Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The New Me

As most people who know me know, 2005 was a series of ball-kicks, professionally-speaking. Two of the biggest coups of my writing career came with very similiar disasterous consequences (though the first case should have taught me to prepare for the second). On the other hand, both were opportunities I couldn't pass up, and, I hope, made me smarter and stronger. They certainly made me, and Amy, exceptionally motivated to get our own projects off the ground again, and take another step towards our goal of making Happy Cloud Pictures a successsful, professional filmmaking company.

But about a week into 2006, I was still feeling the claw-marks of the previous year. And I decided that a change had to be made. I read somewhere that the easiest way to spark an internal change is to make a change externally. So I did something I once vowed to never do: I cut my hair.

The choice was obvious. I've had the same hairstyle and trademark length for seventeen years and it would have been eighteen next week. A lot of the people in my life have never seen me with short hair - Amy's entire family for one - and most of my family has been begging me to cut it for nearly the same amount of time. Ultimately, though, I did it because I wanted to. It was time for a change.

(When Were-Grrl had its Pittsburgh premiere, it was at a monthly film review called "Film Kitchen" and the other film playing that evening was a documentary a young woman did during her work-study in Dublin, Ireland. She had every opportunity in the world to document her trip, the differences in cultures, etc., but, instead, she chose the narcissistic route and focussed on her decision to shave her head. The entire documentary was about this decision and the event itself. (Quite frankly, it was a waste of time and videotape.) My decision was not this radical, and I'm not trying to give it as much weight.)

Now, I've said on countless occassions, when people suggest that I dye my ever-increasing gray, or get my hair styled, or hand me bottles of facial moisturizer, etc., that "being me doesn't require my full attention". I don't like to spend hours blow-drying, primping, moisturizing, etc. I'm not Patrick Bateman. I don't skin-peel, I don't loufa, I don't use astringint, I can't do 1,000 sit-ups at four in the morning, nor would I attempt any of it.

Ultimately, the decision had little to do with the haircut itself. I needed to break out of the self-destructive cycle I'd been stuck in between 2003 and 2005. I need to stop seeing everyone I meet as a friend, trusting them implicitly. I'm in the wrong business to be that naive. And I need to stop seeing professional decisions as either attacks from their end or crucial lines-of-death on mine. I have to remind myself to be careful and not become one of those I dealth with in 2005: folks whose egos outweigh their talent and their experience. Art and commerce can co-exist on the productions I can control, and I have to - to quote the old Irish saying - "Have the strength to change the things that I can, and the grace to accept the things I can't. (And the wisdom to know the difference.)"

The positive aspects to come out of 2005 are: as disasterous as the business-dealings I had were, they weren't financially disasterous. They were only damaging to "Mike Watt the Artist", and unless you are a complete narcissist, the artist aspect can be the easiest one to repair. If I chose the battles wisely, and I believe that I have, I'll have closure - financial, at least, if not emotional (for either Amy or I) - with 2005 in a couple of days.

And, as always, I have a couple of irons in the fire for 2006, and we're waiting to see how they pan out. It's already been a banner year for Sirens of Cinema and we've only begun putting the issue together. 2006 will see at least two original productions from Happy Cloud Pictures, in addition to a work-for-hire project pitched to us from someone who has never steered us wrong in the past (but at the same time was smart enough to offer us a contract).

Of course, I'm not attributing any of this to the haircut. I didn't do anything mystical. But I know that I see a different-looking person every time I look in the mirror. And right now, that's enough to remind me that everything changes. In order to keep up with evolution, I should be changing too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lookin good man. I too had the same attitude several years back. Things kept getting worse and worse, and if it wasn't for the late great Owen Hart and his "Enough is Enough it's Time for a Change" Gimmick, things probably would be worse than ever, but luckily I turned things around and slowly, but surely am heading in the right direction, or at least I believe I am. As Stone Cold Steve Austin would say "Don't Trust Anyone" which I know is "harsh", but it does save on the back stabbing that usually happens 90% of the time or at least to me it does. :) That was actually the only original lyrics (Non-rewrite) that I really thought didn't turn out bad either. We all need a change at one time or another or several of them, because as they say that's life. Really you can change what ever you want on the outside, but truly on the inside, I consider you to be a great man. Just becareful not to lose sight of who you really are deep down inside.