I wasn't expecting to do a post... but I figured I'd talk about something that soothes my soul and relaxes me. In an industry that is full of rejection... it's easy to kind of get in your own head and self sabotage yourself. I have imposter syndrome like crazy. How can that be? I hear it all the time... "You are talented. You have Star Quality! You are affable." That may be true... but if that was the case why aren't I getting any where. In acting or even directing you get rejected... you might be the best one but you aren't tall enough, or your hair isn't the right color. It could be anything. It usually isn't your fault, but sometimes as artists we look at ourselves as failures. I use to, I tend not to any more.
Shadow and I sneaking a selfie.
So how do I keep positive. The little things... I go on late night walks with my dog. My best friend and confidant use to be my Husky Shadow. That dog has gotten me through some really rough times. The dog saved my life once, I almost froze to death and that dog covered me... but that's a story for another day. He was my ride or die through college and out of college. Shadow Devokees was a rescue. I got him at a pound in Pittsburgh. Apparently he was a show dog as a puppy, but was abandon in Atlanta. When he was found he was young, full of worms, beaten and tied to a fence post in a back alley. Seems like we already had a lot in common. He then spent the next two and a half years bouncing from various shelters to keep from being put down. People would adopt him and then bring him back for reasons out side of his control. Husky's are beautiful animals... but they aren't for everyone, a lot of people don't know about the breed or think of them as their harmful stereotype. Much like pittbulls husky's can be looked at as dangerous and vicious animals. I am sure some can be, but from my experience... most huskies are just beautiful, goofy animals that love to be loved. I am sure there have been attacks such as the incident where a child lost his hand, he had a sock on his hand and the animals thought it was a toy... that is a horrible situation.
My first photo I ever took of Shadow aka "The Dow!" Shot on my old T2i in Turtle Creek, PA. I believe Matty Wise was here when I shot this.
Shadow had been adopted a total of 8 times before I got him, he was brought back every time for some excuse "He sheds too much." or "He was being aggressive and howling at me." Or "He looked at me weird." I shit you not that was a reason. I got him... and I never looked back. We did everything together. I'd take him to work with me, on runs, I took him to film school on occasion (I got some grief at times from Bob for bringing him.) There wasn't one person I met that didn't like Shadow. He was majestic... he was fun, and he had a terrific sense of humor. But he had a bit of a dark side, he was definitely abused before I got him, you'd bring your hand up to pet him... he'd wince... every time. It was heart breaking. He knew when I was sad or mad and would try and cheer me up, not in a crazy goofy way but he just knew when I needed him. He was amazing. He loves were long walks, ice cream and PIZZA. I'd nick named him the Pizza Hound. He did have his quirks. For example, Shadow would not poop while he was on a leash. If you walked him on a leash he would wait until he was in a fenced area or his yard to poop. He also didn't bark. He also didn't sleep on the bed. He would sleep on the floor. When I lived in Turtle creek, he had a spot on the landing of the stairs... my guess and Matt's guess was so he could see everything. In Delaware he slept in the hall... again so he could see everything. He was 15 when I had to put him down. It was a sad day. He had developed dementia, didn't know where he was or who I was. He had issues walking. The vet said it was time and that most huskies last about 10-12 years... here he was like the village elder. He was kind of like a emotional support animal or a service dog... with out actually being one. He got me through a lot of rough times and I am sure I got him through some rough times as well.
The Dow loved Christmas! Christmas isn't the same. He would open his presents and he would get excited. He doesn't look happy in this photo... but when ever I would break out a tripod and camera he would be like "Dad... really?"
You know Shadow was never my original name for him. I originally wanted to name him ALUNDRA. After my favorite video game. But I lived with a room mate, who was let me tell you one hell of a guy. Matt Okin... let me just say this. This guy didn't and still doesn't get enough credit. He tolerated my bull shit, and supported me and my dreams more than most people. He was a great friend and a great guy. Macabre Medicine would have never gotten finished with out him. He was my roommate during film school. We had a blast, dealt with each other's quirks but still remained friends. I haven't heard from him in a while and hope he is doing well. Any way My family and friends claimed they couldn't pronounce Alundra, so we went with Shadow, but called him "The Dow" for short. Which was fitting because the dog followed me every where. This is where I learned what true love is all about. I struggled with love and feelings... but this dog definitely helped with that.
Shadow's last pup cup...
I have regrets... I wish I had taken him to Scotland. I had always planned to but was talked out of it by people online who claimed I'd be a bad dog owner traveling with him. I wish I had gotten him more treats, wish I had gotten him more bark boxes, filmed more movies with him ( Although he hated film equipment and would normally get nervous and try to protect me from it.) and I wish I had taken him on more late night walks.
Years later I made a tribute to him... it can be seen here. An epic tribute for an epic dog.
Our last photo... I stayed with him until the end. Just as I promised when I got him.
I remember my first walk with out him. It hurt. It was quiet. I would walk and talk with him for hours. I probably looked like a crazy person. Shadow had a special spot... a pond I'd always take him to. I'd let him off leash, he'd run around... but he would always come back. I remember my first visit to the pond after shadow passed. It was a solemn visit.
Alundra of the Tundra!
I have adopted another husky since. A big Chungus named ALUNDRA, "The Dra" for short! Yes I finally said... I don't give a shit if you can pronounce it... I'm naming MY DOG what I WANT. Alundra of the tundra! Is he the same dog... hell no. Very different. It took me a bit to get use to that. He is much more goofy than shadow. He poops on the leash... some times 3 times a walk. He barks... which can be annoying. He is a bigger more muscular dog. He sleeps on the bed and he steals the covers too. He also farts like a god damn pack mule... But he is still sweet, loves to play and is a great companion on walks... some times. When he isn't pulling me and spraining my wrist. He is a great dog, a beautiful dog... and although he may not be shadow... and trust me he'll never be Shadow... but that's good.... He should only be himself and I'll always love him for that. He is also a rescue. He was older when I got him but still full of life. I remember his profile said "he loves snacks." That is true... there is nothing this dog won't eat. I don't know much about his background. But I am happy I got him... and he makes the late night walks more tolerable and interesting. He is also in a film that Adam Clifton wrote for Shadow, playing Shadow's role. He is a ham, and loves film and photos.
Alundra on set of Adam Clifton's Film "His Master's Voice"
So... how do I keep calm, and relax especially in a career full of no's, negativity and depression. I talk long walks with my dog. As curly said... find that one thing... this is my own thing.
Sorry for the "It Comes at Night" posteresque photo.
Thanks for listening... let me know what your one thing is. Hell show me photos of your dog! And remember... keep being creative!