Artists That Got Me Through 2016

We’re almost there, guys. 2016 is almost over, and hopefully we can all enjoy a small bit of relief over that fact before 2017 comes up and sucker-punches us with its own particular existential shitshow. But even with all the awfulness of the last twelve months, there were some bright spots. I got my first comic story selected for publication. I got engaged. And as always, there has been some tremendous art from incredible artists to guide me and inspire me and lay the groundwork for how to face the world. So, in lieu of a normal Favorites list, I decided to write up the artists that helped me get through the ugliness of 2016.

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A Big Announcement, And A Big Thank You

topcowlogo-1fd72For the past few years, Top Cow Productions (a self-contained comic book studio within Image Comics, one of the biggest publishers in the business) has been running an annual Talent Hunt where they select a handful of aspiring writers and artists to produce a couple of one-shot comics set within Top Cow’s extended continuity, which includes comics like Witchblade, The Darkness, Cyber Force and Aphrodite IX. On Thursday, Top Cow announced the winners of the 2016 Talent Hunt… and I’m one of them!

This is a dream come true for me, as you might imagine. The opportunity to have my name on an official, published comic book, to be paid for my skills as a writer and a storyteller, to get to collaborate with the insanely-talented artists that also won this year’s contest… it’s almost overwhelming. And considering the hectic, rough-and-tumble year I’ve had so far, it is a very gratifying turn to have this success fall into my lap.

I don’t know when the finished comic will be out, but I hope that you all will read it and enjoy it whenever it finally hits shelves. For now, I’d just like to thank the whole Top Cow team, particularly Matt Hawkins and Ryan Cady (for providing this opportunity and for choosing my story) and to congratulate my fellow winners, including writers Leon Glaser, Joanna Marsh & Charles Crapo and artists Sara Knaepen, Balasz Valyogos, Mark Whitaker & Marco Renna.

Most of all though, I’d like to thank each and every one of my friends and family for all of their support and encouragement over the past six months and over the years. More than anyone, this of course means my girlfriend Shiran Lugashi, who has inspired me and motivated me like no one else. I love you sweetheart, and I love you all. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Now let’s see what happens next!


PSA: When Reach Exceeds Grasp

For the last 18-ish months, I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, and talking about the stories- be they movies, television, comics, musicals or what have you- that influence me and inspire me and speak to me. It’s great to not only fully grasp what art really connects with me (and see what those can teach me about my own creative pursuits) but to articulate that to others and hopefully help them enjoy these stories in new ways.

However, there are times where putting together material for this blog feels more like homework than fun, which is the last thing that I want to see happen. This particularly holds true for any sort of regular column I’ve tried to write here, most so for anything regarding regular television watching. Previously, I’ve tried to do weekly recaps of The Strain and Agent Carter, neither of which I ever finished (not to mention my defunct Movie of the Week posts; the tradition continues, but the posts do not). Last week I began what was meant to be a regular recounting of my experiences watching Star Trek for the first time, and while I have continued to watch the show over this past week, the task of putting together another post about it felt wearisome. Besides distracting me from the show that I’m enjoying very much, putting together such a large post every week takes potential time away from more creative writing pursuits, something that I really can’t afford.

The blog will absolutely continue, and I will continue to write about whatever bit of art inspires a reaction worth capturing. As far as Star Trek goes, I’m sure I’ll end up writing one huge postmortem on the show once I’ve finished it, probably by the summertime. But the scheduled, regular columns will be going by the wayside, perhaps permanently. While I’m sure there aren’t many regular readers at all that will miss these posts too much, I hope this is enough explanation for their absence. In the meantime, who knows what will demand my attention and analysis next; I certainly don’t, and that’s probably for the best.


