My Birthday Blog, 2011

I’ve just discovered that one of the consistent things I have accomplished since I started this blog is that I actually write a blog on about my Birthday.  So, as not to break the one consistent thing, here is my un-edited (because I’m just currently fatigued by editing) Birthday Blog!

It may not be true, but it seems that I’ve been asked more than usual this year what I would like to have or do on my birthday.  I either have more friends, or I’m approaching that age where people are worried I might forget that it’s my birthday.  I’m choosing to believe I have SO many more friends.  In any case, it got me to thinking, what would I like….?

My Short List: (trust me, you don’t want to see the long one)

  1. Films:  While part of me dares to dream that Ron Howard is going to call any day now and ask me to work on a film with him, my wish is to simply finish my current short “The Gate Keeper” with some sort of sanity.  Have to tell you, editing, it just hard work.  Who would have guessed.
  2. Work:  I am so grateful to have work, but on this day, my birthday, my wish is for it to get a little easier.  Actually, that I would choose an easier way, maybe a better way, or maybe even a new way to make a living.  Just throwin’ that out there.
  3. Nia & life:  So happy to have had the experience to have taken the Black Belt intensive training with Debbie Rosas and Ann Christiansen this last year.  Challenging and inspiring.  One of the things my Nia practice has gifted me is the awareness of the energy of grief.  The physical energy of grief.  My sense is that as a society we address the emotional , mental and even spiritual realms of grief, but leave the physical realm of grief un-attended.  It is my wish to share a workshop that’s been in my mind, my body, my spirit for the last 3 years on how to move…just move with the physical pain, the physical energy of grief that resides in us.  Releasing us then to dance through life, and I do mean dance, with a greater fullness of who each of us are.
  4. Faith, Family & Friends:
    1. Faith:  Whatever faith you adhere to, or don’t adhere to, I have to believe that most of us could agree on “loving your brother…” as a good thing.  My wish is that I could just show it, and share it a little more.  Not change the world kind of thing, just to my neighbors, my co-workers, my aquaintences, the person passing by at the mall (ok, you’ll never at the mall, so let’s just say on the street).  My wish, that I might make a more conscious effort to share a little more love.
    2. Family:  Jessie called about an hour ago, she’s just outside Bakersfield CA., she and Shaun are on there way to visit family and friends in L.A. over the holidays.  Aaron and Marie and busy getting ready for not just the holidays but for the wedding in January.  Jaime and Joel continue to shower me with their love from above.  I have 10 siblings that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.  I have a mother here on earth that at 88 still drives like a maniac and a father that shares special space above with Jaime, Joel and my big sis, Paula.  My wish is simply that I get to spend a little more time with you all this next year and that you would somehow just know how much you truly mean to me.
    3. Friends:  Hah, with a family my size, who really needs friends.  (in the writing world we call that a tension release, it is for me anyway.)  For reasons beyond my understanding and far more that I could ever deserve, I have been blessed with many, many special friends.   I love each and everyone of you.  My wish is that I might somehow return to you, the friendship that you have extended to me.

And my final wish on the birthday, is that “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” is just half as good as I hope it to be.  I’ll let you know.

My Best Wishes to YOU ALL!!!!

While I don’t know what is in store for you the rest of this day, my birthday, For Heaven’s Sake…Have Fun….Fred!!!!

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The Making of “The Gate Keeper”-Part II: The Blank Page!


Aaron Bass & Jim Smith in character on the set of "The Gate Keeper"

Before we get to “The Blank Page” a little side note.   For those of you who follow my snippets on facebook, you know that the filming is ”In The Can”.  We finished shooting with a rather marathon day two Sundays ago.   All that to say, while I write about the process of making this little film, the process is indeed “still in process”.  (say that 3 times…fast).

