5/7

The three phases of getting the opportunity to edit, write, and co-produce my first feature documentary six months after being carried into a padded room and forcibly injected with anti-psychotic and sedative pharmaceuticals in the midst of a spiritual awakening…

Phase 01 - Fuck, I’m totally getting fired from this and I’m going to end up homeless.

Phase 02 - Wow, this is the coolest thing ever.

Phase 03 - I’ve completely outgrown this and can’t do it anymore.

I filmed the first video above on my webcam in the summer of 2022. I had just gotten off a Zoom call and it was the moment I knew I was completely done being an editor. It took a while to fully let go and I saw this project through to completion but this is when I started going full Shawshank and slowly escaping a career I spent a long time building. Mahalo to the light for its impeccable timing ☀️

After being injected in the hospital, there are entire days I don’t even remember. Even though I admitted myself voluntarily, they wouldn’t let me out without taking their pills unless I was willing to be escorted by ambulance to a courtroom and plead to a judge. I wasn’t in any kind of state to be doing that so I just stayed but continued to refuse pills. After a long stalemate I eventually caved under the intense pressure of everyone around me just to get out of there. Once you’re on that poison long enough for them to check off their liability checkbox and release you the real you has long set sail though

I remember being completely terrified when I first started the Geoff project. Being on Risperidone felt like being tortured while half dead; think Weekend At Bernies meets Daniel Johnston’s Tiny Desk concert.

I’d give myself constant “pace breaks” to anxiously walk up and down the hallway of my apartment to try to soothe the extreme restlessness from the meds. A global pandemic just started too and my partner at the time was dependent on me financially. I had never done a feature before. The director Dan Covert is no dummy and usually edits everything himself.

Yikes.

I thought for sure I was getting canned when I sent him that first rough cut.

I still stand by certain choices I made in that first pass but it was pretty far off the mark from where he wanted it to be.

You know what this dude said to me over the phone in the most friendly sounding voice though?

“You ever hear of that band the Postal Service?”

Thinking of that moment brings tears to my eyes. It’s something I will never forget and who knows what would’ve unfolded in my life had things tipped the other way that day.

Just like the Postal Service we started sharing files back and forth for a while and soon enough I had taken back the reins completely on the edit side (at least as far as pushing buttons go.) It ended up being a three year on and off endeavor until the movie was finally complete and in that time period I also completely transformed myself from the inside out with meds left far in the rear view mirror.

Before I keep this love train going 💛🚂, I’m going to take a step back and keep it real for a minute. I hope I’m taking more of a Miss Cleo approach on this one not the one like in that other Chappelle skit though 👐🏽⛽

While there are moments and aspects of the movie I truly love and find beautiful, I can’t say I feel a deep connection to the finished piece as a whole. It was actually super refreshing to watch it again recently like an audience member now that I’ve had a lot of distance from it but it felt uncomfortable to see my name at the top of the credits at the end.

Up until being involved in this project, I had been used to doing short docs in between commercial projects with @eeeeeeej for no money where I could pretty much do whatever I want in the edit room. I had far more input on the production, music, and finishing as well. We spent three years making a 19-minute documentary together and the dude straight up sent me a paper check for $200 at the end of it. That was a raise compared to the last two we did together and back then I loved the process of making those for the most part except for having to prep for color correction myself 🙅‍♂️

The Geoff movie had a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I was being paid to help bring someone else’s vision to life and infuse my personal touch where appropriate. There were narratives I wanted to explore personally but after testing the waters a bit it didn’t feel like it was my place to try to impose them. When people are referring to Geoff’s childhood experiences of non-ordinary states of consciousness as schizophrenia and cracking jokes about his “new age” bracelet I was like dude; there’s absolutely no way they’re ever going to go for the real idea I have for this film.

It was a job and there were other writers. There were test screenings in a big theater with audience surveys on clipboards and spreadsheets of the results to follow. At the time, part of me was like “Woah, cool! This is like some “real movie stuff”. I’m grateful for that one time experience but it’s not a creative process I wish to ever take part in again. My priorities became make people happy, get paid, heal myself, and express myself authentically in the places that I can. I have many conflicting feelings about the process and finished result now that I’m on the other side of it. If I feel that way and my name’s attached to something there needs to be caveats; which is partially what this post is about.

What I do feel a deep connection to on the whole though are the people involved in the movie simply as human beings. I’m also incredibly grateful for the experience of growth and the financial support this project provided me with during a very fragile time in my life and in the world.

One of the best, yet brief, parts of the movie echoes a similar sentiment about what’s really important.

In the first video above I was actually mostly thinking about my felt connection to Spike’s work when I was younger. Those that are familiar with it will understand the song reference. The praise transmitted in the use of the video today is intended for everyone involved in the movie though.

I used to watch the intro to Fully Flared with such a sense of wonder after coming home from my 9-5 editing commercials and I can’t tell you how many times we hit pause on whatever we were editing back in those days to watch the Arcade Fire video he did with Greta Gerwig. It always made me feel something very deep inside but I couldn’t fully understand what that was at the time.

I grew up making skate videos before I ever made anything else. It was the doorway to all things creative and my first passion that didn’t come from school or my parents. There’s something really pure about that and on paper, having Spike Jonze EP my first feature opportunity is supposed to be the best thing ever. But, why does it not really feel that way on the inside?

