the top 10 of 2012

the top 10 of 2012

greetings friends!

happy to bring you my “top 10” list for 2012. like with my previous lists (2011, 2010, 2009), I don’t limit it to one category or type of event…it’s a collection of the things that were the most memorable.

this Japanese film about the “punk rock song that saved the world” would probably have gotten an official number if it had be released this year. although it was released in 2009 I only saw it this year when it became available on Netflix instant. it’s a intricate and thoughtful film that weaves together the effects of a small event through multiple decades and characters. as it progresses you learn more and more about each separate story line, but it isn’t until the climax that all the threads come together in a delightful and glorious moment. the film celebrates human decency, dedication, and the pursuit of a purposeful life. it reminds us that all of our actions have consequences. even if we don’t notice or see the results immediately, the effect of what we do and say will ripple through time. that’s a pretty good lesson to remember.

here’s the trailer, which is pretty fast paced – so it’s kind of hard to keep up with the subtitles. but trust me, the film is a MUST see.

10.) Pear, Brie, and Honey
during the summer I was looking around the farmers’ market, thinking about things I could make and came across the idea to combine these three things. and wow. they are pretty fantastic together, especially with a nice glass of rye.

out of all the tv shows and movies I watched over the year, this series surprised and delighted me the most.

even though the show had a huge billboard in Hollywood, no one I knew had watched it. so one day, on a lark I decided to check out an episode.

I couldn’t believe it. it was SO good!

it had great action, amazing locations, babes, attention to military details, great performances AND strong dilemmas for the characters. it reminded me very much of THE UNIT, a show that I also adored…but this was the R-rated, and better written version.

just like something like DOWNTON ABBEY won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure this show will have its detractors… but dang. I can’t believe people aren’t talking about it.

after searching for an appropriate clip, I settled on the title sequence, which I think actually gives a pretty good representation of what the show is all about.

8.) Getting the Twain-y
towards the end of summer CERTIFIED played at Film Fest Twain Harte in Northern California. I was actually fairly familiar with the area. after graduating high school I moved there to finish up my associates degree and gain “residency” in the state.

moving there was the first stop on my journey to become a filmmaker. so going back and winning an award as a filmmaker was very rewarding. I also got to spend several days with my good friends the Meyer family, which was a treat in itself. more on the trip here.


7.) Film Festival Friends
there’s a lot of pluses to going on the road with a film, but I’d put the new friendships at the top of the list. I was fortunate to meet a lot of interesting and talented people… two of which I’m going to embarrass here. in chronological order…

I remember coming home late one night (probably early morning technically) in Cannes and being greeted by a clear-eyed and fastidiously working Fawaz. he was sitting in the lobby, wide awake, on his computer. as I stumbled off to much needed slumber, he stayed there working…apparently never having switched his internal clock to French time. we were able to hang out several months later at the Big Bear International Film Festival but it wasn’t until the Euro Cup that we really became friends. watching soccer day after day gives you a lot of time to chat and it wasn’t long before we realized how much we had in common.

at the Idyllwild Film Festival I met Trenton. the first memory I have is of him asking some great questions during the Q&A. the next was when his film BUTTONS IN THE GROUND won almost every single award in their category. it was pretty remarkable, but not unexpected as the film was very great. but it wasn’t until Twain Harte that we really got to hang out. at the awards dinner, I sat with him and his parents. during the course of some great conversation (and many glasses of wine) a new friendship was born.

Trenton & Luke

it’s kind of funny, because both these guys live in Los Angeles…but it wasn’t until we were out of town at festivals that we really connected.

6.) Summer Travel
this summer I was fortunate enough to do a bunch of travel that wasn’t festival related. I took a trip to Sheep Ranch and wrote a new screenplay, I went to San Diego for Comic Con, there were two trips to Bremerton for birthdays, and I went to Hawaii to be a part of my friend Jeff’s wedding. I guess I should say “my friends Jeff and Elena’s wedding,” but well, you know…I’ve known Jeff a lot longer. he is one of my oldest “LA friends,” and we’ve been there for each other on the many ups & downs of life over the last seven years…so it was particularly rewarding to be there with him on this special day.

Mr. & Mrs. Shelton

more pics from the summer travels, all shot on disposable film cameras are here.

5.) NYC park in the fall
in November I travelled to New York City to visit my friends Troy & Daisy and to screen CERTIFIED at the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival. it was my third trip to NYC and the first one where I really felt like I was getting the hang of it. I understood how to find my way around and had the freedom schedule wise to explore.

one of my favorite moments was sitting in a park, breathing the crisp air, and just watching the world move around me. it was so gorgeous and so, I don’t know “restorative?” it’s almost tough to put into words… I could imagine myself sitting in that park every afternoon, reading a book, drinking a coffee, and just taking a break from whatever was happening that day. it was the sort of moment I was sad to leave, but happy to have experienced.

a bench in fall

more on the trip here.