I have as of today completed the very tedious process of downloading and cataloging each clip.  And while tedious, it’s also here that I get to enjoy all the funny outtakes.  Although, I am wondering what we’ll do if we end up with more outtakes than keeptakes?  Is keeptakes a word?  Ah, making up words, a possible sign of the fatigue one encounters while making a film and attempting to hold some normalcy of life.  A gentleman that was in the office area that we were shooting was busy with his work, but after a few hours had to come down and ask if we were making a comedy, for there was just way too much laughing going on to be anything but?

Well, ok, it’s not intentionally a comedy, but it does speak to the possible humor of the outtakes.

THE BLANK PAGE:  To restate the obvious, this is indeed my process, not advocating you would ever want to duplicate this.

I started by gathering all my jottings, my outline, my crazy ideas and I sat myself down at my computer with my “MovieMagic Screenwriter” software and began hammering out the script.  BTW, nice software, but turns out if there is to ever be any magic, it still has to come from within.  Damn!  Taken in again by the lure of lovely, promising advertising words of “MovieMagic”.   Speaking of writing,

I had the occasion to hear Mike Rich (great screenwriter and an even greater human being) speak to a group where he shared what he said would be his best advice to any would be writers… WRITE, just write.

Now, I have to confess, with my notes, my outline, my thoughts having perculated on the back burner for sometime, I find that the first drafts come pretty easy for me.  I write.   I don’t self-edit.   I just trudge through until I write the words “fade out”.

However, and this is where I learned why my first drafts were so easy.  When I completed my first screenplay, well,  I was just so pleased with myself.  WOW!!!  I was at page 126 and just finished my first screenplay.  Mike was right…just write.  Back then, I had (for the record, still have)  two good friends that will not only support my whim of writing, but I know will also be honest with me about my writing.  I asked each of them if they would read this newly written “Casablanca” and I couldn’t wait to hear just how crazy over the top they would be over my genius.

To their credit, each, independently, graciously, shared with me that they didn’t get it, couldn’t follow it.  Just “what” they wanted to know, was the story.  Well, that little hurt on my ego inspired me to go back and read (for the first time I might note) my completed screenplay.   Lesson # 2—re-writes.  To go back and read what I had written was one of the most painful exercises I have ever partaken.   Heck, I wrote the story and I couldn’t follow it.  So, I re- wrote, re-read, re-wrote, re-read…long story short, I have since put that particular screenplay on the shelf, for now, anyway.

But I have discovered that the rewards of a good story come in the bone grinding hard work all the re-writes.  In the hammering, pounding and flushing out the details of each scene and character.   In asking the tough questions like why is this scene even here?  Will this be missed if it’s not here? How does this scene move the story forward, heck, just what is the story?  It was this very difficult process that lead me to attempt cutting my teeth on short films.  A 20 page screenplay is a little less ominous for my little mind than a 120 pager.

With the Gate Keeper, I wrote the first draft over a weekend, some 27 pages.   Second draft over the next several weeks and cut down to some 21 pages.   I have found that with re-writes, removing the clutter, the unnecessary scenes, the number of pages gets smaller.  Then life got busy and it was a few months before I had the time for the next re-write.  But it was during those months, one of the more frequent stories in the news was the Bernie Madhoff scandal.  The thought occurred to me, what if that type of scandal, or more precise, character showed up in this story.  Someone who intentionally rips people out of their hard earned money, and does it under the guise of being a gifted, confident businessman.  What kind of justice would he get?  Should he get?  Or, would he even get caught?  Thus, re-write No. 8 at that point but with a new twist.

Finally, I come to a point that I am comfortable enough to know that I have the story.  I know these characters and their motives.  I’ve seen the scenes in my head and now on paper 1000 times.   And with Gate Keeper, I’m now at 17 pages.  I also know, and leave room, for some small, subtle changes.   Remember, it is a work in progress.  And there will be others,  my two friends who still are my best critics,  the actors, and the crew, that will all have ideas or thoughts on scenes and characters.  And I know that they will have some awesome ideas.  Ideas that will make the story better, Ah!  A work in progress.

Now we’ve come to the point of recruiting cast, crew and finding locations.  And I wonder how these elements will change my little Gate Keeper story?

