As per tradition, I have compiled a list of the top 10 moments or events of 2007 for me. It started in 2005 when I felt I had nothing to contribute in terms of a music or film year-end wrap up so I focused on myself instead (because I’m an egomaniac). Basically, it’s a way to look back and zero in on the positives and pump myself up for another year. You’d be surprised how much cool and exciting shit you do in a year that you just forget about or downplay. This was my second full calendar year living in Los Angeles and my first full calendar year dating Tara Everhart. Both of those things are amazing and are what make me who I am more than anything else, but they won’t be on the list because they are hopefully ongoing things.
10. Visiting the set of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
I am gay for Brad Pitt. And I like David Fincher. Hell, I’ve even read the source material that this movie is based on thanks to a Brendan recommendation and that’s something I can say for maybe two other movies. A friend of mine named Richmond was in this movie and he was so impressed by my encyclopedic knowledge of box office grosses that he insisted I come meet David Fincher and talk to him about it. So I did. This was far and away, the largest scale picture I had ever been on the set of and I spent a lot of time hanging out with the actors who play the members of Button’s sea-crew. I also spent an hour or so talking with Fincher and Richmond about the state of the industry and I felt kind of important, I’m not gonna lie. Fincher was cool enough to let me slink around even when there were only six or seven other people in a small room set and I learned a lot from observing. But the real meat and potatoes of the story is getting eye to eye with Brad Pitt looking more or less like he does in that photo up there. We didn’t say anything to each other but he came in the room and looked at me like, “Who the fuck is this guy?” and I nodded at him and he nodded back and that was that. And then I went home and changed my underwear.
9. Footballers United
Trey Latimer, pictured above, got me involved in a summer soccer league thanks to someone he knew from an acting class or something. All I know is that every Sunday I had to drive out to the middle of the desert in Duarte and play the greatest game in the world. The first match I could only play 15 minutes before I collapsed under a tree and realized how out of shape I was but by the end of the season I had transformed myself into a guy who could play at least 35 minutes of a 90 minute game. I even scored a goal. More importantly, the whole in my heart that had been eating away at me since 1993 was finally filled.
8. The 2nd Annual Spring Break Fuckapalooza
I gotta be honest, I don’t remember that ass in my face. I don’t think Dugan (the owner of the ass) does either. I don’t even think this party was all that exciting, but it hit at the exact right time. I had only been back in LA for about two months and needed this very party to remind me of how fun these folks can be. I talk a lot about how my best friends are in New York but that’s slighting all the fine Angelinos that make my nights and weekends enjoyable all year long and this party underlined that. Plus, Will and I were unstoppable at beer pong that night.
My little brother spoiled Christmas by getting pancreatitis and being in the hospital the whole week I was back in Virginia. Just kidding Brent. Despite the slight differences in our family festivities this year, they were still family festivities and when you only get to see your family for 6 days out of every 365, they are always a treat. I spent the most time with my older brother Jordan, who is a great older brother and even though Brent was eating through a tube in his arm he seemed like he was in a better place in his life than last year. I also got $150 worth of Starbucks cards and that’s just ridiculous.
6. “Luke and Brie Are on a First Date” Post-Production
Post-production on this movie has kind of been kicking my ass. Blood, sweat, tears and nightmares have been poured into turning a bunch of footage into a movie and now I’m faced with the crippling fear that it’ll all be for nothing since no one’s ever going to see it anyways. My neurosis aside, a difficult process usually means some sort of bonding and this one has brought me closer to Charlie Dugan. Even though we hardly hung out at school he offered me his couch when I first moved to L.A. and got my a (shitty) job when I needed one the most. Now, I hope I can return the favor by kickstarting his feature editing career and turning “You guys in line?” into a national catchphrase.
5. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. D.C. United
On August 15, Sean and I went to the Home Depot Center to watch the Superliga semi-final and cheer on the Galaxy. And of course, we were hoping to see David Beckham in action. Little did we know that we were going to see his first start and his first goal in a Los Angeles jersey. 25 minutes into the game he lined up a freekick and everyone got to their feet. I didn’t actually expect him to score it because what the fuck are the odds of that? But he did and we went ape shit. I actually high-fived strangers. I was right in the middle of Beckham-mania and it was making me feel like an eight year old again. He’s a genius.
4. “Luke and Brie Are on a First Date” Pre-Production
There was only about four months from the day I had the idea to make this movie to when we were actually shooting it so pre-production was very quick. I met George Ducker first thanks to a recommendation from Josh Locy and we immediately hit it off. Writing the script with him was a total blast and one of the easiest things about making the movie surprisingly. Much harder was the casting of the female lead. We must have auditioned twenty different girls over five or six weeks and it was exhausting. Luckily, I live right next door to Meg Webster and I met her and right away thought she’d be perfect. Once she was on board we had to finish the writing and rehearse at a breakneck pace and it was exhilarating. And now they’re two of my best friends.
3. My Birthday/”Quiet City” Premiere
At the end of August I hopped a flight to New York City for three reasons. One, it was my birthday and I wanted to spend it with the boys. Two, “Quiet City” was having its theatrical premiere at the IFC Center and I wanted to support the boys. And three, Tara was moving to L.A. and I wanted to help ease the transition. It was a perfect storm of events that made the trip one for the ages. It’s amazing to see how far Aaron has come in the past two years and his success couldn’t have happened to a better person. Best of all, we’re all still a part of his life and his work in major and minor ways and we can still celebrate together. Any time 600 West can reunite is a joyous occasion and this was extra special because dreams are turning into realities. Then, we celebrated my birthday at Fat Cat along with Joe Swanberg and his crew since he’s also an Aug. 31ster. I was unbeatable on the ping pong table and saw lots of old and new friends and I smuggled Tara back in my suitcase so she’s stuck here with me now. Great trip.
2. “Luke and Brie Are on a First Date” Shoot
Making movies. It’s what I think I want to do with my life and this year I got around to doing it. I felt like I had a story to tell and I had the means to tell it and I proved to myself that that’s really all you need. That and a great group of friends to help. It’s amazing to think that Anne Walls and Matt Boese worked on this thing for free even though they didn’t even know me. Those guys are champions. And Dugan and Sean and Andy and everybody in the cast also really made it possible for me to do this and I really hope their efforts get rewarded. This movie is a huge part of me now and I am anxious for people to see it.
1. The Tripper Tour
No contest. My very first paid directing job was to travel across the country like a rock star and hang out with David Arquette while he promoted his new horror movie. I also had to film our every move and edit a little webisode for myspace every day. It was exhausting but I would never call it hard work because it was the most fun I’ve ever had. Mainly because David is such a fun, generous and optimistic person that it made the whole experience what it was. I also made great friends with Curtis Reynolds, David Holloway and Alex Arciniega as well as countless people all over the U.S. I got to be a part of a Cubs game, a Christina Aguilera concert, a big premiere in a cemetary, a couple of film festivals and horror conventions and ride in a private jet among other things I can’t even remember. You can check out our escapades at www.youtube.com/thetrippermovie and just let me set the record straight right now- the pee in video 5 is totally real.
There it is. I have goals set for 2008 but if history is any indication then I will be surprised and excited by much of what comes my way. I hope you all had a great year and made memories that’ll last as long as these will for me.