Nelson Mandela, a Movie, and an Epiphany

Nelson+Mandela+

I have had an amazing amount of things happen to me this year, it seems as if Lady Luck or God or whoever is in charge “up-there” is attempting to make up for my health issues and near-death experiences of last year. But for all the interesting and further “life-changing” events, the last two weeks have been the most…tumultuous? A fortnight of Nelson Mandela, making a movie, and having a sudden epiphany about my life.

I’ll explain.

On June 26, the paper that I work for, and believe me when I tell you I’ve never worked for a better company, had received news from a very reliable source that Nelson Mandela had died. Madiba was no more. The source (actually sources) were very highly placed in South Africa and had no axe to grind or ulterior motive apart from telling the world the truth.

My publisher asked me to write a piece about the facts as they’d been presented, which I sadly did. We placed the finished article in the “pending” file to wait for our second confirmation that Madiba had died. Our news editor, a great chap and one hell of a newsman/writer, in fit of over-zealousness, published my article.

All hell broke loose.

In under four hours, the article had gotten over half a million views. It also was attacked, both verbally and physically. I received a huge amount of hate-mail and negativity from readers. I got threats from individuals to remove the story at once. Our new’s site was attacked with repeated DDoS attacks that were traced back to South Africa.

The South African government, or their sanctioned agents, attempted to kill the story and our website. They succeeded in slowing the story down, but it is still alive and it is still the truth, in our eyes. Not long after the second day of DDoS attacks on our site, we received further confirmation that the iconic Nelson Mandela was dead.

While the rest of the world’s new’s sites continue to support President Zuma‘s fiction of the man being alive, we know the truth and it will come out.

But moving on from the death of Nelson Mandela, something the South African people aren’t allowed to do yet, by Zuma and Mandela’s family, follow this link to read about it, last weekend I made a movie.

Well, acted in a movie to be truthful. I had a ball! I’ve said repeatedly in my earlier posts that I had not been in front of the camera since *cough* the 1990s. Tash Harmer the owner operator of Films and Things, and if you don’t follow her F&T blog, stop reading this right this instant and do so; Tash is in University and she wrote a brilliant script for a short feature that received top honours at her Uni.

She decided to use the script to shoot her first professional effort. She wisely surrounded herself with a familiar crew, fellow Uni chums Meera Daji, Fiona Lockwood, and Katie-marie Holbrookboosh Penniman Jr, all of whom are in the same media type course as Tash.

Thank you all

I got the lead of Chris in the Once Bitten, Twice Shy short sans audition. Tash’s faith in me never wavered and I’ll always be grateful for the chance that she gave me. The chance to see if I still had my chops. Time and the film will hopefully show that I have still, “got it.”

But what I have definitely gotten is the chance to do the other thing, apart from writing, that I love. Bless you Tash and the gang, I’ll drop everything to work with you and the wonderful actors I worked with that day (who are, by the by, Steve Speak and Sanna Kelly).

Now on to my epiphany.

I have heard all my life two adages that have always irritated the hell out of me. The first one goes: All things come to those who wait, and the second one goes: Everything happens for a reason.

My reaction has always been a heartfelt and loud B***Sh**!

Not any more. I got divorced almost two years ago and I’ve never been happier. The loss of my second wife freed my mind, and her’s I think, and allowed me to devote more time to my first passion, writing. I now have broken the 70,000 view mark and beaten my 600 follow count by a good sum (and it’s still rising) and I’m working as a professional writer whose work is seen by millions. To paraphrase the Bible, “my cup runneth over.”

Blogging aside, and you’ll never know how much I love all of you  in the blogging community who’ve read, followed and interacted with me since I started this blogging venture, as I mentioned above,   I’ve gotten employed for the first time of my life as a professional writer and I’ve acted again, really acted for the first time in years. These two events combined with the warmth I’ve gotten from the blogging community, as well as getting Freshly Pressed last year, have really made me feel complete for the first time in years.

The divorce, my work injury and subsequent near death from a heart attack, and my ill-health retirement from same, all seem to have conspired to put me in this,  almost obscenely, happy place. I work with people that I love and respect as brother’s and sister’s who all have the same hopes, dreams and the overwhelming urge to write.

And I get paid huge dividends for my labour, as does everyone who works for the Guardian Express Las Vegas. I got a chance to re-live my passion for acting and I stumbled by chance into the world of the real news, I usually write what I call the “fluff” aka entertainment. I’ve been truly blessed.

So my epiphany  is this: Everything does, indeed, happen for a reason and good things do come to those who wait; even it that waiting period lasts a lifetime.

