Thursday, December 29, 2011

THE GGN JOURNALS -The New Year Hustle

December 22nd, 2011

As I make another "X" to the calendar and get one day closer to Christmas, I have finally found some relief from the anxiety that filled me throughout the fall. This year has been one of much self-discovery; including ending chapters with people and projects, and beginning a new direction and journey for 2012. I’m approaching the five-year mark with the evolution of GGN; it’s funny how things can challenge you along the way but somehow work out and be for the best. When I wrote last it was August and things were looking great. I had hired a new editor, we had a rough cut of the film finished and ready for a polish, and I had booked the film’s first screening date in January 2012 at the TIFF BellLightbox. Sponsors had come on board and the much needed support was there… I was on top of the world and felt closer then ever to the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything seemed on track and then the days and weeks went by and the editing team fell apart and by the time I realized it wasn’t going to work with these individuals that I trusted I had lost 8 weeks.

My trust and roll of the dice with the momentum I was feeling up to this point was gone with one simple sentence... ‘I don’t think I have time to work on this anymore… I didn’t realize how big the project was?’ All I could think and say was; "Are you kidding me?" instead, I said… How could you not understand the scope of the project and why didn’t you tell me this month’s ago? I had a screening date but not a finished movie. Let me tell you honestly, the panic started to sink in… it was like quicksand… you can be on top of the world one moment and then sinking fast the next. I was going to be 36 in two weeks and I didn’t know what to do or whom I could turn to with such short notice to make that screening date. With careful consideration I knew I had to postpone the date because the time required to finalize the film could not be met. It can be quite embarrassing; at least that’s how I felt, mixed with frustration and anger. The journey for me with this film has always had it’s bumps along the way and for one moment I was hoping to get a break… but such is life… it’s a challenge day in and day out.

As with every challenge sometimes you find the oddest places for solutions. Since filming began, I’ve been in the restaurant and bar industry waiting on tables, bartending parties, managing pubs, and providing service and chit-chat to the Toronto downtown public. It’s an industry I’ve known for 20 years and it’s helped to support me and made it possible for me to go after my dreams of being a filmmaker. The restaurant that I currently work at, Café California, was about to give back to me by helping me figure out my editing problem. It’s good to find people when you least expect it that believe in you. This happened to me a week before my birthday. Over the years I had served these guys who always had been pleasant, tipped well, and were easy going. We got along and they kept tabs on my project. I would always fill them in when they came to the restaurant. The chitchat was fun, simple, never too long but always nice and I knew they were into theatre and drama; the reality was that I was their server and the relationship ended there. So this time when they came in I was in a venting type mood… my crisis was in full bloom with no answers and they saw it in my face and my mood. After filling them in after asking about the screening, Andrew told me he felt for me and what I was going through; before I knew it he was on his blackberry making calls on my behalf and before they left he set up a meeting for me with an editor. This editor has ended up being a godsend and someone you wish you could have taken the whole project journey with… This crisis was diverted!

It’s funny how life can change on a dime and help can come in the strangest ways. With this new guy in place and with us already trimming and polishing the final cut, I know the film will be done at the end of January. Now you can’t get everything… my mistake of setting the save the date before really understanding how people work was something I had to pay for in terms of self embarrassment. I don’t like to set things up and not follow through; because the film has been a five -year production people begin to doubt that it will ever be finished. Not understanding the work required for a documentary experience, especially the kind I’ve put together, as well as wearing so many hats because of finances, time goes by quickly and the project can feel like it will never end. Reaching this finish line as 2012 begins is something I’m proud of… I can’t wait to share it with YOU, the audience!

In the meantime I will keep you updated on the screening date, which will be most likely in the spring after the cold weather. Check us out on our networks! More sneak peeks of the film will be happening in the New Year on our YOUTUBE channel:

Also check us out on SOUNDCLOUD for Podcasts, mixes, remixes and more:

Until the New Year when the hustle starts and the screenings begin…


Saturday, September 03, 2011


September 1st, 2011

The year is 2011… I’ve made it to the end of August and I have dreamt of this moment for a long time. I never knew how it would feel but I had a notion; I knew that this feeling would make me emotional. When I finished the last chapter for the film and put all 8 of them together this week it was the first time in a long time that I truly saw something that I knew existed in all that tape I shot. The finished rough cut for the film clocked in at 2 hours and 5 minutes. It will have some trimming and tweaking done to it but this is a complete film. This is a complete journey for me in a sense; I can’t help but cry tears of joy. I know I have a lot more to accomplish but I succeeded. Life is about surviving and giving your life meaning; this film experience has given me that.

