2017 was the year I officially became a cliffjumper. Firing a gun into the mouth of doubt, I jumped off a cliff into the complete uncertain oblivion of the entertainment industry. From a nice, cushy full-time job at Westmarine, to southern California, with abject terror I leaped off the cliff and prayed for a safe landing.
My friend Kelly's reaction at the Geek and Sundry 2017/2018 NYE party to the man-kissing.
And here's my 2017 in review:
- Marketing manager at IDW
- Marketing manager on a temporary contract with AEG
- Making and painting puppets for Seth Green's Stoopid Buddy Stoodios working on puppets for Comedy Central
- The big release (and birthing) of my 1st boardgame, Cutthroat Kingdoms
- The nomination and winning of Cutthroat Kingdoms as Dice Tower's top 49th best game of ALL TIME!
- Picked up by Geek and Sundry for numerous guest talent slots
- Becoming a mainstay on Geek and Sundry's new Painters Guild show
- Being on a zombie photoshoot for Outbreak: Undead
- Founding my immersive game and experience studio: Deep Dark Studios
...mostly I belly-flopped into warm water and clear skies, but I did swan-dive into rocks on a few occasions, miraculously living after the physical therapist reoriented my spine and made sure my head faced forwards instead of backwards.
And then, to ring out 2017, and to ring in 2018, I somehow ended up at a Geek and Sundry party hosted by the illustrious Erika Ishii (of voice-acting legend), an event that was live streamed on Twitch to raise money, and awareness, for LGBTQ youth in need. I mankissed my way to helping them achieve their charity goal as the clock struck midnight! What a wonderful opportunity to meet new fellow nerds, geeks, and puppet animators!
The uncertainty of 2017 was palpable. How am I going to pay my rent? Why am I making puppets? How am I going to pay my rent making puppets? I had left a cushy job at Westmarine headquarters in Santa Cruz for the uncertainty of the entertainment industry with terror in my eyes, sweatsoaked bedsheets, and, a little kicking and screaming. And what happened?
I'm here in southern California, happier then ever, but not without a new mantra for 2018. My new mantra is: DISCIPLINE. Not only discipline with my time, my energy, finances, and my diet, but most important of all: discipline with my focus. Discipline is my new friend in 2018, and I cannot say all this, and be here, if it wasn't for my impulsive and wild rabbit hunt that defined 2017. But let 2018 be the year of laser focus, and further commitments to myself to unlock my dreams.
The entertainment industry IS the place of sparkles, unicorns, glitter, and daydreams-turned-reality, but it does not come without a cost. Being an self-employed and independent contractor does not mean a day can go by without working. The hustle, and the grind of this life takes its toll, and is not for the feint of heart, or those who think things come easy. Life lesson 1005: things don't come easy, they come, and then you feel like it was easy, but it wasn't.
Keep your nose to the grindstone, and welcome me in celebrating 2018! Cheers to your new mantra, and cheers to your success (in whatever it is you do). May you be able to pay your rent, and have fun doing it. My biggest note to mention: DREAMS COME TRUE!
Be kind to yourself, and others. Nothing is more rewarding, both professionally, or personally, then the kindness and compassion you give to others.
NOTE: Here is the link to the FULL NYE ERIKA ISHII charity party live stream!!!