Till Next Time!  And for heaven’s sake….have fun…Fred!



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The Making of “The Gate Keeper”,

In my continuing exploration to learn, and my acknowledgment that I learn best by doing, I have ventured into the making of my second short film.  A friend, more kind than interested, thought I should share my process on my blog.  While she may never read the blog, it struck a note of inspiration, and distraction, for me.  I am dedicating the next several blogs to:

THE MAKING OF “THE GATE KEEPER”:  If you should venture through the musings below, please keep in mind, it’s a learning process, and this is my process.  Not always the best process (thus the learning) but it is my process, in the making.

Step 1, “THE GENSIS”:  Possibly my favorite phase of the whole process.  The birth of an idea for a story: the Brainstorming, the dreaming, the seeing scenes in my head.   I get to open my mind and my heart to all that is out there.   I get to open my ears and soul to listening.  I get to listen or watch the news with an attitude of “wonder if there is a story here”.  I get to read newspapers and magazines and listen to conversation at a coffee shop or in line at Winco.  (yes, Winco),  knowing, that there will come a thought, a notion, an idea that will resonate with me.  That will inspire me as a storyteller.

This particular story came mostly from the news.  Who hasn’t read or heard stories on our economy over the last few years:  the housing mess, WallStreet, the jobs, or lack of them.  But, in particular, the unemployed of the older generation, my generation.  The 50+ year olds that have been lost in the downsize and have spent almost every moment of the last two years of the lives networking, hitting the pavement, sharing resumes, filing unemployment, filling out job applications and not only to no avail, but seemingly no hope.  A particular segment of 60 Minutes solidified it for me.  What kind of story can be told that takes in the backdrop of our economy, the older generation in the workplace?

One of the first ideas that started percolating with me was about a couple of younger, hotshot workers pushing an older worker out of his job.  And what would the reaction of the older gentleman be?  Desperation?  Revenge? And with that thought, I started working on the story.

My way of starting on a story is jotting:  jottting down thoughts, scenes, characters, place and allowing myself complete free-flowing.  There is no wrong or bad ideas at this phase.  Although, truth be told, some of my ideas are soooo outtt there, I just can’t help but have a little self-editing during this phase.  I find that the thoughts come anytime of day and anywhere, so make sure you have a way to remember.  I.e. post-its, a dedicated file in a word document…whatever can work for you.

After a couple of months of this phase, yes, a couple months at least, after all, it’s not like I’m getting paid for this, AND, this is my favorite phase, so why hurry?  But at some point, I have a loose beginning, an end, and more ideas for the middle than I can possibly use, so time to head off into phase two:  actual writing.

NEXT TIME:  Phase 2, the blank page, and how Bernie Madoof changed my movie.

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(cue the music)

Just after coaching Hillary, my last athlete's race, at state!

I attended my last event as a track coach this last week.  It was our year end banquet.  And it got me thinking about my life with and my love for track and field.

My very first exposure to track and field came in 1967.  I was a fifth grader at SMU (that’s how many of us lovingly referred to St. Matthews Elementary).   One of my classmates, Bill Kellar, wanted to put together a track team to compete with the local public elementary schools.   It turned out his dad was the head track coach for the local high school.  Coach Elden Kellar, my one day coach, mentor and friend, would let us come and practice with the high school athletes.  I have to tell you, as a 5th grader, that was pretty darn cool.

I had no idea which event I should be in, let alone all the events there were in track and field.  Bill, being the only expert I knew in this sport, suggested I run the 660.  Point of clarification, back in the day we ran in yards, ie: 660 yards.  In today’s track lingo, think 600m.  Little did I know it was the longest race in our meets.

They ran all the athletes from all the schools in one race.  Two 6th graders from Mooberry Elementary got 1st and 2nd, and I got 3rd.  The guy who won it came up to me and congratulated me on a nice race, and sincerely replied that he thought I might actually run a little faster next time if I didn’t run in my high top, green suede hush puppies.   I did. In fact, next time I ran barefoot and got 2nd.