It was a little over five years ago I decided to make this documentary. The d-jay culture and community became something of my focus and drove me to explore and give my perspective. Music had always been a big part of my life and gave me a true sense of identity when I was younger. When I got exposed to dance music in the nineties it became a communal thing through the friendships I made and in the end shaped a part of my personality and outlook on life. This culture was so important to me at an age when music affects you. I always kept that inside even when I focused on getting my life a little more serious and on track in my twenties. Ten years later… five filmmaking years under my belt… dance music has given me back that feeling inside I once had.

When you get wrapped up in a long process you start to go a little crazy. Every waking moment of the day you think about your project. It had it’s a good times which gave you hope and inspiration but those are the times you don’t remember as well until the end. Usually the feelings that became the constant were the ones that brought stress. Financing this project on my own and having to wear a lot of hats because money dictated limitations, became the main issue. No one was going to care about the project more then I and even though I did get help and was fortunate to have some good people involved periodically, I never had absolute control. Money usually can dictate schedules and being able to do things on your clock. Money helps motivate people especially when it’s not their project. When you’re an independent filmmaker with credit cards with limits, favors become your currency. I gave a lot pitches and what I thought were inspirational moments on why they should help make this film. I hoped they would understand, which they did from time to time, but money still was the ultimate scheduling tool. Five years later I finally got a rough cut done and have good people involved to help finalize and bring it over the finish line. I’m thankful for that. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Dreams are something that is important and something I reflect on when I write this journal entry. I had moments along the way where I doubted myself and got frustrated because I felt no one believed in me. Along the way I realized that the journey is almost more important then the finished product; what I got out of the five years of trying to make this film and GGN brand was truly special. I still have more to give with GGN.
I turn 36 in the fall and I feel that I’ve accomplished a milestone in my own life. As I continue the final edits I look to the New Year to roll out the film in festivals and screen it at universities for students who are at the age that music affected me in a big way. I feel this important for the film to be seen by the age range that inspired it. Music has been a special inspiration for me on this journey. It has been something that has driven me the last 5 years and shaped what I feel this film’s message is all about.

What I’m hoping to ask of YOU if your reading this is I want you to ask yourself a question. How has music affected you? I’m looking to encourage people submit BLOG’s and give us your story. GGN is a community… a movement… a place where music shapes identity.

Feel free to reach me at I truly would love to hear your story.

Until we meet again. ARE YOU LISTENING?

Monday, June 20, 2011


June 20th, 2011

This journal entry is one that comes from a new sense of discovery. Over the last two weeks I happened to visit friends that keep the spirit of record collections alive and well. Both were buddies that I hadn’t seen in awhile but we always could find that place where we left off last… these friendships are easy and always entertaining; I couldn’t wait to plug in for the afternoon and talk music. The record collection for both is something to marvel at. It consists of a full wall of vinyl in their man caves, a single turntable, and a huge sound system to enjoy the music. One is a neat freak the other not so much; both people are very different but when I check out their walls, the records you find are very similar. The common ground in musical tastes is something of a phenomenon because the personalities do not match. I found myself examining the same factors of why our friendships worked and it all came back to music. I’m in the final stages of editing with a real finish line presentation date in October. The documentary and the message it’s trying to give have been on the brain 24/7. I’m at that stage now where the music that I’ve been choosing for the film has purpose. I feel extra sensitive to the music I listen to and the experiences it reflects. It’s intense in every sense of the word because the film is close to being done and this music selection process brings it all together.

