Monday, November 09, 2015
The year is 2015 and I feel like I just hit a milestone this past weekend. It’s one of those moments in your life when you remember the date 30 years from now when it’s time to reflect. The milestone I speak of was a special screening of my new GGN concert doc - Life is but a Dream. I got to showcase it on the big screen at the Royal Cinema in Toronto w/ an audience of 200 friends and colleagues. I feel like it’s just sinking in what happened… what a night! I’m turning 40 in 2 weeks and I wanted to revisit my journal of 10 years and remind myself of what I’ve accomplished. When I began writing this BLOG it was an outlet for me to document my adventures in making this Global Groove Network film come to life. For those of you who are just catching up or discovering my ramblings for the first time, I decided to write this journal as an experiment of dedication. I wanted to try and log all of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences over the years so I could look back at the making of this passion project, and remember all of the highs and lows I went through. It’s a great exercise as a filmmaker and I highly recommend it. I’m a creative soul who has loved music and movies all his life. I began my filmmaking career in my mid twenties and started this GGN passion project when I rediscovered dance music through a girlfriend breakup and a crate of vinyl I found moving out. I was 30 years of age when this happened… the break up was hard because of the 8 year, common law marriage situation. I was looking for positivity, new directions, and this crate of records reminded me of a time in my life when I was feeling the same way as I was now. Rave culture of the 90s was a place where I grew as an individual when I discovered it at 19. My parents at the time had divorced when I left for university. I was a competitive swimmer on the national level who was forced to quit because of an injury… Swimming had defined a lot of who I had become, my identity; I was part of a team. Losing both of my families killed my mental state, and when you’re that young, it makes you feel like your life is over. I felt lost, unwanted, not sure of how to move forward. I’m not going to lie; I was a depressed kid going through some serious shit. Looking back on it now, I think back on how amazing it is that we can change so much and so quickly as we go through things that are mentally and emotionally challenging. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until a year later as I continued to push the envelope in all aspects of my party lifestyle. School took a backseat and I’m glad that I had enough sense to come out the other end by graduating and making smarter choices with my life. A big reason for this change had to do with the friends and family I met through the dance music scene at the time, and taking dance music’s message of PLUR to heart. This was truly a life changing moment and I’m so excited I got to make a love letter film about some of these experiences more then once. Here we are now, in the present. I’ve just screened my second film under the Global Groove Network banner called ‘LIFE IS BUT A DREAM’. It’s a story about the EDM Digital Dreams Festival experience and the people who helped create and facilitate this massive event – Ryan Kruger and Gavin Bryan. Toronto has a lot of history when it comes to dance music culture dating back to the late ‘80s. The DJ talent that performs in Toronto is truly global because they love coming here. We, as a city seriously love this type of music, have amazing homegrown talent, and have supported the culture in a big way since the ‘90s. The Digital Dreams festival is a culmination of that ‘90s essence with the people who created it. The two individuals that you will meet in the DOC have been involved with throwing raves, parties, and establishing legendary clubs in Toronto since the ‘90s. This festival was a dream back then that became a reality 4 years ago. Digital Dreams draws about 80 thousand people over the course of its weekend festivities and has become the largest music festival held in downtown Toronto. One of the exciting things about GGN for me has been the archiving. I began doing this with the first film and to be able to put together another cool chapter in Toronto’s dance music history has been very rewarding. It took about a year to get it done and a lot’s changed with the festival and it’s business partners. What makes this even more special is I’m not sure if I would have got the same access if I didn’t decide to make this DOC when I did… It’s amazing when something just naturally falls together. I can’t help but feel like it’s the end of a chapter in my life. This DOC represents the end of an era for myself as a filmmaker covering dance music. My goal moving forward with the Global Groove Network, the new mission statement of music shaping identity is to explore NEW music cultures. I love dance music but I LOVE all kinds of music as well. I feel like there are so many stories out there about people’s soundtracks that I just feel like its time to go in a new direction. I would like to thank the Toronto and Global dance music community for allowing me to get up close and personal these past 10 years. The GGN journey made it to film festivals, network broadcasters, and managed to build a following on social media that have been extremely supportive. It’s been a great time on the dance floor and I feel blessed. I’m really excited for what lies ahead. Connect with us at: www.groovetheglobe.com Until next time … Cheers to new directions!