personally, especially after losing our dear friend and HOLLISTON co-star Dave Brockie in 2014 and getting the terrible news in the eventual autopsy report that drugs were indeed found in his system at the time of his death.  On a personal level, until very recently I couldn’t even admit that drugs may have possibly played a part in Dave’s tragic death and even a year after the autopsy report had been made public I was still refusing to even say the words out loud.  Denial?  You bet.  If you re-read my blog/eulogy “I Love You Too, Dave Brockie” that I posted shortly after Dave passed away you’ll see just how defiantly I protested the notion that drugs were involved in my friend’s death.  ”Rock star” or not, it just wasn’t possible.  Though I have since been trying to learn all that I can about drug abuse in my own efforts to educate myself and better understand just why my friend is gone, it was time to stop hiding from it publicly.  So in an effort to come to terms with the truth, to stop avoiding it, and to better serve our audience… Joe and I made the decision to finally tackle the subject of drug abuse on the podcast.   For a period of almost 2 months I had put out feelers to various counselors and experts in the field of addiction and recovery trying to find the right guest to have on the show.  (Neither Joe or myself are even remotely qualified to dish out facts, advice, or share personal experiences with this horrible affliction.)  Thanks to our friend and film editor Ed Marx (a survivor himself with well over 20 years of sobriety under his belt) I was put in touch with counselor Terry Kirkman.  31 years sober himself, Terry has helped thousands of addicts save their lives through his work with programs like A.I.R. Support (Artists In Recovery) and M.A.P. (Musicians Assistance Program).  Joined by his wife (and fellow counselor) Heidi Kirkman, the episode made a huge impact on so very many of our listeners when it was released.  Though we knew going into it that there was no way to possibly answer every question or cover every aspect of such a widespread and common affliction (not just in entertainment but in LIFE) we let our guards down, spoke from the heart, and tried our best.   I’m happy to say that those difficult, educational, eye-opening, and inspirational two hours reached and benefitted so, so many listeners.  At the time of this writing, over ten MOVIE CRYPT listeners have contacted us to let us know how the episode encouraged them to attend their first meeting or (in one case so far) to enter a rehabilitation program.  And those are just the few that we’ve personally heard from out of the hundreds of thousands who have listened to the episode so far.  While it’s rewarding enough to merely entertain our audience week in and week out, knowing that we did something that truly made a huge difference in so many lives is a feeling that you just can’t describe and one of the biggest highlights not just of 2015 but of THE MOVIE CRYPT’s 3 years on the air so far.

I BELIEVED…

moviecryptSANTATHE MOVIE CRYPT’s “Santa Claus” episode is deemed by many to be our “best ever.”

Just a few weeks ago we released our Santa Claus episode and within just 3 days it became far and away the new fan favorite of all 135 episodes we have done to date. In an effort to do something special for Christmas and in the wake of a year plagued with violence, war, and more depressing world news than we ourselves could handle, our goal was to put something out there that would hopefully make people believe in “good” again.  By now hopefully you’ve heard the episode and you are well aware of just how much work went into pulling it off.  Some saw that “Santa Claus” was our guest that week and assumed it would just be a silly episode that we created for a goof.  However, as soon as they heard just how seriously we took our time with “the big man” they quickly changed their tune.  The “Santa Claus” episode is funny, creative, inspiring, emotional, uplifting and at times even heartbreakingly sad… but most of all it’s filled with every ounce of sincere hope and positivity that we could put out into the world.  Who knows what the future will bring for THE MOVIE CRYPT, but if we ended the show tomorrow and never recorded another episode again I’d happily point to the “Santa” episode as the one that defines what our show stands for and who Joe and I are as people.  Though every single episode of THE MOVIE CRYPT matters, with the “Santa Claus” episode, I feel like we created something important.  Even if you somehow missed listening to the episode before Christmas, the episode’s themes and messages are applicable year round and it just might help you believe in good again… so don’t skip it.   I agree with the majority of our listeners that it’s our best episode so far.  “Santa snap!”