When I ask the question of what does a record look like I think it comes from the experience music created for me recently with my buddies. When we pulled records like Led Zeppelin, Queen, AC/DC, Saturday Night Fever, Thriller, Motley Crue, RUN-DMC, De La Soul, I was floored at the random memories that came to mind. It didn’t just start with the music playing; it started from the search. We would be talking and one of us would think of a song and we had to find it on the wall. Sometimes your eye caught it right away and other times you would be caught up in other memory recall moments from the cool artwork on all the vinyl covers. This was the search process… this was the beginning of where a record got its identity. It’s like checking people out and being attracted or repulsed by the simple appearance. You look for that instant grab. Who doesn’t remember Michael Jackson on that Thriller album with the fold out of him with a tiger… chillin’. That moment sums up the 80s in one cheesy visual and brought me back to when I was nine years old lovin’ that record!

After the record was picked and put on the player, the next real thing that caught my eye and gave another layer of a vinyl’s identity was that crackle. I always found that some records always stayed in good condition while others just didn’t do as well. The crackle over the speakers would be such a trigger for me, especially when I was younger. I knew how to identify certain artists and songs in my collection by that noise a vinyl crackle could make. I loved that sound and once the music began it was like beginning a relationship with someone or something. I felt emotional listening with my friends and reliving some music I hadn’t listened to in awhile. It was really cool to see more than just my buddies in the flesh but also having that chance to spend some time with the wax.

To me, what a record looks like is something that has a lot of character, loyalty, and a friend that comforts you when needed…
What does your record look like?
The countdown is on…

Global Groove Network (GGN) premieres this October in Toronto!

Check out for more information.

Monday, May 16, 2011


May 13, 2011

I woke up this morning after a late night in the editing room and didn’t think much of the next several hours that awaited me; it was my day off… the only plan that I truly had was to take up space on my couch and to catch up on some recorded TV. It’s May, and all of the current shows are wrapping up, so it was a big day of plot twists, reality TV finalists, kitchen nightmares, and who really is Carmen San Diego? I was all set up, prepped the way you need to be when it comes to a day of doing nothing (candy, chips, my cell for calling take-out, and weed.) I wasn’t winning any health awards today… I planned to gorge my senses with tasty and brainless chaos. Then I saw it… a card.

There, amongst the flyers and monthly bills, was a card; A thank you card. Now as you all must find the only thing that you really get nowadays are statements from your bills, take out menus, real estate listings, political flyers, census forms, and cheesy advertisements for life coaches named Chazz… or is that just me? Getting a thank card today was a pleasant surprise and something that made me think… which in the end reluctantly put a pause on my couch potato moment. The words, the way this person expressed themselves to my wife and I put a smile on my face. It was truly thoughtful when the last thing we expected for helping a friend was a thank you beyond the one we got that day. It got me thinking about what I was working on in the editing room this week….....

The focus in the editing room this week was the beginning of the present state of the d-jay culture as it relates to the social media evolution that we’ve gone through so fast over the past 10 years. In such a short period of time the art of communication has changed with all of the technology advances. Coming from the generation that I grew up in I’ve embraced it and loathed it at the same time. How could something like the internet, specifically twitter and facebook, have connected us globally in such a way but disconnected us at the same time with so much overload? As I got to know more d-jays, producers, and promoters, I have been able to get their perspective on the digital age. Each perspective was unique but everyone was on the fence about the technological progress. Nothing could be taken away from the resource of this evolution but the connection sometimes would not be as deep to the way this scene represented itself in the past. I was fortunate to get to experience this culture during an organic time when the electronic scene was booming in the nineties… the internet didn’t play a part yet and it took real word of mouth to find out what was going on in your city. People spoke on the phone, one on one, they met at record shops to listen to music and check out flyers, and the social aspect amongst friends was personal. Texting and writing messages on one another’s facebook was done verbally. I’m amazed on a daily basis on how we’ve put up these walls up in order to communicate. When’s the last time someone left a voice mail for you instead of just hanging up (missed call shown on cell)? Who hasn’t had a 5- minute conversation through texting (specifically chosen words… hopefully)? How many email messages do you get or send that read like they just changed the name of the recipient? When’s the last time you wrote a letter or sent a card to someone through the mail? Now I know people do send cards or Hallmark wouldn’t have great stock options but does a holiday have to be the only day? I like the idea of getting these types of moments randomly like we did… it reminds me of another aspect of how we can connect on a more personal level with the people.

