SOUNDS EASY, RIGHT?
As long as I can remember, I've been a daydreamer. As a young boy, playing in the backyard of my Lynchburg home ... As a teen, playing in the woods with my neighborhood pals ... As a young adult, playing music on the radio as an announcer ... As an adult, playing alongside actors in a film ... And now, as a maturing adult, crafting stories out of thin air, about people and places and all the mystical places in between...
And from those dreams have come an enormous amount of success.
My first dream was to be an artist. So, I began sketching as a child, turning those sketches into paintings, until one day, I began to sell those paintings. To date, I've sold works in every city in which I've lived, to include: Va Beach, Detroit, Chicago, LA, New York, Philadelphia, and Charlotte. I suppose I best get busy if I'm to sell my work in Encinitas!
My next dream was to be a big-time radio host. So, I began practicing in the shower, while walking to school, driving my car on the way to work, until one day I walked into a radio station and demanded the worst shift on the worst day when no one was listening. I got the job. That determination let to a bigger station, then a bigger, and then a bigger market, and then an even bigger market, until one day, I landed at the very top, and a "Morning Radio Host in New York City." Note: my goal, at age 15, was to perform on at least five of the Top 10 Markets before I turned 40. I hit the top 5 ... by 38!
My next dream was to make a film. So, I began practicing by writing little "short scripts" about things that interested me. Note: My first screenplay draft was something like 210 pages. It eventually became 98.
The first story was about an elderly couple searching for the fountain of youth. It is a dark thriller where nothing was as it seemed. REWIND
The next short was about a therapist who helped his patients with their insecurities. It is a romantic comedy where the patients were animals and the doctor a bachelor. POKE THE SLEEPING BEAR
The next short was about twin brothers who were completely opposite, yet desired the same thing. It is a dark comedy about trust and murder. TAKE TWO
From there, I set my sights on a full-length feature. My first attempt, while thoroughly original from the standpoint that we wrote, cast, shot, edited, scored, and finished a feature film in just 30 days. It is a dramatic fable about a man who visits a passport office, looking for the next adventure; it results in a mysterious ending that leaves you breathless. THE LAST PASSPORT
My next dream was to write a book. So, I began reading about how to write a book, how to self-publish (as I was certain no one would buy my first attempt). I figured it would be smart to write about something I knew about. I chose: growing up in a super-strict, faith-based home in the conservative south where life is black and white and leaves no room for the gray.
After realizing I had a knack for writing, I tried to do a sequel, a year later. And it worked. After coming to the realization that "family stories" weren't really my cup of tea, I took the main character, Carter Matheson, and spun his life into a big, bold military-themed thriller where he worked as a retired Special Ops Sniper-For-Hire.
I turned that dream into three novels: LUCKY STRIKES, BEHIND THE 8 BALL, and late last year, KNUCKLE DOWN. Note: LS and BT8B were written during the NaNoWriMo Contest (Goal: a minimum of 50,000 words in 30 days).
This quickly became, and continues to be my life passion. I love creating people and places with unique names and faces, while creating mysteries and thrillers, full of heroes and killers.
My next dream was to imagine: What if I take my two favorite passions of films & books and make a film from one of my books. The book Discovering Grace, a family thriller about redemption and the power of forgiveness became the film Chasing Grace.
Was it a success? You bet. We sold the film in late 2016 to Word Entertainment, and today you can see it on Pureflix, Hallmark's Feeln, and on DVD in family bookstores, and on Amazon.com.
While I don't mean to brag, I DO mean to say this: If you can dream it, you can have it. We're all given the same 24 hours in a day, the same 7 days in a week. So, stop bullshitting yourself about how my dreams are too big and unachievable.
Instead, make reachable goals, one at a time, put them into motion, be diligent about seeing that you "water the seeds of dreams" everyday, push through the obstacles of doubt, fear, lack of faith or hope, and practice the mantra: All Things Are Possible With Focus & Work.
I've never really thought any other way ... than to believe that I could have it, IF I were willing to put in the time.
To this day, my gut reminds me of this: If I'm going to spend the time dedicating myself to a craft, and every single opportunity is possible, then why not dream as big as I can, reaching as high as I can, while believing it will come to me.
Just remember: No One Will Do It For You. Only YOU Know Your Dreams.
In closing, I encourage you to take the graphic above that I made to remind myself and you:
Be brave. Reach high.
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