I LAUGHED…

MPbehindthescenesLaughing through the shoot for MONSTER PROBLEMS (8/15)

ArieScope’s 17th annual Halloween short film (MONSTER PROBLEMS) turned out to be one of my most favorite shorts that we’ve ever made and given the response that the short received it seems that many fans would agree.  I wrote a whole blog about making the short (the blog that is posted directly below this one- “17 Years of Halloween Shorts, Monster Problems, and the Greatest Fans Ever”) so I’ll keep this summary short, but making MONSTER PROBLEMS was definitely one of my favorite moments of 2015.  You’d think that by year 17 of doing these Halloween shorts that we’d be growing tired of it, that we’d have run out of ideas worth making, or that it would have become more of an “obligation” than the “just for fun” experience it was always supposed to be… but no way.  If ArieScope was your average corporate business, the tradition of making an annual Halloween short film could best be compared to an annual company retreat of sorts.  When all of this started 17 years ago, I would have thought that after 9 films, 2 seasons of a TV series, and 100+ other shorts/series that I would be taking my crew to Hawaii once a year as opposed to cramming us all into a tiny room and trying to shoot a short film with no time or money as our way of celebrating another year gone by… but come on!  Hawaii would be boring, right?  Who wants to sit on a beach and relax in paradise when you could be celebrating your anniversary every year by working for free (again)?  You learn the hard way very early on that the money your movies make goes to anyone and everyone but the people who actually make the movies… but that’s nothing new and it’s just the way it goes.  (There’s no business like show business!)   Someday that will hopefully change, but until then I’m happy with how we celebrate ArieScope’s anniversary each year.  In fact, I’m already looking forward to making next year’s Halloween short film.  Not just because it is always a good time but because I’m always impressed to see us hang in there for one more year.  Point is, and I sincerely mean this, whether I’m on a beach in Hawaii or crammed into a bathroom stall trying to get a shot for a silly little Halloween short… every year that I get to be with this group of people, every year that we all remain healthy, every year that we retain the drive and ambition to make new things, every year that we’re still finding new ways to make ourselves laugh… well, that’s the best year yet.  I love the people I get to work with.  And I never take that for granted.

KellyMPclichereComedian Kelly Vrooman joined the family this year as “Dorghast” in MONSTER PROBLEMS.

I HAD SCARY SLEEPOVERS…

In what was probably the most ambitious move of 2015, we took the ArieScope website to a whole new level and attempted to launch our own weekly original series.  In fact, at this time we’ve launched three of them.  We really had no idea what to expect or if we’d be able to pull it off, but on Friday March 6th we premiered the very first episode of “Adam Green’s SCARY SLEEPOVER” – a weekly on-line show where various genre artists/friends join me for a slumber party at the ArieScope studio.  While the pajamas can be ridiculous, the junk food consumed can be gluttonous, and the games played can be comically entertaining, the heart of the series lies in the simple premise of “find out what scares the people who scare you for a living.”  The idea for SCARY SLEEPOVER was born out of doing THE MOVIE CRYPT podcast each week.  The podcast is a long form, audio only show that is pretty damn serious save for the occasional moments of levity or the random sketch that I’ll write for us to perform.  We were receiving requests to add a video component to THE MOVIE CRYPT so that the audience could also watch it and not just listen to each episode, but we both felt that adding cameras would not only change the dynamic of the candid “artist on artist” conversation but also be extremely boring.  I mean, do people really need to see us sit around a table and talk for 2-3 hours?  My concept of a short form (15 minutes on average) web show that was lighter and focused more on specific fears as opposed to an artist’s entire life story seemed like a solid idea.  However, it was the added hook of doing it in the setting of a childlike slumber party and giving fans a “fly on the wall” experience that made it something that I felt was worth making.  By now you know that the first season was a big success as we’ve already shot the second season and it starts airing next week (January 6th – April 6th), but I’m excited to say that the heart of SCARY SLEEPOVER has evolved even if the comical and silly premise has stayed the same.  It’s the same show you enjoyed last season, only this season shit gets heavy on a lot of the episodes.  I suppose that just kind of happened on its own, but the discussions about fears have gone to a whole new level of openness.  As you’ll see in this next season, one minute we’re acting like complete idiots and laughing it up while the very next minute someone is in tears while bravely baring their soul.  I couldn’t be more excited for you to see what’s coming over these next 14 weeks.  Tony Todd kicks off season 2 next Wednesday and… you’re in for a very compelling ride.

IMG_9273Shooting Season 2 of SCARY SLEEPOVER with Slash. (12/15) 

I HAD TWENTY SECONDS TO LIVE…

SCARY SLEEPOVER was immediately followed by 20 SECONDS TO LIVE, a scripted anthology featuring various scenarios where a character within the story meets their untimely demise.  The series was brought to us by co-creators Ben Rock and Bob DeRosa and producer Cat Pasciak.  They showed us their first 5 episodes and it was love at first sight.  So we convinced them to squeeze out a few more episodes and they just knocked them out of the park.

