Thoughts on the New Year

Sunday, January 2, 2011

When 2009 passed into 2010, I didn’t have time to celebrate the new year. I spent those hours focused on a business project I finally was about to launch--a website called SpeedCine.

I had worked from six am to 11 pm six and a half days a week for a year and a half, and finally it was ready for my early January presentation.  It was a complete realization of my dream.  It worked perfectly. It did everything I had ever hoped it would do.

There was only one problem. Very few people were interested in the service I was providing.

It was a catastrophe. After briefly considering going all out and risking everything, I decided to face reality, cut my losses, and a month later I shut it down.

Since I closed SpeedCine, many wonderful things have come my way I did a lot of publicity writing, which I love (starting my fifth Woody Allen film now). I reestablished my friendship with Errol Morris, who I hadn’t seen in seven years. I reconnected with many other old friends when I went to Toronto to do publicity on Errol’s film “Tabloid.” I got a $1500 data bill from AT&T, and even that was great. Being overcharged by AT&T put me in contact with a lot of interesting people, from a guy at the FCC to a nice women who worked for AT&T’s CEO. And after the heavy traffic that my AT&T posts brought me, twice as many people now read my blog. And I had the honor of working with the brilliant Whit Stillman while he was making his new film “Damsels in Distress,” and met its star, Greta Gerwig, one of my favorite actresses.

Writing this blog was another highlight of 2010. I’ve gradually surrendered to the idea of it being more and more autobiographical. This was a big risk for me. I’d previously thought there would be no reason to read my blog unless there was something involving films or filmmaking in there somewhere, but oddly enough, I have received a lot more praise than criticism for doing this.

When I closed SpeedCine, I moved the clutter away from my desktop Mac and put my synthesizer back up there (it had sat on the floor for eighteen months). I could compose music again. I could fool around with making short films for YouTube.

And my wife appreciated my liberation from the computer monitor. We had a lot more time to enjoy life together.

So one door closed at the beginning of 2010 and many other doors opened. It’s a cliché, but clichés are clichés because they are often true. (Note that the previous sentence is an accurate cliché about clichés.)

The last few years have been very tough for myself and many of my friends, but I embark on 2011 with high hopes. I wish them for all of you as well.