That’s around when I started traveling, tapping that 401k, selling my condo. Whatever it takes to find my way back home. Nowadays, I’m feeling closer to that place than I ever have and I have this movie to partially thank for that.

@dancovert The first time I ever met you, the first thing I thought to myself was, “That is the kindest, most gentle set of horns I’ve ever seen anyone throw up in the air 🤘How does a dude that’s my height, genuinely seems to enjoy advertising, and is jacked pull that off?

I didn’t express it to you verbally at the time but that intense frustration I was experiencing throughout the latter part of this project is something I’m grateful for nowadays. It served as a partial catalyst for some incredible traveling, soul searching, and exploring new things creatively.

Thank you again for the opportunity and congratulations on the release. What you and this movie did for me back then transcends any feelings I may have about it in the present.

@mcfetridge I have immense gratitude for you and your family. I grew and learned so much as a human being from your willingness to share openly about your life and journey; much of which never made the final cut. It’s incredibly generous to open your life publicly so people can learn from your lived experience. The world needs more artists and this film is going to inspire new ones. In an early interview Dan asked you what you would do if you made a film about yourself and your response was something about a story of being rescued from the “tweaked world”. Well, that’s not the direction this movie ended up taking but it’s pretty close to what happened to me during the years of making it. If we want to get all “yoga about it”, at the end of the day there really is no “you” and no “me” anyway, so, mission accomplished? Dude, thank you 🙏🏻and congratulations on the release.

@andrewpaynterphotography Your photographs are one of my favorite parts of the movie. They’re incredibly special. They forced me to confront the unfortunate reality that I let money, time, and convenience get in the way of my true love for analog film. As a teenager, friends would make fun of 16mm sections in Transworld videos but to me they were the most magical and made me want to get a job so I could buy and process film. Your photos contributed to me reexamining what originally made me fall in love with images in the first place; both moving and still. My future self and the people that surround me then will be eternally grateful for the wakeup call. The thought of me being 88 years old with a collection of moments from the next five decades captured on film again makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. I can only hope they exude a similar quietness you speak of in your work.

@atibaphoto - you have like two lines in this entire movie and it has the dude that made Video Days in it but in terms of skateboarding honestly I was more psyched when I heard I was getting paid to edit some interviews with someone that had a part in chomp. I am using this opportunity to formally request a sequel on behalf of my entire generation. Your part was great, but @ryangee_photo had the best song and goofy inward heelflips are my shit. He was also kind enough to chat with me on AOL about fisheye lenses once when I was 14 after looking him up in the Member Directory. After writing this post I got psyched to film a little tribute. Enjoy 🤙🏻

@danieljohnstonofficial - In my early twenties I used to chain-smoke cigarettes while driving out to Montauk with your music on loop. I wanted to be a film editor version of someone like you in many ways. I wanted to make things that made me feel something real inside and have a mystique surrounding me that nobody could ever fuck with or understand. Then I ended up in the psych hospital like you and had an encounter with what one would call the devil. That dude’s really just a western archetype for low vibes and fear; if I grew up in India the names and forms accompanying the whole experience would’ve been different but the underlying lesson still would’ve been the same. Instead of fighting or playing cards with that poor fella though I completely surrendered to love with the complete willingness to die. You know what though? I didn’t die. I dissolved into the infinite and found out we are indeed the music not the musician just like our friend Geoff says.

Music. God. Christ consciousness. Shiva. 5D. Call it what you want. They’re all just names pointing to the same thing. Doctors and current mainstream society are never going to give anyone the permission to start embodying that truth though. You gotta hop fences. All of them. I no longer idolize you Daniel. I learn from your lived experience and listen to what you came to this Earth to say. I seek experiences that touch me the same way some of your music does but in a way that’s healthy and sustainable. For me that’s the most profound way to honor your life and work. I aspire to one day create something that touches people on the level that you have. I’m pretty sure you were a channeler too and some of your work was streaming in from those realms way up high. Thanks buddy 🫂 I know it wasn’t an easy one this time around ❤️

And last but not least…

@jnj Thank you for producing a pharmaceutical that created an experience so awful that I probably burned through lifetimes worth of karma in 18 months. I choose physical death before I let that poison inside of my body again but as the homie @ernieanastos would say; keep fucking that chicken. Your time will come.

There are many other people to thank, but the ones closest to me I got to express in person at the premiere last year.

To everyone else on here….

Not that you ever needed it, but I hereby grant you permission to expand your consciousness beyond the limitations of every system in existence; including western medicine.

Also, the movie I just said all those things about is out. Watch it. Don’t watch it. Whatever. Do you.

My real work of art is this post and my well-being. The Geoff movie is something I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from. In terms of a life and learning experience I give the whole thing a 10 out of 10. In terms of the finished piece itself; it’s a sandcastle whose existence I respect but it’s not one I would call my own. Please know the credits are alphabetical and I didn’t edit the trailer where the opening line is about a Pepsi billboard. I also had no say in the official poster (the one you see here is a bootleg).

If you’re looking for the “code” Geoff’s cracked I don’t think you’ll ever find the real answers in this movie. There are hints though. If you start paying more attention to when he’s posting on Instagram about crossfading dimensions and optimism not being merely an internal process you’ll be heading in the right direction. I call that channeling and manifestation and I know it’s my purpose to help humanity anchor in unity consciousness on Earth through the use of those abilities.

Luckily, there’s plenty of sand and time to go around 🏰

Thanks again everyone 🤍

Peace 🕊️