The Beginning of the End

I’m hoping the story below is not the last I write on this site but if it’s the beginning of the end, so be it. This was a hell of a ride and a chapter of my life that I’ll never forget. Thank you to all that supported me and guided me on this path. I hope I inspired a few people to be more than they thought they could be. Salud to those that did.

These steps as well as writing this post recently led to the completion of my work. I couldn’t take being in purgatory for another minute so I struck an agreement with my inner-self; I’d start fresh or end here. I’m also glad I chose this site as my medium. It’s the perfect sanctuary for my words and my work to lay at peace until the end of time, or at least until I stop paying GoDaddy for this domain.

My core purpose as a creator has always been –

To create, not for my own ego, but for the positive impact my work can have on others.

The sentence above is really what caused so many issues. The idea of creating something for myself has always fucked me up and well this video, it’s for me.

I’m now realizing that I was just scared and I took the easy way out as a creator. Admittedly, I’ve always tried to take on projects that impress people and the flame that fuels my ego is the love and positive feedback from my friends and family.

It’s a lot more difficult to create something that people can hate.

The title of this video is “Voicemails”, I knew that from the start. The original idea came from one of my favorite professors at Syracuse, Sean Branagan. He taught an Entrepreneurial class and is one of the people I was excited to share the creation of F.A.M with. As a student, and a pretty shit one, I listened to and respected the things he said because of his character or at least the character I painted in my mind.

He has this tri-state blue collar look and feel to him. Picture Arty Bucco running a business management class at Rutgers University if Tony didn’t fuck up his life. Someone who I don’t struggle to listen to.

Anyway, with what was most likely imaginary Italian American enthusiasm he told the class, “Don’t worry about sharing your business ideas with people because it takes a lot more than a good idea to create a business.” His point was, no one will steal your IP because it takes grit, passion, and guts to turn this idea into a business. It then takes insanity to make it work.

Your probably thinking, what about Uncle Zuck and Facebook. Well that dude was clearly very fucking passionate and possessed the engineering skills to create a social network. Or at least Jesse Eisenberg mixed with Aaron Sorkin’s witty writing made me believe he was both passionate and a verbal magician.

Back to Syracuse University on a frigid winter night. To prove his point Professor Branagan took out his phone and said something like, “Voicemails, you can make a million bucks saving these and turning them into memories for people.” Now I’m just paraphrasing here but hopefully you get the point. You make a business around capturing someone’s emotions or memories and make a profit on it. Some guy named Walt is pretty damn good at it.

So I’m a prick and thought I could steal his idea. After all, my core purpose is not egotistical at all right? The 6″ devil on my left shoulder, looks at me and says “YEAH.”

That night I went back to my apartment and downloaded over 10 minutes of voicemails from my phone. I quickly discovered that I had two themes of messages. Drunken calls from my friends and my grandmother checking in on me and telling me she loved me.

At this point in time, I had no idea how lucky I was to save these messages. When you’re in college and you’re a prick, you don’t have time to talk grandma so the voicemails pile up. If you did, you’re a great person and you should be proud of yourself for taking the time out of your social life to do so.  

I did pick up on something. That is, my grandmother was leaving voicemails less and less frequently. I started to call her more and discovered that my she was sick and wasn’t herself. She had dementia. The voicemails eventually stopped even years before she passed away.

The last few times I saw her she wasn’t the grandma I grew up with and who I have memories of. But these voicemails, she lives through them, the grandma that I know. And I’m so fucking happy that I kept these. I actually made sure to save them and back them up in multiple files at the time. Thank you Professor Branagan and thank you ego and overactive imagination.

The voicemails that I’m sharing in my project below are from my grandma, not that grandma that dementia took from this world. The grandma that brought me to many parks, playgrounds, and stores. The grandma that would call me A LOT and didn’t get enough attention from me in college.

This video is very personal, it makes me upset but it almost makes me very happy. And it’s my first attempt at creating something for me. It’s something my grandmother would have wanted. For me to be selfish and not seek out friendly critiques.

It’s finished at least for now and I dedicate to my grandma. The grandma that makes me think of sunflowers, Toys R Us, and this quote

“We didn’t have much, but we always knew how to laugh.” 

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