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Hey there Journal – It’s been awhile. It felt like it was a good time to revisit you. We are officially a month into the New Year and a lot has happened since we last spoke. It’s been almost 10 years since starting this relationship with you; examining my journey through the written word while making my passion project – The Global Groove Network (GGN). You’ve never judged me journal; and are always willing to listen. Every time I decide to sit down and share with you I make sure I read the first entry I ever wrote back in 2006 as well as my last entry to get some context. A year can go fast and this past one was no exception. Looking back on it now I see a lot of interesting changes and evolutions to who I’m becoming. The people around me have changed with new faces coming in and out of my life and offering fresh insight to my perspective on the human condition. Things have been positive and negative but all in all, it’s been an amazing experience with great individuals. The year is 2015 and it’s been officially 12 months since my film got picked up by the CBC network in Canada and distributed globally on DVD and Digital. Was it everything I expected? Not exactly… Am I happy how my film was handled from a distribution and release perspective? Not really but some success has happened… Do you feel the GGN journey is wrapped up now that you made it to a network and distributor? Not at all… This to me is where we truly begin. With the success of selling something, it’s allowing me to find new doors to open. What’s also meaningful is I’ve started a film archive of a music scene that’s changed me and that I love. I look forward to more people discovering these documentaries I’m making for years to come. These passion projects will always be available until the day I die and what I think will be really cool is people 25 years from now renting it, buying it, or finding it on a digital service like Netflix. I feel like a historian in a way and all these hours I put into it making web videos, films, and writing journals, I get a real sense of fulfillment showcasing the dance music scene in the city I love – Toronto. Along with my city, it’s exciting to travel the global, find other relatable topics, and discover new voices and talents in the EDM and House Music scene. The new topics I have planned to film will take the audience in new directions as we tackle topics like drugs, gay icons, global history, and the future of EDM. Stay tuned… For the past year I’ve been taking in the electronic music community from many different angles. Having to be hands on, hustle, research, and post all your own social media to hopefully get individuals to rent or buy your film, is a tough process as an independent artist without PR cash flow. You don’t simply click a button and the people start coming to you. The marketplace is so saturated with content that it truly becomes an abyss. You question whether your message is really reaching your target market because of people’s habits and the restrictions that are in place to encourage people to spend money on ads. When Hollywood studios are spending more money on PR then actual production budgets, you begin to wonder on how can you compete? Independent films need the most PR of all and posting a FB message is only the beginning. Another hurdle that you have to deal with in our day in age is access. Everyone expects everything for free because of how we are growing as a society. Piracy is something that will only get worse and to off set the costs is almost impossible. Along with Piracy being an issue you are also now dealing with the A.D.D AFFECT. People have a hard time focusing because of the borage of content they get from all these digital outlets, that to actually sit down and absorb a story in a long format can be challenging – especially for the younger generation which I cater to with GGN. To me – this is the year where I truly understood this at its core. Am I fan of this new approach to viewing? I would say ‘not really’ but you deal with it… I feel we are becoming a society that is starting to forget to take a pause and smell the roses once in awhile. We are always looking for the next thing without taking a moment to enjoy what we have right in front of us. I’m turning 40 later this year so maybe it’s just a generation issue but I’m beginning to notice the same habits in the people that are the same age. One thing that people are not realizing by taking this approach to their life is they are missing out on the things that could potentially matter. I’m all about taking in the world and what it has to offer but I equate this scenario to working smarter – not harder. To truly find that ZEN in our own lives we need to pull back a little and get back to basics. Less is more… Along with this life lesson I’ve managed to keep creative and am excited at what GGN has on the horizon. This past summer I had a chance to film the third installment of the Digital Dreams festival in Toronto and I must say it’s an amazing evolution of the Global Groove Network experience on film! What started as a simple ten-minute webisode has turned into a spectacular forty two-minute concert film that examines the festival experience through the promoter’s eyes. The documentary looks at what it takes to put on a big EDM FESTIVAL and the footage we managed to shoot and have access to of past Digital Dreams festivals, makes this film truly an eye opening journey into the power of dance music. It’s looking like it should be wrapped up in April and I aim to do a special screening in Toronto in May and look at film festival options next year. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to share this documentary with you soon… Stay up to date by following us on Twitter or Liking us on Facebook for your chance for free tickets to the screening. Thanks for making the time to read this and stay up to date with my journeys. I hope I’m able to give you a little perspective of what goes on in the mind of a filmmaker and creative consciousness. I enjoy the reflection… It’s good for the soul. Until next time ... Shoot for the stars and never get frustrated if all you can only hit are the clouds. It’s all about the journey that makes you evolve. Take care.