IMG_6584I was held captive while shooting Episode 5 “Ransom” (6/15)

Just like the other two original series offered on ArieScope.com so far- there is no outside budget/funding to speak of so the 20STL team does it purely for the love of it.  It’s been great to watch more and more people discover the series and become fans every week and we’re all hoping to see another season of 20 SECONDS TO LIVE happen in 2016.

I WAS HORRIFIED…

The week after 20 SECONDS TO LIVE concluded, our third original series HORRIFIED premiered.  A highly stylized confessional style reality show where artists share their most “horrifying” real-life stories, the fun in HORRIFIED lies in the fact that you have absolutely no idea what kind of story you’re going to get each week.  (And neither did we when we shot the episodes!)  Sean Becker (who co-created the series with me) and I both enjoy giving artists who work “behind the scenes” a chance in the spotlight whenever we can and with HORRIFIED we were able to feature a wide array of artists and not just known actors.  The result was 22 weeks of hugely entertaining stories told by actors, directors, producers, musicians, sound designers, cinematographers, 1st AD’s, and more.  While most of the stories leaned on humor or embarrassing confessionals, it was the occasional disturbing and truly horrifying story that really made the series shine.  I wish I could say that we had always planned for that but the beauty in HORRIFIED is that every artist featured in that first season had no example episode to watch and in turn base their own story telling on.  Everyone who came in was just themselves.  We simply asked them to sit down and talk about a time they were “horrified.”  The results were phenomenal and so, so unique from each other as “horrified” can mean so many different things to each individual person.  Between Will Barratt’s gorgeous dueling confessional lighting rings and Corri English’s terrific performances for each episode’s introduction, HORRIFIED really turned into a series that we can be proud of.  The show was a hit for us and a second season is already in the cards for next Fall!   (Our own production schedules pending, of course.)

IMG_6828Corri not only hosted and produced HORRIFIED… she looked pretty good doing it. (7/15)

I TURNED ARIESCOPE.COM INTO ITS OWN LITTLE NETWORK…

On March 6, 2016 ArieScope.com will have gone a full YEAR with a new episode of an original series released on our site every single week.  A more reasonable group of people may have challenged themselves to maybe doing two short films a year instead of just one for Halloween, but thankfully no one in this group is reasonable or afraid of a difficult challenge.  Between having a new episode of THE MOVIE CRYPT released every single Monday and a new original series episode released every Friday… we turned this site into its own little network of sorts.  What did we gain from all of that hard work?  Well, since there is no actual money in any of it, on one hand I guess you could say nothing… but the fact that in 2015 we kept our fans entertained with new things to enjoy twice a week is kind of EVERYTHING.  A group of us have put some serious blood, sweat and tears into pulling it all off.  In fact, as I write this I can hear Sean Becker and Jen Ramirez in the edit suite pulling even more hair out of their heads as they toil over getting Wednesday’s season 2 premiere of SCARY SLEEPOVER ready to launch.   With a new feature and a new season of HOLLISTON planned for production in 2016 I highly doubt that we’ll be able to pull off another year of new weekly original shows, but only time will tell.  I really, really hope we can find a way though!  It’s been so fun to put out something new every week and hear your immediate responses.  I’m literally pacing the studio with anticipation over the launch of Season 2 of SCARY SLEEPOVER.  Next week’s season premiere can’t come fast enough as I know we have something very special for you.

I STARTED MY JOURNEY “HOME”…

On July 20th we formerly announced that “the show would go on” and HOLLISTON would indeed have a third season.  Again, there’s another massive blog below this one where I detailed the long, hard road I’ve been through with HOLLISTON (a show that I’ve literally spent just about half of my life working on at this point) so I’ll keep this entry somewhat brief as that previous blog is filled with all of the information and answers that I can share this early on.  The big question of course is WHEN?  As we said in the announcement, production is planned for 2016 and I’m happy to say that so far that plan is steering its course.  The two biggest hurdles were recovering from the devastating loss of Dave Brockie and (after the demise of the show’s original TV distributor FEARnet) finding a new home that would make the series available for everyone to watch worldwide.  Few shows would keep fighting to go on after enduring such tragedies, but we’re HOLLISTON and we’ll keep fighting until we’re the last ones standing in the ring and everyone else has gone home.  You can read all about the new plan for distributing the series on GeekNation in that July 27th blog “THE SHOW MUST GO ON” but in short, unless your country blocks your internet (sorry North Korea) you’ll be able to watch/stream HOLLISTON on-line wherever you live- which was the most important factor when it came to deciding on whether to continue the series or not.  Watch the cast announcement by clicking the image below.

