A glutton for punishment, what does that mean? I was 16 years old, I grew up on the south side of Chicago, so nobody I grew up with talked like this. The first time I heard it was from Brad Bate and Kay Lorraine at Major League Productions. I’d asked them what I thought was a simple question ‘Why did you get into the ‘industry’? Instead of giving me a quick answer like I was expecting, they stopped, thought about it, thought about it some more, then after a long awkward silence said, ‘I guess we’re just gluttons for punishment’. I waited for that? I was more confused than ever. I knew my answer. I loved movies. Back then my ‘career’ was all of 14 months old. Brad taught me the basics of filmmaking because I was broke and couldn’t afford film school. Nothing shady, no quid pro quo, he just taught me out of the kindness of his heart. That was 31 years ago. I’ve since produced features, television, internet new media, back when it was still called ‘new’, music videos, animated cartoons, even produced for an internet based streaming financial news network. Now I’m looking closer to the end of my career than the beginning. I’ve decided to do something really meaningful. I’ll be the first to admit. I made a lot of mistakes and wish I could go back and retake meetings, re-write drafts and reinvent myself sooner. I often got into my own way. Well I’m going to pay it forward and do something for someone else. I’m going to help someone that wants to get into the industry, by teaching them what to do, and more importantly what not to do. I’ve also reached out to other industry folks through my Various Artists independent Film Festival, yes the ‘i’ is meant to be lower case. They’ll have one-on-one mentorship with me and other industry professionals volunteering their time and they’ll learn in months what took me years in real world scenarios. We are taking the funds raised from the festival and gifting it in the form of a production grant. This will be the production capital for their next short film. This project will be the opening night film at this upcoming years festival, so I better get busy. All of this for the price of a submission into the festival, which is at the time of this writing, is about $45 dollars. The VAiFF is going to make sure this filmmaker gets everything they need. This is the first year we’re doing this. Year three of the festival just ended and year four will be starting in a few days. The winner of this ‘opportunity’ is a young man named Maurice D. Proffit. He made a decent film that although not perfect, had cross over appeal, was easy to produce and he shows a lot of promise and potential. He didn’t try to produce over his means and he produced what he knew. He’s humble, hungry and wants to learn. The problem, he’s just as hungry and excited as I am mentally and physically beat down and exhausted from the long hours and unimaginable stress I’ve dealt with over the years. Yeah, but here I am, willingly and on my own accord, trying to step out of myself to do something for someone that I hope will ‘make it’ to accomplishing his dreams, which I hope is TO BE WITH HIS FAMILY, HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND JUST SO HAPPENS TO DO WHAT HE LOVES TO DO FOR A LIVING. This is not going to be easy, but what can I say. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment, but it is exciting, isn’t it?