yugen | yoo’gen | noun (Japanese). An awareness of the universe that triggers an emotional response too deep and mysterious for words.

I work a lot. Like many. I do it for lots of reasons – to get ahead in my career, to make money, because it’s expected, blah blah blah blah.

And while I’m very passionate about what I do and know at the end of each day that I’m okay with the sacrifices I’ve made, I still feel every now and then a sort of heaviness – where I start second-guessing the validity of my choices, and doubting myself. I imagine everyone gets it. I call it “burnout”.

If you haven’t seen this already, it’s a composite of NGC 224 (the Andromeda Galaxy) sized against the Moon and lit to be as bright. I came across this browsing on Reddit, and spent a long time looking at it.

Without further ado, I give you my happy place. My serenity. My yugen:

Source: Slate.com. This image was created by Tom Buckley-Houston, who composited a photo (moon and background) by Stephen Rahn with a NASA/JPL-Caltech image of Andromeda. Credit also goes to Reddit user SniperWolfX117, who reposted the image with the caption “yugen”.

I love space and astronomy. There’s something transcendent about looking up and seeing things infinitely bigger than yourself. This picture captures that feeling so perfectly – to think that there’s an entire galaxy, wider than our Moon, there in the sky if we could see it. I wonder what life would be like if we could see Andromeda in our night sky. Or if the Earth had rings. I wonder how the world and our ways of thinking would be different.

One could say it can make you feel small and insignificant, but I really don’t see it that way. I look at this picture and see possibility. The literally unlimited potential of humankind (and by extension, myself). I look at this picture and want to strive for improvement. To be someone who makes change; that maybe is included in the history of this pale blue dot; for someone far from now to look back on. Hopefully with a shred of dignity and honor.

I look at this picture, and the worries and problems that threaten to overwhelm me seem…not so overwhelming anymore.



Written for the Daily Post photo challenge: Serenity.


Temporal Frequency

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page.

And haha, because I have no life, this is what I’m looking at:

“If we see an event early in a film and then there is a flashback to that event later on, we see that same event twice.” – David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (2008)

This is super basic film grammar. Like, Intro to Film Grammar 101, instinctually understood stuff. However, the range of possibility using this generic piece of common sense is quite amazing. Off the top of my head, Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000) is an incredible example of how information can be re-contextualized as the audience views the same events more than once.

I’m going through my old syllabi from film school, as a refresher to start the new year. Hence the textbook. Right now it’s all about film form, and the beginning of the medium as an art. I wonder how often people think of film as what it truly is – moving pictures, captured by passing light through a lens onto a frame (or now, a chip). For the average viewer, maybe never. But it’s nice to look back every now and then, and remember.


Written for the Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots.

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

I’ll be starting a new job soon.

Well, in The Biz, you’re always starting a new job soon. On the flip side (and much more accurately), you’re also always about to be unemployed. Always.

[Be warned! This post contains swearing.]

There, the truth behind the curtain revealed! Most of the film industry – from the biggest actor to the lowliest production assistant (se moi) – operates on a contractual basis. Each show is its own enclosed project, and each player negotiates (or has an agent to negotiate) his or her terms of employment. Depending on the project, this means looking for work roughly every three to six months, or up to a year.

It is the eternal hustle. For the right person (read: crazy), the true measure of success is when you no longer hustle for the job, but when the job hustles for you. One day…

And with each new job comes the First Day.

I imagine the feeling of starting somewhere new is the same across all industries, not just mine. In my experience, the primary emotion is fear. Ultimately, fear of fucking up.

My First Day on a show, my heart was in my throat. I was terrified I was going to be late. I was nervous I wouldn’t know what do. I was scared I’d violate some rule I didn’t know and everyone would hate me and I would never work again and fail as a human being and live forever on my Dad’s couch.

I left the house at 3:00A. So it would have taken an act of God for me to be late. And as I got out of my car that early, early morning, after spending fifteen minutes gearing up with everything I might need in the event that anyone asked me for anything, I was more than scared. I was also keen on succeeding.

That First Day was the first day of the rest of my life. It was too important to let my fear get in the way. I was more hungry than I was afraid.

It’s what got me through that Day. And every Day since. Better than that, I got another job. And another. Even better, I started getting bigger jobs. And bigger ones. And yup, like all struggling artists, I lived off ramen noodles and out of my car for about a year, but I also made friends (and connections), and learned more about this crazy business, and about what I might want to do in it once my metaphorical dues are paid to the unsparing film gods.

Every time I start on a new show, I still have those fears. I still think that *this* time will be when I finally get exposed as a gigantic fraud and my career will be over. I’ve actually fucked up more than a few times. But at the end of the Day I can’t give in to all those feels!

IMHO, it’s okay to be nervous, anxious, or scared on the First Day. It’s like, what separates us from the animals, man. Because every First Day is an opportunity; a chance; the big break – to take names, to make plays, to show everyone who didn’t hire you why they should have, and why they shouldn’t make the same mistake in the future. Every First Day is the first day of the rest of your life.

And that first day of unemployment? Someone I know also calls it the first day of the rest of your life. This is also true.

Welcome to The Biz. May we never not have the First Day jitters.


Written for the Daily Prompt: First!