I was hooked.  I fell in love with, now hear me, not running, but simply seeing how fast and how far I could run.  I loved the competition the moment we stepped to the starting line and the friendship the minute we crossed the finish line.  I loved the work/reward relationship.  I love the individual and the team aspect to it.  I love the lifelong friends I still have from those early days of track & field.

I know how much trouble one risks by sharing names, for I can in no way build a comprehensive list of all that I would like to thank.  But as I sit here, there are names of teammates, coaches, athletes that jump into my mind and I feel compelled to share with you.

TEAMMATES:  To Bill Kellar, for introducing me to a sport that I have loved for my life.  To Slavkoski, who my first day of my freshman year of high school at Mt. Angel Seminary, invited me to join the cross country team, little did I know that he and I would be the complete team.  Slav, I will always remember your enthusiasm and joy for running.  My junior and senior years of high school were at Hillsboro High School, where I became a part of a new brotherhood of runners.   Dave Babcock, for welcoming me to a new environment with such welcome heart.   Dave Brandt—teaching me that you can juggle more than one sport at a time (only person I know that lettered in golf & track).  Tom McDonnell—your having transferred to a new high school too, we were kindred spirits from the get-go.  Gary Morlock—for always, always having an open home.  Matt Holgate, for being full of surprises.   Jim Ney—underclassmen can be brothers in arms.   Bob Ulrich—for a kid from Illinois, you are not just a great runner, you are a great friend.   Aaron Madsen—You are the only sophomore that I know that could do what you did.

To all my runningmates, named and unnamed.  Thank you for sharing the miles, the battles, the competition, the blood, sweat and tears, the joy, the brotherhood, the friendships.  I am in awe of you all and thank you for helping me on my journey.


In 1979, I was given the opportunity to be part of a coaching staff.   I am forever grateful to Bill Chapman for allowing me to learn from him and begin my humble coaching career.  I have been so blessed with many coaches to learn from and become friends with along the way.  My forever mentor and first coach, Coach Elden Kellar.   For more things than I can possibly list, but foremost, that it’s about more than running, it’s about people, thank you.  Larry Binkerd, for teaching me about the longevity of coaching, for the kids, for the #Luv of a sport.  Mark Ferris, for showing me “It ain’t rocket science – there is a direct relationship between hard work and reward”.   Jim Smith, for giving me a second go around to coaching, who sees and believes in people before and after anyone else.   Jen Kully, who was the best help as an assistant that I could ever ask for.   Megan Jossy, for reminding me that track & field is for all ages.   Will Drissen, for all the laughs and your never say die attitude.   Frazier, for being one of the first coaches on the track and one of the last ones to leave.   Adam Guenther, for being as enthusiastic and over the top about track than most anyone could be for track athletes, especially for a football coach.   A couple of special ones, in that I was once their coach, and now have had the chance to coach with them, Dusty Harrah, Dennis Rice.   And to Tom Millbrooke, who was a part of the coaching staff my senior year of high school and is today one of the most successful high school coaches I know, but more to me, has been a mentor and a friend, thank you!

To all the coaches, named and unnamed, I am forever grateful.

