This weekend I returned to a place I haven't been in a while, but my time here change me. I spent 4-and-a-half years in New England, split between Southern New Hampshire and Boston. I moved to New England straight out of college with clear eyes and an optimistic soul. I left four years older, a little wiser, and with a new sense of purpose.
New England is part of my origin story as much as my upbringing in the rural Midwest. It is where I discovered my passion for filmmaking and storytelling. It's where my faith began to shift from textbook understandings to deep curiosities. It's where I went to film school and spent my subsequent "starving artist" years. It's where I worked a variety of jobs: pastor, wheelchair van driver, chino folder, kindergarten classroom chaos manager, high school film camp counselor. Each experience was accompanied with a cast of unforgettable characters that loved me, or at least tolerated me, and challenged me, informing my character and enriching my understanding of the world.
Eventually, I felt the pull. California was calling and I had to say goodbye. I left New England, but the place stayed with me.
The first short film I made while living in Boston was called "The Short Life of C.K. Rottingham." It was about the life of a prolific student film actor who never made it beyond the world of student films and the common clichés that define amateur filmmaking. He never made it "big," but he was passionate about what he did and became a legend to those who knew him.
"The Short Life" is my handle on social media. It reminds me of the days where it all began; when I was broke, living in a drafty apartment just north of the Charles River, making a film about a young man who wanted to be great at his craft. My circumstances have changed over time, but in many ways I'm still that man.
A WRITER AND TRAVELER KEEPING THE FAITH IN LOS ANGELES