So there you have it. An encapsulated, if not long, period of my life and its changes and my changes. I love you all and I thank you all for going with me on this fascinating and wondrous journey. May the force be with you, or may you live long and prosper, or may you never get a wooden nickel.

Or to paraphrase one of my daughter Megs’ and my favourite film’s, Demolition Man, “Be well.”

Mugging at Kate!

81 ‘likes’ in 3 days?! :D Once Bitten, Twice Shy (again)

81 ‘likes’ in 3 days?! 😀 Once Bitten, Twice Shy (again).

A little Post about Once Bitten, Twice Shy “Thank You’s”

Thank you all

I am sure that I’ve been this tired and achy before in my life, it’s just been so long ago that I’ve obviously forgotten! I’m also that curious blend of satisfied and yet  really wanting to do it all again;  that part of me that will never be satisfied with a performance I’ve given. sure that if I do it just one more time, I’ll eventually get it right.

I found out yesterday that acting is like riding a bike. You never forget how (not totally at any rate) and while you may be rusty as hell and have trouble remembering your “good” side (Or if you’ve even still got one!) you can still hit the “mark” and act like the professional you once, briefly, were.

If I had a bucket list, and I do have to say I  have a very “half-assed” one, four young ladies who stepped out to do their first professional short film, just helped me to cross two items off my list.

Or maybe three…

After I stopped acting all those years ago, I’d always wanted to get back into it. Like everything else you plan, or want, you just never have the time, or worse, you’ve gotten too timid with the lack of practise in a craft that requires constant practise to be good at it that you know deep in your heart of hearts, it will never happen. But that doesn’t stop the wanting. That would be one item on the list crossed out.

The other item was getting to play a large role in a film. That has always been at the top of my  half-arsed bucket list. For that special privilege, I can only thank Tash Harmer. In my eyes, she took one hell of a gamble. Hopefully one that paid off. She certainly seems happy with my performance (made all the better by the quality of the actors I was privileged to work with) and despite my thoughts of, “If I could just do it again, it would be that little bit better.” I think we were both pleased with the outcome.

The third would have to be, being on a film set again. It was not a huge one, nor was it filled with grizzled old workmen who’ve plied their trade for years and seen and worked with some of the “greats.” No, it was filled with four very talented young ladies who I believe will go on to do well in their, thus far, chosen profession. They had vision, creativity, enthusiasm, concentration; apparent skill; worked well as a team, and they were damned fun to work with.

And I fell a little bit in love with each and every one of them.

And not in an, “”Eeewwwww” way either, thank you very much.

I’ve got a feeling that I will be able to write at least two or three blogs about the day of the filming, if I try very hard, but I don’t want to waffle on. I do want to thank, formally, the great team I worked with yesterday and let them know how much I think of all of them.

Steve Speak, is a brilliant actor. I believe this handsome young man will go very far, I look forward to the day that I can say, “I’ve worked with him!” Sanna Kelly, was also in the realm of wonderful. I have to say that for two such accomplished professionals, they made the old “out of practise” actor feel right at home.

Of the crew?

Meera Daji, delighted and enchanted me. I would kill to get to work with her (with any of the crew) again. I’ve only seen tiny snippets of the “work in progress” and not the finished edited project, but I know that Meera made this grizzled old fella look good!

Fiona Lockwood, another delightfully enchanting young lady who welded a pretty mean boom mic and was entirely unflappable, good-humoured and another young lady that I’d love to work with again!

Katie-Marie Holbrookboosh Penniman Jr., what can I say, your enthusiasm and excitement in the project was infectious and I’ll tell you a secret, if I could have, I’ve had adopted you there and then. You done, “Well good, mate!” 

Natasha “Tash” Harmer, had everything in her head and only had to consult her storyboards once or maybe twice. Kept track of every detail and was the best director that I’ve worked with in ages. She let the actors get on with it, which helped me no end. She is another young woman, along with the other four, who I’d work with in a “skinny minute.”

I also have to mention her boyfriend Scott Connett. Scott is a brilliant chap, also one of the all round nicest fella’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. In my list of mentions, I need to include Meera’s lovely parents, who chauffeured the majority of the film crew to the location from miles away and sat patiently for the extremely boring bit of film making.

Meera’s mum, who I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve forgotten her name, cooked a feast worthy of royalty for the cast and crew and it was eaten and enjoyed by all. (Folks who know me, will tell you that if I didn’t have proof of my own name in the form of a driver’s license, I’d forget my own moniker.)

I’ve just realised that I’ve waffled on for almost a thousand words, so I’ll stop now and thank everyone who worked on the film yesterday for making it a day to: remember, enjoy, savour, and if I could; do  all over again.

Just brilliant.

Mugging at Kate!