A FEW OF THE ATHLETES:  Phil Alfieri—For teaching me the importance of an athlete believing in themselves.  Lori Campbell—There IS joy in just running.   Kelly Kaiser—Sometimes you do choose team over the individual event, but to this day, I would have loved to see you in the 800.  The Rogers girls—making it look so easy and fun.   Dave Erickson—I still say you could have been a heck of an 800 meter guy, but you were indeed a joy to watch at so many different events.  Andy Hardy, for teaching me that you can take 3rd in an event at the district meet 3 years in a row, just missing out of going to state and still hold your head high.  Kristen Mellum—the first female athlete I coached that went to State in my favorite event, the 800m.  Hard work does have its rewards.  I will never forget the shine in your eye after that 800 at the district meet.  Nicole Jones—“Jonsie”, such a hard worker, on and off the track.  Ksenina Andrukhiv (Everton)—reminding me of the fine line between fun and work, team and individual.   Johnson gals—for your hard work, your dedication, your commitment and leadership to a sport when a new coach really needed it, thank you.  Emily Ferris, you are maybe the hardest working, dedicated athlete I’ve ever coached and you taught me a world about overcoming a bad day at the track.  Julia Dissen & Andrea Stratten—For proving to me you can wear sunglasses while you pole vault.  Julia you were the first athlete I coached that set a school record.  I remember when you first came out to pole vault and I was so worried you were just going to flat out hurt yourself.  In 4 years, you willed and worked yourself into a top athtlete and young woman.  I remember you clearing 10’6 as if it were yesterday.  Kelsey Unger—to this day, you crack me up.  You can be good, talented, committed to a sport, and have fun.  Thank you for all the laughs.   Ben Miramontes, “the dude”, talent will get you just so far, but your hard work paid off to being one of the all time best runners in our school history.  Alex Douvris—balancing two sports with such a sense of ease and putting teammates above self.   Aaron Rogers—for just your pure luv for running.  Cori Bianchinni—One of the more mature young women I’ve met, juggling two sports, and really, for the sole benefit of the others.  Kaytlin Fischer—you are so gifted and such a committed runner and person.  You are 2nd school record holder I’ve had the pleasure of coaching.   What a night and at my favorite meet, the Kellar.   Hillary Harris—for helping me decide that one more year coaching would be a good thing, and so it was ~ you were my 3rd school record holder, breaking  a 27 year old record in the 800m, and done with a smile as big as the sun.

The difficult part of this is where do I stop? I could talk about Sanelle, Knox, Hart, Barnett, Carmen, Wendall, Hughes, Brockway, Widdicombe, Misar, Chand… see what I mean.  But stop I must.  To all the athletes I ever had the privilege of sharing space with.  I am forever indebted to you.


–       I am continually amazed at the struggles that athletes have today, and still come out.  Pay to play for example, but don’t get me started.

–       I’ve had the true honor of being around some physically challenged athletes, who continually inspire us all.

–       The joy on the face of an athlete who just set a personal record in an event, regardless of what place they got.

–       The light in the eyes of an athlete that you can give a pair of shoes to who can’t afford them.

–       Once in awhile, I’ve had a runner lose count in the 3000m and run one lap short, and I have also had a few go an extra lap.  But they never did it twice.

–       I’ve had athletes get to the starting line, start to pull off the sweats and realize they don’t have a uniform on.

–       An athlete watching others get nervous and throw up their lunch before a race, turning to me…”Do I have to do that?”

–       Luv the athlete who asks; “If I can find someone to take my place, can I NOT run the 4x400relay?”  Why, are you hurt?   “What if I say I just want to give the opportunity to someone else.”

–       I put a runner in an event, they won the race, set a personal record and her comment was….”Coach, please don’t ever make me do that again?”

–       The first time an athlete ran an all out 400 meter race, and came to me, put his arms around me to hold him up and said…”Coach, I can’t feel my ass!!!”

In our current media society today, it seems there is no shortage of stories about what’s wrong with our youth.    If you ever want to see the opposite of those stories, I f you ever want to personally witness some of the best our youth has to offer today, go to a local track team and spend time with them.  While I’m sure you can find it in most any sport, I can only share with you what I have had the honor of witnessing year in and year out.  I am often in awe of what they do, what they talk about, the dreams they have, the effort they put in to becoming better athletes, to becoming better human beings.  I know that I have become a better person by simply being around them.

Luv to you all.

AND…Whatever you do today…for heaven’s sake…have fun….Fred!

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Nia, Rhythm, and birth control!

Wondering just where I’m going with this one?

Well!   Whenever I invite someone to a Nia class, one of the most common responses I get is…”Oh, I couldn’t do that, I can’t dance, I don’t have any rhythm.”  I SMILE, and share with them the fact that indeed, we all have rhythm.  Like myself, we may have not tapped into it for a long, long, time.  We may not have tapped into since we were children, when we jammed to the music in our hearts for hour on hour and one day we put it away and convinced ourselves we never had it.  Trust me, it’s there, and it wants dearly to come out and play again.

