Addiction to Attention

The Baltimore premiere of "Standards of Ethical Conduct" was an unique experience, and now that I've had a little time to think about it, I wanted to share some thoughts. They might surprise you.

I've never had that much attention directed towards me before. Over Friday and Saturday of the premiere, because of the press and the actual show, I had an overflowing of congratulations and support from all sorts of people from the past and present of my life. I never had a shining moment in sports, academics or work that prepared me for the mental consequences of that rush of attention. I never hit the game-winning home run or pulled off the 60 second kegstand.

Don't get me wrong, the attention I received was not significant in the big picture. Maybe 75 people contacting me at over a couple days. But that's a lot for me.

The attention is like a drug. You want more and more. The week after the premiere, as I got back to the grind of my life, I found myself uneasy, looking forward to the Denver premiere as my next fix of excitement. I constantly checked my email and webstats, waiting for the next rush of traffic.

I came away unhappy when there wasn't anything there. The emails stopped coming and my web traffic slowed. I couldn't adjust to the normal pace of life. It was strange, only days after a perhaps the most significant personal accomplishment of my life, I'm moping around. Those couple days of attention had shifted my focus from what I do that makes me happy. Making the movie wasn't about getting a bunch of attention, but rather trying to create something personal and unique.

I had the good fortune of reading an article on Tim Ferriss' blog about the philosophy of stoicism, and it made me do a bit of self-reflection. All that attention creates a momentary thrill, but it really has no longer term significance.

This experience gave me a new perspective on how easily the events around us can change us. I don't think anyone thinks, "once I succeed, I'll become an asshole". That's not saying my demeanor changed; I wasn't gallivanting around in a fur coat and snapping at people or anything. But it did change my focus, and if it had continued for a longer period, who knows how that would have affected other things. Never for a moment would I have thought that something like that would affect me, yet I can't deny that they did.

Multiply my experience by about 100,000 and you might have what an actor experiences after his first hit movie. If you don't get a moment to take a breath and reflect, I can imagine how you might lose sight of who you are and let yourself get carried away in the excitement.

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My interview on "The Signal" on National Public Radio can be heard here.

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My Baby Is All Grown Up

After four years of having my baby all to myself, I finally released "Standards of Ethical Conduct" into the world on Saturday night. First, let me thank all the friends and family who made the trip to see the movie. It was an unforgettable night because you were there.

Also, if it wasn't for Patrick Hackett and Tage Plantell, this movie wouldn't have been made nor been the film it is. They stuck with the project throughout, and helped me tremendously along the way. Thank you.

One more round of thanks goes to my wife Jenny, who was by my side from day 1, supporting me in hundreds of different ways. She helped in every way imaginable, from the big decisions on the story and the cut, to the details, such as how the bebovka cart should look and what the cast/crew was going to eat for lunch.

Back to the show. We had almost a full house and everyone seemed to enjoy the movie. Of course there is a selection bias in that those who might have hated the movie probably wouldn't have come up to me afterwards to tell me that.

There was plenty of laughter throughout the film, which was a nice contrast to the viewing of my first cut with Patrick, Tage and Cam, where I got to enjoy the sounds of crickets and pins dropping. Of course, I could be accused of cheating, as I had about half the crowd out for drinks beforehand at NcDevin's.

Here are some more pics.



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"Standards of Ethical Conduct" Hits the News!

"Standards of Ethical Conduct" gets its first written review in the City Paper by Arts Editor Bret McCabe. He calls the movie "disarmingly sweet and funny" and "a refreshingly piss take on office culture". The City Paper chose "Standards of Ethical Conduct" as an "Editor’s Pick" event.

My interview with Lisa Morgan at WYPR airs at noon and 7 pm ET time today on 88.1 in Baltimore, or online, at wypr.org. Morgan is a fan of the film, saying "Standards of Ethical Conduct is a tightly scripted and well acted exploration of the absurdities of the corporate world in these days of mega-mergers, company takeovers, and downsizing. It’s a funny, gentle reminder that the pursuit of happiness is often more valuable than professional success."

Click here to hear the promo WYPR has been running.

Also, I did a mini Q&A with the folks at the Creative Alliance, which can be seen here. Last, baltimore.about.com writes a post on the premiere here.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to watch the movie and spread the word.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening. It'll be nice to take a deep breath after a crazy couple weeks and catch up with friends and family.

Remind me to watch my drinking, I need to be on my toes for Preston's first birthday on Easter Sunday. Remind me - Beer Water Beer Water Beer Water...Shot Shot Shot Chugcontest - Hey NO! - Beer Water Beer Water - there ya go.


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Radio Interview on WYPR

Several weeks ago, I sent out some screeners of the film to the local Baltimore press, to see if anyone wanted to cover the premiere of "Standards of Ethical Conduct". Lisa Morgan, co-host of "The Signal" on WYPR 88.1, the local National Public Radio station, responded within a couple days, wanting to arrange an interview!

When I received her email I was simultaneously struck with excitement and anxiety. It was a great break for the film, as getting the first piece of media coverage for a film is the hardest part. Plus, it was one of the first people who had seen my film that had no connection with me, so I was excited to hear she liked it.

On the flipside, I had never been interviewed before nor been on the radio. Well maybe I had briefly been on the radio as a kid, when we used to call into DC101 to request songs like "Cherokee" by Europe to see if they'd play them (seriously, click on that link, its worth it).

My palms began to sweat when I thought about blathering through the interview, blowing a great opportunity for the project. At least it wasn't live radio, I'd have a chance to do-over any screw-ups.

Luckily, my work schedule didn't give me much time to dwell on it. I was traveling all over California in the days leading up to the interview. I had just enough time to ponder over the likely questions, like, why did you make the film? Surprisingly, it took a little thinking to clarify my reasoning. It had been four years since I started the project.

Last Thursday was the big day, and I arrived at high noon for the showdown. I met Lisa, who was so gracious and friendly that my nervousness quickly dissipated. We chatted for a bit, and then the interview began. We covered a range of subjects, and it was actually a lot of fun to do.

I have yet to hear it, so who knows how it'll turn out. I'll probably sound like a total cheeseball.

If you're in the Baltimore area, tune in to 88.1 at noon or 7 pm ET on Friday. If you're elsewhere, go to www.wypr.org and click the "listen live" link.

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Click below to help promote the film!

If you have an account at Facebook, Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Yahoo or any of the many other social networking sites, share this story by clicking SHARETHIS below. Yahoo users click "Buzz Up!". That will share this story and the film with everyone on this thing called the "internet" :-)

If you're on Facebook, become a Fan of the movie. Thank you!

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