One Year Later, Thoughts and Thanks

1_Year_Later_BulletOne year ago today, I started Creation From Chaos. A lot of major changes have been made in my life since then: new apartment, new job, a cat. Beyond all of that, I am proud of myself for keeping this blog going and not letting up on it. And as far as my initial goal goes, I have begun to rediscover my creativity and enthusiasm for my own writing, and I’m beginning to consider all of the different mediums I can use to explore all of that more fully, and I feel my critical thinking has never been sharper. Overall, it feels like this blog has been a success, and I feel like there is a lot of potential in my future as a writer as a result. I’d like to thank all of you for reading and encouraging all of this, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my work so far.

I’m obviously going to continue with the blog, and hopefully contribute more to the discourse not just around film, but around storytelling in many mediums. Furthermore I’m planning to expand my means of communication and interaction with my (limited) readership: a Twitter feed and maybe a podcast could be in the near future. Besides my work on Creation From Chaos, I’m very optimistic that I will make progress as a storyteller in the near future; ideas for feature scripts, short scripts, comic books and novels are all competing for space in my head, and hopefully one of those will break free of the pack soon.

But with all of that being said, this anniversary is a bittersweet one. It just so happens that the start of this blog also corresponds with the most difficult period in my relationship with my girlfriend Shiran (probably the most difficult period of my life). It’s a time that we both hate to think about, and that we never wish to revisit. But as tough as it is to remember the fight itself, it is reassuring to realize that one year later, we’re still together, and more in love than ever. So for all of my pride in how far my blog has come, I’m even more proud of my relationship and my girlfriend. We weathered that storm a year ago because we decided that, despite the hurt and frustration, we loved each other, and our relationship was something worth fighting for and working on. Not only am I more grateful to still have Shiran in my life, but I am reminded of what it takes to have and hold the things that matter most to you. In that regard, being with Shiran has helped me pursue my aspirations more than any blog ever could, which is yet another thing I can never even begin to repay her for. In remembering the events of last fall though, one thing that is clear is that there is nothing and no one more important to me than Shiran, and no amount of creative success will trump that.

I love you Shiran, thank you for everything!


My DVD Collection and Letting Go of the Auteur Theory

We recently moved into a new apartment, and of course one of the first priorities was getting the DVDs up on the shelf. This was actually a very minor turning point, as previously my girlfriend and I kept our DVDs on separate shelves, but while unpacking them now I merged both collections together. Shiran has always organized her DVDs by year, while for some time now I’ve organized them by director. But in combining the two collections together, I ended up going with Shiran’s calendar method, and in the process (as insignificant as it seems) took a step away from the auteurist leanings that have informed my perspective as a filmgoer and filmmaker for years.

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2014 Falling in Love Film Festival Report

On January 19, 2012- two years ago yesterday- I met my amazing girlfriend Shiran in person for the first time. We’ve been through a lot together in these two years, and I’m sure we’ll go through a lot more in years yet to come, and one of the biggest factors in our relationship has been movies. From our initial bonding over shared tastes through movies seen together for the first time to movies shared with each other, film has been one of the keys to our terrific time together.

It’s appropriate, then, (especially in the midst of Sundance and Slamdance) that one of her gifts to me for this anniversary was to organize what she termed the “Falling in Love Film Festival.” It’s a collection of movies that correspond to major events in our lives, and as we’ve been watching them over this weekend it’s struck me just how much these movies represent us in various ways, and how many of them also speak to our shared experiences in film. And I felt like it’d be something worth commemorating on this blog (something that Shiran encouraged me to do in the first place). Join me after the jump, as I ramble about my relationship via movies (with some spoilers):

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My Angsty, Anxious Year in Movies

With 2013’s movies (mostly) behind us and 2014 getting off to a slow start, my mind has turned to a tiresome self-reflective place about my relationship with (and taste in) movies. In looking over both the movies I loved last year and the movies I’m excited for this year, I feel myself doubting and questioning what I want out of movies, and what differentiates me from my cinephile kin. So, I decided to ramble on about that publicly for a little bit. Plenty of navel-gazing after the jump:

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