As I get closer to finishing this film I can’t help but have these types of questions and observations on the brain. Getting back to basics is something that can ground you and having a moment with what this simple thank you card brought to this particular day’s perspective. Going through a long journey like this involves patience and focus; something that I’ve grown to learn over time. Not letting the everyday set backs get to you over the years and understanding that the connections I’ve made through this production has shaped the person I’ve become.

This summer, 2011, is the finish line for the film and I can’t wait to share this with an audience… This will be my ultimate letter to friends, Toronto, and this music culture that has given so much back to me.

Until we meet again – ARE YOU LISTENING?

Friday, March 25, 2011

DAY 1825 …

Friday March 25th 2011

The week has come to a close and I’m finally at a point in the editing experience where I’m happy. Everyday we tend to be waste deep in content but as we organize it more and more it’s taking shape in a great way! The end of June looks good for our rough-cut finish but I don’t want to jinx it. Throughout the postproduction process I’ve had highs and lows with the people who have come and gone with me in the editing room. I’ve been fortunate enough that everyone who has contributed to GGN’s look and style have been amazing; we’ve grown together and we’ve learned how to present what GGN represents as a film, television show, and web presence. GGN has all of the components to make it run but the one thing that is the driver, the reason I started this so many years ago; it’s all about the music. The reason GGN began was because of how music affected me and I was looking to relive and experience it again. The d-jay culture in the nineties was something that felt like a music revolution with its youth. My memories that I’ve translated into this film have strong emotion attached to them. This is where I found myself at a critical time in my life when I needed guidance. Music was a buddy so to speak and helped me find a group of friends that helped to mold me in to the person I’ve become. Dance music is something that I listen to daily but that’s just the tip of my music catalogue choices. All genres, strong powerful voices, and great melodies are something I look for universally in my daily soundtrack. Music is on everyday in my house in the background and I feel I can’t think clearly unless I have something playing. It’s a drug when it wants to be. When I need a smile or a motivational push in the gym I know what tracks to reach for on my I-pod. As I write this very BLOG I’m tuned into the site listening to a great PODCAST from Cam Maxwell. Check it out in our download section ( ) along with hours of great mixes and talent from around the world… that will be my only shameless plug for my site in this journal entry… I promise.


It’s day 100 in the editing room and I’ve come to one of my favorite moments in the edit process, the music selection (who would of thought that?) Over the course of the last couple of months I’ve been going through my old collection of CDS that I bought like a mad man back in the nineties and early 2000. I-pods were the future and with a minor d-jay career as one of excuses to buy music, I went crazy at the stores and collected quite a bit of music that spanned a lot of genres. Clubs I worked at had a wide array of people to cater to so I had it all. The beauty of this fact is along the way during our partying days I bought a lot of classic house and great dance beats that were coming out at the time. I had a great place to start from.

As I went through the music and prepped for the next step in the editing room I was surprised at how many tracks indirectly over the years were moments of inspiration through this process. Creatively tackling a big project like this I’ve had a constant flow of moments that just happen out of things you don’t plan or think of until you have a trigger. Music is the constant trigger for me when it comes to this film… I don’t think one scene in this film has not evolved out of a moment from my mind and music library coordinating in some sort of way. Take for instance today… BIG LOVE by Pete Heller was the driving force to write this BLOG. I had no intention of adding a journal entry but as I did my daily scan of you tube for music I remembered a memory at LIMELIGHT night club in Toronto where Wednesday nights were the ultimate house music party. The third floor hosted an old school house party that the East Side gang would attend regularly as a part of our rotation of club outings. For whatever reason BIG LOVE came to mind and here we are.


I highly recommend you take this moment for yourself and maybe reflect on a 6 pack of songs from your past that bring you fond memories. The workday, the family responsibilities, anything that is affecting you in an overwhelming way; take a breath… load up … and find a song that brings you what you need in that moment.