Try this.  In the privacy of your home, or in your car, (if you choose your car, make sure you have safely pulled over, at a complete stop, put the car in park and engage the parking brake.) put on some music, shut off your brain, and let your body feel the music.  Let yourself move, just a little.   If that brings just a slight smile to your face, a sense of joy, pleasure, then find the nearest Nia class and you just might multiply that sensation beyond what you believe possible.

Now, let me explain the SMILE on MY face whenever someone brings up the subject of rhythm.  WARNING: we are going to talk about birth control.  Yes, the Rhythm method of birth control.  The one that St. Augustine wrote of in 388 AD.

My mother is a true-blue, born and raised Roman Catholic.  Some might say she is more “Roman” Catholic than Rome.  My dad came to the Catholic faith through the influence, or inspiration, of my mother.  He was actually raised in a Southern Baptist family.   Now, while I wasn’t actually present when my parents met and dated in the big city of Sheridan, Oregon,  I feel safe in concluding that dad’s partial motivation to conversion had something to do with my mother refusing to marry anyone who wasn’t of her faith.  And while I believe dad truly understood, believed, and lived most of the tenets of the Catholic faith, I’m not sure he completely bought into the Catholic intent behind the “rhythm” method of birth control.  My reasons:

  1. My mother gave birth to 10 children over a period of 15 years.  That statistic does not speak well as a method of birth control.
  2. In order, my mother gave birth to 2 girls….5 boys….2 girls….then after the next child was a boy, I believe my mother saw the pattern and felt it was time to make a change.  Break the cycle so to speak.   And while there is a sense rhythm to this pattern, it has very little to do with birth control.
  3. In case you think this is isolated to one family in the 60’s and 70’s, at the local Catholic parochial school I attended growing up, many of my classmates had a similar number of siblings as I.   I suppose one might question if the “method” itself was ineffective or the communication of how to use the method was ineffective.

My point?  I really don’t have one.  I’m certainly not making a judgment on one’s choice of family planning, just sharing my observation of the effectiveness of the “rhythm” method of birth control in OUR family, and how that sneaks into the back of my mind whenever the subject of “rhythm” is a part of any conversation.   I know, the inner workings of my mind…what can I say?

Wherever your day takes you….share a little dance along the way, and for heaven’s sake….have fun….Fred

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A short film…”The Last Gift”

Random Thoughts about my first short  film, “THE LAST GIFT”

For those of you patient enough and periodically check my blog, you may recall my sharing from time to time about movies, about my screenplay writing, and more recently about making a short film.  Well, “TahDah!”  My first short film, ”The Last Gift” is up on the web.  And here are a few random thoughts I have about the process of making a short film.

Why a short film:

1.  A CREATIVE DISTRACTION:  I find when I get stuck on something that if I just put it down for awhile, do something else, voila, the answer to the original “block” comes to me.  In looking for a little creative break from my current feature length screenplay, yes, the same one, the thought of making a short film seemed the perfect idea.  At least at the time it did.

2.  LEARNING PROCESS:  I don’t know how you learn things, but I learn best by doing.  Not so much by reading.  I can recall as a youngster putting together my first model airplane and having many parts left over when the plane was finished, or more accurately, when I was finished with it.  It only follows that when I purchased my Canon Rebel T2i that I jump right in.  Sure, I could read the manual, but I do better putting in the battery, filming away and then checking the manual when I run into a problem.  When I purchased Final Cut Express 4 I just input some video, start editing away, and when I run into an issue, consult the manual.  But all that being said, thank the Good Lord for youtube.  There must be a tutortial for just about anything you might want to learn about.  There are plenty of great ones for learning the latest and greatest for the Canon and Final Cut Express.   “Manuel Shmanuel” I say.   So, what better way to learn how to use these great tools than to just start making a short film.

