It’s a Small World

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Is that perhaps the most trite and overused phrase in the English language? Quite possibly, but I used it anyway. I had to. I mean, there’s no other way to quite so concisely express how interconnected we are. It’s especially true in a specific community like actors/independent filmmakers in a mid sized city like Seattle.

I’ve probably mentioned before that I lived in Seattle for seven years, moved to New York, then after five years there, moved back to the Emerald City. Hey, New York is great, but it wasn’t where I wanted to stay, so thanks to some prodding by my wife (Tracy Moore Fontaine), we came back to our adopted home.

New York is known for its neighborhoods, where despite the size of the city as a whole, your neighborhood is as small as any suburban town. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, the waitress at the Greek diner knew that whenever I came in I wanted a tuna melt with a side of rye toast (you need the extra order of toast to make 2 little sandwiches, because for some reason in New York they serve tuna melts open faced-weird!) The sports-obsessed counter staff at La Bagel Delight knew I went to USC and always flipped me some crap about the football team (I smiled and joked back even though I rarely had any idea what they were talking about.) On the way to the subway each morning, I saw all the same people, and wondered if someone was sick if I didn’t see them for a day or two, even though I didn’t know their names or where they worked. That was the first time I ever had experienced that kind of anti-anonymity. Though I grew up in a relatively small town in suburban New Jersey, people weren’t friendly in their neighborhoods, I always went to school far from where I lived, and everyone pretty much went from their cars to the strip mall and back again, so unless you were lurking around the Quick Stop like Kevin Smith, you just didn’t really run into people. Same thing in college in L.A. There were something like 30,000 students wandering past Tommy Trojan daily, and about 100 in the typical auditorium classes. So you didn’t really connect with too many people, especially if you weren’t in a fraternity or sorority, which I was not.

So when I came back to Seattle from New York, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find the type of people who I’d want to collaborate with. Many of my friends had moved on. Some sought more gainful employment in the entertainment industry in LA, some went back to the Midwest or wherever they were from, and a few fled to the EU during the Bush years. Really, I didn’t know many people in town anymore, and didn’t have a lot of prospects for meeting more because I was working from home, still for the company I worked for in New York.

Luckily, one friend (the very talented Persephone Vandegrift, with an amazing project or two of her own) who had bounced around the world a bit was in town and helped me re-enter the theatre and film scene, and eventually introduced me to Glynis Mitchell who’d recently had a discussion with Michael Montoure about possibly doing one of those webseries things.

Since then, I’ve met a lot more local stars, and started running in to them at auditions, on sets, in the audience of local theatres, and online on Twitter and Facebook. Now the most interesting thing to me is not that the world is so small, but that it is SO DENSELY PACKED WITH TALENT! I’m constantly impressed with the work they do, the dedication they have to producing excellent products, and the true spirit of collaboration they exhibit. You’d think that with so much talent bouncing around, one would encounter no end of egos, backstabbing, and ill will. Not so! Instead, these people SHARE their contacts, their advice, their gifts, and even their money with their colleagues! This conversation came up on set the other day and my observation was echoed by another local multi-hyphenate (actor-director-producer) who also is pleasantly surprised with the spirit of cooperation amongst artists in these parts. I’m not dreaming! It’s REAL!

The creators I’ve met (in person and virtually), understand something that I firmly believe (which is perhaps one of the reasons why they have accepted me into their ranks): We are the trailblazers in an emerging medium whose time will come-and soon. If we work together to raise awareness of the high-quality storytelling, acting, and cinematography that is now accesible online, audiences and funding sources will follow. Our work deserves to be seen. Our efforts deserve to be rewarded. As one we can ensure that it is.

I’ve been tempted to name more names during this article to highlight some of the people in Seattle, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and beyond who are part of this small but growing world, but I decided against it. I don’t want to leave anyone out. Instead, I invite anyone who is a member of the Online Entertainment, Independent Filmmaking or Webseries community to post your name/twitter/website/blog, etc. in the comments below. I will try to connect with you, and help you spread the word of your projects. I look forward to seeing the world get even smaller, while it paradoxically gets larger as well.

Posted by   @   January 4, 2012 0 comments
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