HollistonBLOGannouncement

Like any production, making things happen is  a game of Tetris where the financing and the main cast’s availability all need to land and line-up at the same time.  Given that you’ve got 2 working directors and a rock star (with more projects happening at any given time than most anyone alive) comprising half of the main cast… that’s incredibly difficult to accomplish.  Also, to be clear- HOLLISTON isn’t a show that can be produced on mere favors and good will like the various web series we do here for ArieScope.com.  Though we’re going to change with the times and distribute the show on-line (where most people already watch their favorite TV shows these days), HOLLISTON is going to still be the same TV show that it was before.  That means that it costs real money to make and that real money needs to come from somewhere.  Though we might be willing and able to pull off a full 10 episode season for far less than what the average network spends on just one 22 minute episode of a sit-com, it’s still expensive to make and when the money comes is not something that I can personally control.  Thankfully there is a concrete plan in place for all of that but as we’ve learned from past experiences, until the funding is in your hands you can only do so much besides “think happy thoughts.”  While everything is progressing as planned on that front and a summer shoot is still in sight, the only part of it all that I can control is writing this next season and that has been anything but easy.  For every few good writing days I’ll have, I’ll hit a moment where my brain can’t help but think of what to write for Dave and my process comes to a screeching halt.  Sometimes for days.  Sometimes for weeks.  I’ve had several writer friends ask me why I can’t just take what was already planned (a lot of which was already written before Dave passed away) and just write “Oderus” out.  It’s unfortunately just not that easy and in the end I’d wind up shooting a show that has a gaping hole in the soul of it as opposed to shooting a new season of a show that exists on its own without “Oderus.”  Of course it can all be done and with how hard I’ve had to work at it and adapt to this unwanted change, the core characters are only becoming stronger than ever before.  I’m very happy with what has been written so far and I feel like season 3 will be our best season yet.  But that’s not to say that it hasn’t still been a massive struggle.  While I’ve been able to incorporate the tragedies of my real life into the writing and use the heartbreak I’ve endured to make the show even better than it ever was before, at the same time I don’t want to see Season 3 become a season-long tear jerker or eulogy and therefore I am being extremely careful as I create.  It has been a painstaking process and I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as brutally critical of anything that I’ve written before.  I’ve never been tasked with writing something in circumstances similar to this and I’ve probably thrown out five times as much as I’ve kept so far.  A lot is riding on the words I commit to, even if that pressure is mostly created in my own head.

HollistonscriptYes, the scripts for season 3 are coming into existence! And before you declare the reveal of this episode’s working title to be a “spoiler” (given that Season 2 ended with “Laura” leaving for art school in Germany)… did you really think that “Laura” wouldn’t return in Season 3 or that I could write a season of HOLLISTON without my favorite character and personal muse?

On a positive note however, despite sitting down in front of my computer almost every day and trying to write this next season with all of the above weighing on my mind, I’m still getting it done.  And I’m really, really excited about what exists so far!   I’m hoping to start rehearsing the cast on the first five episodes as early as March, but with both Joe and I having our next feature films coming down the pipeline… it’s impossible to plan ahead too far.  Let’s say Joe’s next movie or my next movie gets green-lit for the Spring?  Well then HOLLISTON waits for awhile again.  And I only use Joe and I as examples because while any of the actors in the main cast could book a film at any point, as directors you aren’t just working on that project for a matter of days or weeks.  It’s months if not a year or more.   Again… Tetris.  But things always have a way of working out and for now it’s just taking it one day at a time and getting back on my feet one step at a time.  Season 3 is coming together and as soon as I have production or release dates- believe me I will share them!  Which brings me to the most important highlight of 2015…

IMG_7003Shooting the Season 3 announcement on June 28th with Corri, Laura, and Joe. I cherish every moment that I get to be in the same place at the same time with these 3 incredible people.

