Film-y type stuff

With the 17th annual Sidewalk Film Festival coming up this weekend in Birmingham, take some time to watch last year’s Audience Award Winner – It Is What It Is, from director Mike Cunliffe. It’s now on Amazon Instant Video.

Cunliffe also acted in the film Death to the World, which is also on Amazon.

If you’re attending Sidewalk this year, be sure to check out some films made by some friends of mine. Look for screenings of Little Cabbage, Dead Saturday, and For a Few Zombies More.

There will be more news coming soon about a couple of other film-related projects, but in the meantime, my friend Somica Spratley is working on her film Without Obsession, and she has a fundraiser going on IndieGoGo. Click here to check that out.

And the crew from Foolish Henry Films (Death to the World, City Federal) have started pre-production on a new project. More soon…

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
-Leonard da Vinci

This. I get it. Mr. da Vinci is correct. But I think I sometimes take it a step further because I also look at end results, produced work.

So many times it feels that no matter how much I’m trying to do, or how many projects I’m working on, it’s never enough. I should be doing more. (How many hours am I losing to this sleep stuff, right?)

In fact, I just looked at the date of my last blog post and then looked at my calendar to see what I’ve done, you know, other than not update this thing. I’ve been busy, but I can be busy and still feel as if I’m standing still.

I’ve played some shows, traveled out of town a bit, done some filming, some photography, writing and pre-production on a project, seen a play (Smoke on the Mountain at the Wetumpka Depot), hung out with friends, tried new beers, learned how to make homemade flour tortillas…

I’ve got film footage and photos to edit and preparation for a handful of other projects in the works, but there’s a disconnect. I still ask myself what I’m doing?

But hey, that’s not really even what I had planned on writing in this post, but there it is. Check out that stream-of-consciousness right there. But yeah… I guess just focus on the “projects in the works” part and know that there is stuff on the way.

In other news, I’ll be back at the Recovery Room in Dothan this Friday, playing with my friend Mike VanDusen. Starts at 9. No cover.

“if yes, you come in the true site…”

Death to the World, the slasher/horror film from Foolish Henry Films, is now available on Amazon Instant Video!

That is actually a real quote in the promo pic I put together on the left. I left all grammatical errors intact.

Click here to check it out on Amazon.

The Switch

The Switch

Last month, I had the opportunity to be part of the writing and acting team for a short film for the Atlanta 48 Hour Film Project.

It was directed by Trishunda Mooney and sponsored by Indie Film LOOP.

It’s a comedy that was written, filmed, edited, and scored all within 48 hours. And it’s now available to watch on YouTube.

Click here to watch The Switch.

This past Saturday, I got another chance to work with a couple of the people that I met during filming for The Switch. They were filming a short titled Cooler Than Lemonade, and I played an awkward jogger (I know, if I’m running in a film, it’s always awkward, but this one is even more awkward than usual.)

And speaking of film projects, I went ahead and made a Filmography page for projects I’ve been a part of.

“Hey I don’t appreciate your lack of sarcasm!”

That quote is from Louise Belcher on Bob’s Burgers. It has nothing to do with anything else in this post.

Tomorrow night, I’m playing at The Barrel Room in Enterprise, AL, brought to you by Treehouse Booking. Starts at 8 pm.

Flyer design by Michael VanDusen.

This Saturday night, It Is What It Is will be screening at the Capri Theatre in Montgomery. It was written and directed by Mike Cunliffe (who also appears in Death to the World) and last year won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Sidewalk Film Festival. Starts at 9:30 pm. Details here.

Next Tuesday, July 21, is the third Tuesday of the month, which means the monthly guitar pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse will be happening. That starts at 7 pm.

Also, thanks to everyone who came out to the show Monday night to see Fall of Adam, The Cradle, and The Gradients, and thanks to Vegan Deviled Egg for booking and promoting shows.

Practice. #fallofadam #music #safeplaceforart #sanctuary #montgomery #alabama #mgm

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You are not alone

“What’s on your mind?” asked the box on Facebook. I started typing. Then I backspaced and waited a few minutes.

I returned to the box and started typing once more, but again, deleted it. The words weren’t coming out the way I wanted them to, the way I thought they should. It just didn’t flow.

A friend had just posted a blog post, publicly and bravely talking about her personal struggles with depression and anxiety. It reminded me of this other blog post I read recently, and even my own.

It reminded me of Project 1 in 4 (website | Twitter | Instagram), an art project based on the statistic that 26.2% of American adults currently suffer from a diagnosable condition.

So I wanted to post something encouraging to others, just in case it was needed. We all have different circles of friends, and with Facebook’s ever-changing logarithm, you never really know who sees what posts, and you really never know who might need that little boost of encouragement that day.

And the only thing I could really come up with at the time was this: You are not alone.

You are not alone.

Of course, with the various senses of humor in my friends group, it ended up being “forever alone” memes and Michael Jackson lyrics (not linking to that.) I love my friends and their senses of humor, so yes, I left all the comments intact. Maybe someone laughed, and that served as their encouragement. Who knows?

But when someone bravely opens up about something that personal – which is not easy – it’s an encouraging reminder of that message: You are not alone.

