Those bold enough to ask for the cookie, get the cookie.—my friend and agent Julie Fink
These days are full of ups, downs, excitement one day, jerk backs the next. I think I’ve reached a point where perhaps I can let go and let God with this movie. This not a state easily achieved for me.
You see in addition to my bipolar disorder I have anxiety and when things get rough I get anxious. I suppose it would be better if I could roll with the punches better that’s a work-in-progress state of mind. Right now I’m okay.
If can survive the rough seas of the past five months I can really survive anything. And to wit, as to anyone who’s read this blog knows recovery is not an end point with mental illness but a journey. A one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time journey you measure your small victories and come out a winner.
When taking a shower is a major accomplishment. When cleaning up your room only because you can’t stand it anymore amounts to a major victory. Applause is needed on those days. Validation for your efforts. Knowing your existence matters to someone may be the only thing that really has you hanging on. Sometimes it’s your pet who needs you as you need them that keeps you alive.
Depression is awful. It is, as I’ve seen the posts all day say, so much more than being said.
Depression is loathing yourself. Where you hate yourself so much that you stop taking care of yourself. I’m lucky my depressions and my manias seem to have been cycling at a rate I can function at. But make no mistake there is not wanting to get up in the morning and your simply tired. But you don’t want to get out of bed at all. You don’t want to face the world. You want to physically hide from it and isolate yourself from all human contact. You self-worth goes into the crapper. It’s wanting the pain in your head, heart and soul to simply stop. It’s wanting cry uncle and give up things you are most passionate about.
Make no mistake. Making a film is hard. It is the fucking hardest thing an independent filmmaker can choose to do. You start with nothing but a script. And honestly writing it is my favorite part of the process because it’s the first and last it will ever just me, Missy and the words on the page.
Making the decision to produce was not a flight of fancy. Considerations were made and when I first stepped into the role feature film producer I had to find the money. At some point in your film’s journey people are going to exit from the project. Not taking it personally is hard to do when the material is as personal as Letters to Daniel is. It’s natural for others to get nervous and express this. But independent film is not for the feint of heart.
And though I have wanted to cry uncle on more than occasion. And lay in a ball curled in a fetal position. I have refused to do so. I let myself wallow. I vent to proper people. And when I’ve finished grieving that particular version of the film I start hearing the voices of my critics. And believe you me. They are out there. I hear them. And want them to know. I have overcome worse in my life than people telling me no you can’t. You need to find someone else to direct. You are not capable. You need to grow and learn how to play in the real world. Your illness isn’t real. I’m sick of Letters to Daniel and I’m sick of you promoting it all the time.
I hear these things and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t sting or fuck me up sometimes. But in the end they’re fuel for the fire. The kind of fire that needs to burn to power you like a steamroller over your critics.
I’m proud to say today the memoir launched from these pages is now an Amazon International Bestseller! Topping out at #4 in the United States, #3 in Canada, #2 in Japan, and #6 in Australia. Also #61 in Germany, #21 in the UK, and #57 in the Netherlands. The screenplay enjoying more success than any of our other screenplays. Hitting the board as at least an official selection in 6 festivals and placing second in the Los Angeles Film Festival Awards.
Admittedly with the film we’ve had some setbacks.
But in cinema, especially independent film there will always be set backs.
I should thank my critics for triggering my illness. It’s made me humble. It’s made hungry again. It’s fed the fire that was dying down. Now my critics don’t get any of the credit for my film’s success. No, I succeed in spite of them. It is mine and Missy’s and team’s hard work alone that determines the fate of this film.
I know people talk.
I know I’m a big personality, that comes in hard and that doesn’t always make for the softest of landings. But this film is my passion. I write my books purely because I love to write. I write scripts because I dream one day they’ll be on the big screen. Or the little ones. Television. The next frontier.
I was down. But my friends, Missy, Pam, Julie, Barbara, Stephen Z., Frank Hall, Delilah, Lea S., Leah (from Louisville), and my mom, dad, aunt Debbie, aunt Jan, uncle Frank, Tony (for president) Acree, my therapist, my psychiatrist, aunt Jan. You all put me back together. You laid the ground work so that this moment was possible. My mental health is key and you all play an important role.
You all picked me up dusted me off and told this was mine and Missy’s film and that yes we could do this. There are others out there I talk to all the time I could take half and just write names but you know who you are. You’ve seen me through difficult times recently and for that I thank you.
Hollywood or bust!