I LEARNED TO FLY AGAIN…

Looking back… it was an absolutely incredible year and an enormous rebound after the events of 2014 knocked me off my feet.  Though the workload was huge and it was probably crazy to put so much effort into so many projects that I continue to give away for free, in hindsight I think that I needed to put my head down and work like crazy to fight through to the other side of the clouds.  Things like the podcast and the various weekly original series may all be their own separate full-time unpaid jobs, but I love doing them because I love your enthusiasm for them.  And of course there were also plenty of other projects keeping me busy (like upcoming films) that I just can’t discuss yet.  Part of that secrecy stems from the standard industry practice of not saying anything until the powers in control formally announce things, but another part of it stems from just how great our experience was with DIGGING UP THE MARROW and how much nicer it was to work off of the public’s radar and then suddenly come out with the movie when it was ready to be seen.  I’m not saying that I’m already hard at work on another movie that you don’t know about yet… or maybe that’s exactly what I’m saying?  Point is, the moment you announce a project the clock starts ticking.  ”When is it coming out?”  ”When are you having set visits?”  ”Where’s the trailer?”  ”What will the Blu-Ray special features be?”  ”Will there be a sequel??”  ”WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG???”  And sometimes that’s all within just the first 30 days of the announcement.  So maybe it’s better to just go off and make the things and THEN one day just be like “here you go.”  Obviously that can’t always be the case as more often than not the powers that be need those trade announcements to start the process of introducing the project to the world market for things like foreign sales, etc.  But when we can keep things quiet… man, is that just better for everyone.  Announcing Season 3 of HOLLISTON so early in the process was obviously a huge exception to that manner of thinking, but in that specific case it was more about confirming that a decision was made that the show would indeed go on.  After all we were hit with, fans of the show were left waiting and fearing the worst so it was important to finally say something.  Most importantly… your enthusiasm, your excitement, and your incredible support has truly been the wind beneath my wings in getting back up and learning to fly again.

Sounds cheesy, yes- but there’s really no better way to say it.  For some, recovery might mean a year filled with therapy or a year sitting on the couch and hiding behind a bottle of liquor.  For me however, it was a year filled with hard work on whatever things were going to bring me happiness again.  If that meant putting out something new twice a week then that’s what it meant.  Will I ever attempt a year full of this kind of output again?  I don’t know.  But it sure got me through and man do I feel better now.

I usually try and close these annual “Year End” blogs with some sort of message or “lesson learned” but honestly I don’t think I learned anything that I didn’t already know.  I just needed to buckle down and do the things I needed to do to be happy.  As you know, I read every single message, letter, post, etc that you send me.  Even if I can’t always possibly respond to all of them- I do still read them all.  I know that some of you are coming off of a year that was similar to or even worse than my 2014.  Some of you are facing hard times that I can’t even begin to fathom.  And though I can’t fix any of it or come up with the magic words to make it all go away, I tried my best this year to show you that I heard you and to set a positive example.  Whether it was trying to keep you laughing from week to week, trying to take your minds off the bad things for just a few moments at a time, trying to share and relate so that you would know you’re not alone, trying to use the podcast to offer legitimate help with the “addiction special” or to provide hope with the “Santa Claus” episode… I tried to give back just some of what you’ve given me.  If I have any wisdom or advice to share it’s this: It’s OK to get knocked down and to even get kicked a bunch while you’re on the ground.  Just don’t get knocked out.  Go through it, feel bad, hurt, and nurse your wounds… but then find a way to stand back up and live again even louder and more ferociously than before.  I’m not saying you have to go on some crazy mission making your own little network of weekly free shows, I’m just saying surround yourself with good people and go do something.  ANYTHING.  Make stuff.  Create.  Collaborate.  Contribute.  Try new things.  Challenge yourself.   And most of all… learn how to fly again.

And with that I say “Farewell to 2015.”  Thank you to every single one of you for being here with me on this ride, no matter where the road may be taking me.  I wish you all the very best in the new year and I sincerely love you all.  You never know, but 2016 could just be the best year ever for all of us.  So, come on.  Let’s fly…

- AG   12/31/15

ArwenLEARNtoFLY“Well some say life will beat you down.  Break your heart and steal your crown.  So I’ve started out for God knows where.  Guess I’ll know when I get there.  I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings.  Coming down is the hardest thing.  I’m learning to fly around the clouds.  But what goes up must come down.  I’m gonna learn to fly… fly over my troubles… fly over my worries… fly high up in the blue sky… looking down on the world below… I’m gonna learn to fly.” – Tom Petty