Photography and prints

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot more photography, and after consulting with a couple of friends (who happen to be great artists), I decided to start a Society6 page in case anyone would like to have a print of some of the photos I’ve taken.

So here is the link: (and I highly recommend checking out Monarch Images and Studio Nil while you’re on the site.)

Below are some samples of some of my prints:

Guitar Pull and more!

Tonight, I’ll be joining Joseph Johnson and Mandi Rae at the Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery for the monthly guitar pull. I’ll be playing mostly new songs that I have written since Ghost of a Town was released. Actually, the last time I played this event was just after its release, in November 2013.

It’s a fun event, and I have actually gotten to photograph the last two. Click here for photos from April. Click here for May.

In film-related news, this Thursday, June 25, a short film I was in will be screening in Atlanta. It was part of the Atlanta 48-Hour Film Project, and our team was sponsored by Indie Film LOOP and led by director Trishunda Mooney.

With this type of project, you are given four things on a Friday evening – film genre, prop, character name, and a phrase – and you have to write, cast, film, edit, score, and turn in a finished film by Sunday night that is between four and seven minutes.

The finished short, titled “The Switch,” will screen this Thursday at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, GA, in Group E, at 7:15 p.m.

In other news, here is a really brave blog post that I would encourage you to read about depression and anxiety. It’s titled “The Semicolon Project,” and also, if you haven’t done so already, check out Project 1 in 4.

Who needs sleep anyway, right?

Nick Patterson, Adam Davila, and me. Photo by Eric Hoehn.


  • Fri: wake at 7 a.m.
  • Sat: sleep at 5 a.m.; wake at 8:30 a.m.
  • Sun: sleep at 7:30 a.m.; wake at 10:30 a.m.

No, those times are not mistakes. I didn’t switch “a.m.” for “p.m.” It was just what ended up being a filming schedule from this past weekend, and I loved every delirious minute of it.

The short film I mentioned last month – Four Thousand Wings – went into production this past weekend. It was a four-man operation – Adam Davila, Nick Patterson, Eric Hoehn, and me – as we served in roles both behind and in front of the camera. Many thanks to them for being on board and making this happen.

We filmed in Selma, AL, mostly in the historic St. James Hotel. Editing will start soon, probably after we’re able to catch up on some sleep. Updates soon!

Filming, day 2. #fourthousandwings #indie #film #filmmaker #filmmaking #selma #alabama

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It begins! #fourthousandwings #indie #film #filmmaker #filmmaking #selma #alabama

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From last night… #fourthousandwings #indie #film #filmmaker #filmmaking #selma #alabama #moon #canon

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Still filming… #fourthousandwings #indie #film #filmmaker #filmmaking #selma #alabama #setlife

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Project 1 in 4

Last week, I was reading some stuff on the Brain Pickings website, and I read an article about a project that merges art and awareness. Part of the title describes the project well: “Drawings Illuminating the Everyday Realities of Life with Mental Illness.” The project is called “Project 1 in 4.”

The project website says that 26.2 percent of American adults – 1 in 4 people – suffer from a diagnosable condition, and describes the project this way:

“Project 1 in 4 is a daily exploration of the everyday struggles presented by mental illness. Because banishing the stigma of mental illness starts with awareness, and awareness begins with education, mindfulness and empathy.”

I really like the art and perspective that artist Marissa Betley uses to showcase things that have been said to her in interviews. The drawings, simple black-and-white sketches, are powerful in the messages they convey.

I contacted Betley via email to thank her for doing this, to praise her work, and to ask if I could be of any assistance. I think the intersection of art and awareness is great and thought-provoking, and I think her drawings are wonderful.

Betley replied with very kind words, and asked about using a quote from a recent blog post as part of her art/awareness project, which I gladly agreed to.

For Day 49 of the project, she paraphrased this quote from that post: “When those times hit, I would get reclusive. I would withdraw. I didn’t want to be social. I didn’t want to be around anyone.”

By Marissa Betley, Project 1 in 4.

See more from Project 1 in 4.

Generosity and stillness

Last weekend, I got to spend some time with some wonderful people in Nashville (and enjoy some great food and coffee!) On the way home, I was listening to an NPR affiliate station, and “On Being” was on. The host was interviewing Maria Popova, the creator of the website Brain Pickings (which I have come to thoroughly enjoy.)

When checking out the website and a few of the great, thought-provoking articles, I saw under the “must-reads” sidebar an article titled “Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living.”

I would encourage you to click that link and read the whole thing. I found it to have some really good wisdom in it, much more depth than you’ll ever find in any “listicle” on some click-bait website.

All seven things are very good, but two of them really caught my attention as being relevant in my life right now, and I wanted to share them with you:

Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.

Look at that line: “It’s easier to be a critic than a celebrator.” Be genuinely happy for others’ successes. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and jealousy, and most people can spot it quickly. But in my opinion, that aspect really goes to everything in life: be genuine; be you; be real.

Remembering that there is a human on the other end of every exchange is also important. Be kind. Try to understand, and communicate clearly to be understood.

The next one:

Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.

I have come to realize the importance of this in the past couple of months. Walking, meditating, just the act of taking deep breaths – all of these can help you both physically and mentally. Clear your head, calm down, focus on the moment. Find the beauty in the world.


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