As I continue my edit today I’ve pulled a solid 6 pack to review with the footage I’m working with… I’ve created a CLASSIC TRACK OF THE DAY for our fan page that reflects music that has inspired the film. If you have a dance track you would like to share I’m always looking for some memory recall.

Please post something at – .

Until we meet again… Are you listening?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Have you ever had one of those nights?


The New Year is upon us and I’ve been editing furiously on the documentary. We are closing in on the finish line. This five year journey has been a crazy experience so far; getting all of this captured content put into narrative form and making sure I’ve told the story I wanted to tell. The interviews and stories that have been shared with me have taken up 300 hours of film. Lots of passion and party footage from around the globe has been captured and I just want it to feel right on the screen. This is more then just my story… it’s a perspective with many voices. Reflecting on this the last month has been overwhelming at times but you keep telling yourself that it will be worth it in the end…

Today I couldn’t help but remind myself of a night last fall that brought an unexpected smile to my face. It involved a night of dancing, friends, and a reminder of the power of music. Have you ever had an evening that was unexpected fun? Has it ever happened in a town that would never seem like a place to go? This was the case when I was invited to my friend Eric’s work party in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Eric is a very special friend to me and someone who has a critical role within the film. Since re-connecting through the film; after my reunion party, Eric has joined my wife and i along with others to random party events in Toronto over the last year and a half. Eric lives in Brantford running a dance studio (Eryx Studio)which just had its two year anniversary in October. Eric was always the trooper coming to Toronto to join us and with his anniversary party coming up we were due to come down and celebrate and support our friend. Brantford is a small town with more of an older retirement community and not much of a nightlife other then a few pubs and roadhouse type bars that cater to a more classic rock/country type patron. This city would not normally be something that would pop up on the radar as a place where you could have a night out to remember… I was about to get a shock of a life time when I found out this wasn’t true.

When my wife, Jessie our good friend, and I showed up to Eric’s studio for the party we got what we expected. We met an incredibly nice group of random individuals who participated at the studio, and supported Eric. The party was masquerade which we realized last minute but thankfully I carried an afro wig which made me blend in… kind of. The party consisted of pole dancing exhibitions, cocktails, snacks, and music that took me back to the 90s. It was fun but typical for a dance studio like this. People were having fun, including us, but the highlight of the evening awaited me next door. Eric’s studio is located in a strip mall with salons, bars and stores which is typical for new businesses in Brantford; it was there we got out first introduction to the bar experience known as JACKHAMMERS. This roadhouse style bar had many aspects of your typical club in small towns; for example - pool tables, hockey and football games on TVs, wood floor interior, and lots of booze behind the many bars inside. I grew up in a small town and the décor and vibe took me back. I wasn’t sure at first and thought the cheese factor might come into play but that wasn’t the case at all…

JACKHAMMERS nightclub, with DJ VIBE, on Saturdays in Brantford is something I can truly say is an experience that will surprise you, especially for someone like me who is now in his mid-thirties. As I stood by the bar and ordered my first beer, afro wig and all, the tunes from my past started to play… and play frequently in the mix. Tune after tune brought me back to my college days with current top 40 in all genres of danceable music coming from the d-jay. It was mixed well and was such a unique blend of music from my past and the present radio station play that I couldn’t help but want to dance. I don’t know if it was the afro, the beer, my sexy wife and hot friend shaking booty, but I needed to hit that dance floor 911! DJ VIBE had done something which can take a lot sometimes if the mood doesn’t hit me, dance. I love my house music but the people on the dance floor were happy and connecting with the music and one another was what really drew me in. We lasted 3 hours on the dance floor dancing to classics and remixes of dance, pop, rock and even country. My afro was officially stuck to my head from all that sweat I built up dancing but it was something I felt I earned and loved for that moment in time. I was reminded of the power of a dance floor this fateful night. This fond memory will stick with me for a long time.

One Night in Branford was a success and as I write this last sentence all I can say is…

JACKHAMMERS… DJ Vibe… Eric, Jen, & Jess… Afro… I thank you.

Until we meet again Branford… I salute you!

Check out some of the PICS from our wild night -