3.  STORYTELLING:  I love a good story and good story telling.  Whether in book format, short story, novels, mysteries, film format, documentaries, news…just a good story told well.  Not saying this qualifies as a good story or told well, but we got to start somewhere!  Oh, my favorite type of story, in case you’ve missed it in past blogs…”Dude with a problem”.  So with that genre in mind, this short film is about a dude with a problem.

A few lessons learned along the way:

  1. The first draft is never, ever, the best draft.  It seems the creative details come  in 3rd, 4th, 5th and later drafts.   And in this particular experience, writing was never really done till the film was in the can.
  2. Make a storyboard.  As crude as it may be, a storyboard will save you so much time in filming and editing.
  3. If possible, have a large screen monitor to see the filming you do on location.  You might be surprised at what seems in focus on the small led screen on the camera only to discover on a larger screen….not so much in focus.
  4. When plan “A” doesn’t’ work, no sweat, go to plan “B”.  Like, when Michael doesn’t show up to be the delivery dude, take Laurie from behind the camera and make her the delivery gal.  When you want to film on a sunny day and it’s raining, I found it easier just to change the script to “Rainy Day” than it was to change the weather.
  5. As obvious as this will seem, make a production list.  All the things you need for the “set”.   Surprising what you find you don’t have when you start the actual filming.
  6. Editing:  It can just flat out take a long time,  and I’m never really done with it.  I just get soooooo tired of it.  I have to call it done before I kill myself.
  7. I would prefer to be behind the camera, but it turns out I’m very inexpensive and available.

Few Fun Fact:

  1. Filmed over three days.
  2. Don’t even want to know how many hours in editing….but chalking much of that up to learning.
  3. To many things to tell what I would do different, but hopefully they will be put to good use on the second short “The Gate Keeper”.
  4. All filmed with a Canon T2i with EF-S 18-55mm and 50mm
  5. All natural light…all I have access to at this point.
  6. Edited in Final Cut Express 4 and with Magic Bullet color correction.

One final shout out of thanks to all you wonderful people who put tutorials up on the web.  I am still in awe that one minute I can be getting invaluable tutorial information from a dude in Finland (Anders Overgaard/, and the next moment, from a more than talented “bro” ( in Lebanon, OR.  I actually considered putting a tutorial on using “Magic Bullet”, but it would pale in comparison to what these guys and others have already put up.  Truly…..Thanks.

And of utmost importance to me….thank you Laurie for all your work behind that camera, the outtakes will make for a great comedy someday.  To Freddy R….thanks for your editing ideas and laughter along the way.

Any thoughts….any suggestions, please feel free to share…and for heaven’s sake…Have Fun…….Fred!!!

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CHOICES-PART 2: Coaching, Hobbies, & Nia!

The more I contemplate on the subject of CHOICES, my awareness of the choices I make, the power that each and every choice I make carries with it, the more I realize how much there is to say on the subject.  I suppose it serves me right to now have to choose which thoughts to share and which to file for another day.


My final track season as a coach started this last Monday.  My first piece of advice to the runners was about the choices they will make this season, on and off the track, and how those choices will determine their success this season.  I currently have the privilege of coaching the distance runners.  For our team, those are the 800/1500/3000 meter athletes.   I also get to co-coach the 4×400 relay teams with the wonderful Dusty Harrah.  (A side note: a number of years ago, I was gifted the chance to be part of the coaching squad that “Dennis Rice” and a little later, “Dusty Harrah” were athletes on.  I cannot describe how wonderful it is to come full circle and get to coach on the same staff with them.  It is a blessing every “old” coach should get to experience at least once in a lifetime).

