Happy New Year, dear readers. Like many of you, I can only hope 2005 is better than 2004. It shouldn't be too hard to improve upon a year full of war, ugly politics, terrorism, and Paris Hilton. Not to mention the capper: that tragic, terrible tsunami. It was not easy to think of many highlights this year; I suppose the Red Sox winning the World Series takes the number one spot for me. And there were a few good movies this past year, like "Sideways," "Eternal Sunshine," "Hotel Rwanda," and "Collateral".
I spent most of the holidays in the Bay Area, seeing the same people I now see on an annual basis and answering the same questions:
Q: "So, how's the movie business? We're still waiting to see your name in lights!"
A: "Oh, it's going great, any day now... ha ha. Actually, I just finished another short film, which was pretty fun, and now we're sending it to festivals."
Q: "Well, hang in there."
Q: "So, how are you surviving?"
A: "Berries, catching wild animals in traps. I've become quite skilled at foraging."
Q: Have you ever considered shooting porn?
Q: "Wow, making movies is so expensive, isn't it? Why don't you talk to M. Night Shymalan? He's Indian, I'm sure he'd help you."
A: "Wow, great idea, I don't know why I didn't think of that. Can I borrow your cell phone?"
I came back feeling downright blue from the whole process. It would be nice to have some different answers to these annoying questions: "I just finished my feature, it's premiering this week, just in time for Oscar nominations... Oh, hold on, M. Night is calling my cell..." But alas, another year goes by and I have nothing new for my end-of-the-year round of interviews. Sure, I can't complain: I managed to pay my rent all year, traveled a bit, played a lot of tennis, hooked up with a few women here and there... But at the end of it all I'm still a broke, single filmmaker with a little less hair than I had the year before.
So, as the annual odometer turns over, we must once again force ourselves to focus on the positive. To look on the bright side: We still eat three meals a day and sleep in a warm bed. We still manage to tell stories and be creative. We haven't sold out yet and might even be getting better at what we do. We have our health and people who love us. We have cable television and occasionally dial-up internet. The NFL playoffs are right around the corner. Maybe our president will still manage to get impeached. Maybe this will be the year that feature film gets made. The year a script gets sold. The year that elusive love is found.
That's the nice thing about the start of a new year. There is really no difference between the 31st and the 1st other than the ambiguous calendar we impose upon it, but it nevertheless manages to fill many of us with hope and possibility. A year is over. Another year has begun. And anything can happen.
Good luck to all of you.