4.) 2 weeks in Mammoth
the first part of 2012 was a bit rough for me. editing work was slow, I wasn’t getting the feedback I needed on creative projects, CERTIFIED was in between festivals, there were girl problems, and to top it all of… I wasn’t going snowboarding!!!

which, interestingly enough could have made all the other things a lot less bothersome. I’ve been heartbroken with a dollar (literally) in the bank, but after a good day of riding I felt A-Ok. it’s one of the wonderful mysteries of snowboarding and something that I don’t really understand – but I’m pretty happy it works.

so in mid-April I went to Mammoth for a couple of weeks. I’d go ride in the morning, come home, take a nap, get up and start to work. I’d do some editing, then I’d write, then back to editing. I found that I was getting just as much accomplished as I would have working in Los Angeles.

talk about a “hmmmm” moment.

if I could be that productive AND snowboard everyday…why wasn’t I doing this more often?

that my friends, is question I’m still working on answering.

3.) Flyovers
while in mammoth I experience the first of two amazing flyover for the year…I was riding the chair lift up to one of the highest points on the mountain (about 11,000′) when I heard the roar of a jet engine.

but there was something different about the sound…something more powerful and more raw. moments later I realized why as a F-18 fight jet screamed over the top of me!!!! it was so low that I could read the numbers on it. it dropped into the valley below hugging the mountain and as I looky-loo’ed after it I almost fell off the chair.

a run later it passed by overhead again! this time I was on the snow, just about to head downhill and I was so overwhelmed by the speed, sound, and overall awesomeness of the moment that I fell over. it was incredibly exciting!!

the next flyover happened by in Los Angeles as the Space Shuttle Endeavor made its final flight. it had travelled around the United States en route to what would be its new home, the California Science Center. all morning long I listened to the radio and watched the shuttle’s path on TV. first Sacramento, then San Francisco, then down the coast to Malibu. finally it was traveling down the Santa Monica mountains towards Griffith Observatory.

I grabbed my camera and headed to the top of the hill to watch. I figured it would have to fly pretty close as it went from Universal City to Downtown LA… it was quite a scene full of neighbors and tourists waiting, checking their phones, one guy even had a portable TV to monitor the progress.

finally it arrived, and boy what a sight! a 747 is a huge plane…and with the Shuttle on top it is downright gigantic! we ooh’ed, ahh’ed, and cheered as it went East along the mountains, then looped to Universal City and finally flew directly overhead! it was such a fantastic moment. later I talked with the UPS driver (delivering my new iPhone) about how special the day was. even though we were both sad that the shuttle program was ending – what it had accomplished made us proud to be Americans.

the shuttle and the hills
last flight

2.) Mars Curiosity & the Space Jump
but the end of the Shuttle Program did not mean the end of NASA! we were going to Mars and it was going to be on the interwebs.

getting to live-stream the landing of Mars Curiosity was pretty spectacular. that night I was playing xbox with a friend and keeping one eye turned towards the computer. as the time got closer and closer we stopped playing Halo and watched on our respective computers. meanwhile I was txt’ing and instant messaging with other friends who were also glued to the webcast. it was a thrilling moment.

we landed something the size of a car on another planet…and we all got to follow along live!

then a couple months later a guy jumped out of a balloon at the edge of space. once again, live on the internet…it was an incredibly tense and exciting moment.

both of these achievements made me excited for the future of mankind in space.

here’s a short video recap of the space jump.

1.) Found in Kitsap
as anyone who reads my blog or follows my tweets knows, a lot of 2011 was spent working on my found camera project. (the background, the process.)

at the beginning of the year I had a pile of cameras with undeveloped film in them.
then by the end of the year, I had a completed draft of a book.

when I started collecting the cameras I didn’t know exactly what I was going to be doing with them…but I knew there was something there, something in the idea. so for months I’d spend a bit of time with the photos almost every day.

eventually the greater concept for the book came to me. then the order of the photos. then ideas for the individual stories. when I felt like I knew enough about each photo, I began to write. for a little over a month I wrote stories everyday, bouncing around back and forth in the book. sometimes I’d start with an “easy” one, sometimes I’d pick one that was challenging. as the days progressed there were fewer and fewer pages without stories. then one day, I was done.

“Found in Kitsap” is one of my most ambitious undertakings and one of things I am most proud of creating. As something I’ve spent years working on, getting it to the draft stage felt amazing. no longer was it just something I could tell people about…now it was something that I could SHOW them.

I’m really looking forward to sharing more of the process with y’all in 2013!

and as now special treat just for you readers, here’s an exclusive look at three more pictures from the project.


so what made your 2012 memorable? what are you looking forward to in 2013?


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