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Never Miss an Opportunity

April 17, 2009

Filmmaking is one of those unique hobbies (or professions for those lucky enough to succeed) that is constantly building upon itself. No project or idea is too small. In fact, sometimes it is the smallest of opportunities that can lead to more significant ones in the future. For example, while I was in College at William and Mary, my school opened up a Media Center. I immediately got involved with center and took a job there. The opportunity to create a propaganda video for the center was opened up to the staff, and I was one of the few who decided to make one. Borrowing a little from the Conan O’Brien show, I created a short involving a talking statue of Lord Botetourt (or Loboto, so dubbed by the son of the Media Center’s director).

It was just a short little video, but people liked the character of the statue, which led to a couple other appearances in Media Center videos. In fact, 2 years later after I had graduated, the media center was approached by the school to make an Easter Egg video to go along with the launch of the school’s redesigned web site. The media center peeps contacted me to reprise the roll of Loboto again, and so I did. WATCH.

Again, it is just a short little video and a small opportunity, but now it is, to a degree, a part of school history.

But you are probably still thinking, so where is this all leading. Well, at the end of November I was contacted again by my good friend Kevin (Media Center’s Creative Media Dude) to do another Loboto movie. Apparently, W&M alumnus Bill Lawrence (the creator of Spin City, Scrubs, and Clone High) was planning a visit to the school in January. The SWEM development office wanted the Media Center to do a nice little video to send to Mr. Lawrence as a way to say, “we are thinking of you and looking forward to your visit.” So, the idea for another Lord Botetourt vid was tossed around, and I was sent another script for the Loboto part. This approach probably would have been fine, but I was beginning to worry that Mr. Loboto was getting played out. I also thought it might be nice to do something more personal for Bill Lawrence.

I began thinking of another idea, and after searching online I found this real nice article on Why We Write by Bill Lawrence. Read Article. In the article Bill Lawrence says, “That’s what writing is to me – crafting a beautiful lie.” From that, I decided a good idea would be to simply make a series of exaggerations, lies, as well as some truths about the changes the College had undergone since Mr. Lawrence’s graduation in 1990. Kevin liked the idea, and we both agreed that I should make the two hour trip from Charlottesville to Williamsburg in order to make the video. I took an opportunity to visit some friends and make a fun little video for the creator of Scrubs (seemed like a no-brainer to me).

On January 29th, Bill Lawrence visited the school and I got to meet him. Not only did I meet him, but I got to be introduced as “the guy that made that video for you.” And the best part about it was that he liked it! He liked it enough that I got to pass along my resume and a demo reel directly to him. In addition, the close relations I have maintained with the Media center also made me privy to all the events with Mr. Lawrence, including reserved seating to a full house talk with Mr. Lawrence and an autographed Scrubs poster! So yes, taking advantage of the opportunities, resources, and connections that you have is a must. Of course, I am doubting that much more will really come out of it all. But Bill Lawrence is an incredibly nice guy, and he was serious about wanting to help me, specifically, and just that alone is enough to make it all worthwhile.

L-R Me, Randall, Kevin, Bill Lawrence, Erica, and Troy

L-R Me, Randall, Kevin, Bill Lawrence, Erica, and Troy

Plus, I cannot go on enough about how wonderful a person Bill Lawrence is. He is the most humble, gracious, and genuine person. He really appreciated being back at his old school, and just wanted to talk as long as possible with everyone, giving them honest encouragement. He is a solid class act, and a true testament to the fact that good people can still be successful in Hollywood. Please purchase and watch all of his shows!

(Originally posted Feb. 4th, 2009)

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