This past week, we here at Party Now, Apocalypse Later Industries had an important anniversary. On June 15th, 2002, in an event those in attendance remember quite well, Party Now, Apocalypse Later essentially went out of business. A month later, I would turn 18. It would take another 8 years before I got serious about putting the company back together, a part of which is the blog you are currently reading.
On that date, our first—and, to this date, only—feature-length movie*, The Adventures of Really Good Man made its one and only truly public screening at the Aaronson Auditorium of the Tulsa Central Library**.
It was an event two years in the making, and it was a pretty great day. We were a bunch of kids who didn’t know any better, but went ahead and did something that seemed impossible at the outset, for no better reason than we just decided to. We were like the technicians of Mission Control in July of ’69. or the campaign staff at Hyde Park in November of ’08, or the thirteen Doctors returning to Gallifrey on the last day of the Time War… Except, we weren’t any of those things, but damned if it didn’t feel that way.
It was a great day, a day of victory and accomplishment. And for the longest time, I couldn’t come anywhere close to matching it. While it isn’t hard to imagine why I felt creatively unfulfilled during those years. Beyond some light political mischief and a half-filled Justice League coloring book, I hadn’t made much of anything creative in my early adulthood.
I’m not really sure why I had so conscientiously avoided being creative in those intervening years, but I had plenty of excuses at the time. I couldn’t come up with a good idea for a movie I could produce with a shoestring budget and substandard equipment, and that’s true***.
I also conned a few people—myself chief among them—that I had moved on from wanting to make things****.
That one was wildly not true. Through politics, law school, and my early years with (DAY JOB REDACTED), I longed for getting back into—it feels crazy as I type it—trying to build a career out of being creative.
I suppose the truest answer to my motivations for avoiding the creative life for so long was that I was afraid of failure. The Adventures of Really Good Man didn’t take the world by storm, despite that great day just a little over fifteen years ago. If even the good days give way to mostly-failure, what’s the point in trying?
That’s just the point. That’s the one thing I should have learned way-back-when, and which I now think about at least a little bit every day. When you’re young, you might be asked what you would do if money is no object, and then told that should be your job, if you’re lucky.
That’s not bad, but it doesn’t cover everything. I think everyone should ask what they would do if success were not object.
If you were destined to fail at something, would you still do it? If so, that should be your career. It is for me. Success would be nice, but that’s not why I’m here. Really Good Man taught me that. Feel free to watch the movie here on the site if you like, but if you don’t, that’s okay. I still would have made the movie even if no one ever watched it. Why? Because I make things.
*“It’s over an hour long. It counts.” ~ Me, to anyone who might have listened back then.
**We did a whole hullabaloo for the tenth anniversary, five years ago. Besides my more general thoughts in this week’s blog entry, my only new Really Good Man related thoughts on the fifteenth anniversary are a quiet marveling that the last five years have gone by about twenty times faster than the first ten did.
***Although I did make a less-than-valiant effort in the first few months after Really Good Man. The less said about that unfinished project, the better. Which, you know, probably means it will be the central topic of a blog post on this very space in the near, near future.
****See the above-mentioned political mischief.