Ah, but back to the distance runners:  Distance runners are a unique breed, for many reasons, but the one that is relevant to this discussion is that for much of their training, they are alone.  At best,  on those many days of long runs, they are with a fellow runner.  But often on those long runs,  on the weekend runs, during their evening general strength drills, and even their cool downs are done alone.   Trust me, I know there are some runners that get started on their long run for the day and just as they get around the corner and out of sight, they will head to their buddies house and play on their Atari for the next 60 minutes.  Ok, their Nintendo.  The effort they put into their workout is completely up to them.  They make that choice each and every day.  And it is in the simplicity of those daily choices that will determine what kind of a season, what kind of success they will have this season as a distance runner.  As much as I would like to make the choice for them, it simply comes down to what they choose to do.  WARNING:  Here’s my sermon portion for you:  What choices are you making to reach your potential at whatever it is you are choosing to do?  What choices are you making that hinder you from living your life to its fullest?

HOBBY CHOOSING:  If you have any free time, any “Me Time,” what do you choose to do with it?  One of the joys I have in this stage of my life is being what I call an explorer.  I see something that interests me, I spend sometime on the internet investigating it, exploring it, heck maybe even trying it.  I play guitar, shoot short movies, write short movie scripts, read books, do some Nia, and a plethora of other subjects.  They are all choices I make on how to use my time with things that feed me.  Things that feed my mind, my body, my emotions, my spirit.   I get to choose how much time I spend with a particular interest.   I get to choose when I spend my time on each of these interests and how I balance those interests.  And I’m happy to report to you that I’ve come to the place that I don’t beat myself up for choosing to play guitar tonight over writing.  Or choosing reading over guitar the next night.  I think you get the idea, but really (WARNING) what I want to ask.   What choices are you making with your time to feed you?  To nourish you?  To fill your cup?


Some of you reading this blog may still be unaware of what Nia is, or isn’t.  (No, it’s  not a new age religion).  In a nutshell, it is a movement practice, meaning we move.  Typically for 1 hour.  The movement is a mix of Martial Art moves, Dance Moves, and Healing Arts Moves and set to the soothing, healing, get up and go music, that will help you condition your body, your mind, your emotions, and your soul.  What say you? Don’t believe it?  I dare you, go to and find a class near you.  Try it and if you find it doesn’t feed your body, your soul, your mind or you emotions, the class is on me.

But I digress:  One of the basic tenants of Nia, dare I say, “THE” basic tenant is to CHOOSE sensation.   To choose the sensation of the “Joy of Movement.” (JOM) Not the emotional joy, but the energy, the universal energy from all around us and from within.  Learning to make the conscious “choice” to connect to that energy, that JOM, is a continuing journey for me.  But the point….”the point” I want to hit home is that it is a “choice”.  I may be making the simple “cross behind” move to the rhythmic music of Angelique Kidjo and the thought comes to me, what am I sensing? What am I sensing in my feet, my core, my legs, my arms?   Have I chosen to connect with the energy, the ease of this particular movement, this (my) body’s way, this day.   For me, JOM is when my body is moving in it’s own way, with efficiency, with energy, with ease, all by my choosing.  One of the way’s my body gives me feedback as to whether I am connected with JOM or not is whether my body is sensing pleasure with this movement.  If not, I change the movement until I do sense it.

JOY OF MOVEMENT FOR YOUR LIFE:   For just a moment, think about having that basic tenant, “choosing the joy of movement” for your life.  Wouldn’t it be something if every choice I make, every movement that I choose to make, every thought I choose to act upon, every emotion I choose to receive would be with my choosing to do, to accept, to receive from a place of “JOM”.  When I rise out of bed in the morning.  When I drive to work behind the….well, the person who chooses to drive different than I would.  OR when the person in front of me at the check out line with the completely full shopping cart has chosen to disregard the “express” sign.   What is it I am sensing?  What is it I’m connecting with?  And to not kid myself, even by default, I am making a choice.  The more I’m aware of this, the more I practice this, in my Nia classes and outside my Nia classes, the more I find I’m choosing the Universal Joy of Movement.  Whose companions, just to name a few, are Pleasure, Peace, and Love.  WARNING:  What are you choosing to connect with Today?  Tomorrow?

I am now faced with the difficult choice between a “Marie Calendars” frozen dinner and “Frosted Flakes” for dinner.  Ah, I love my life.

Whatever you choose to do next….for heavens sake, have fun…..Fred




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