Author Archive for D Crary – Page 3

People let me tell ya

Austin and I have known each other since we were 7 years old. We met while out riding bikes in my neighborhood, where his grandma happened to live. We just ran into each other, and started talking. He came over and played later that day, and the rest is history.

For the last 17 years, I have had a friend like none other in Austin. Though there were ups and downs, hard times and hurt feelings, we are still friends after all these years. Best friends, in point of fact.

Austin is going to be my best man at my wedding. Some people would think of that as the pinnacle of a friendship. I see it as the latest, greatest moment in a long line of great memories. A Moment in time, that I will remember for ever. But, the greatest moment of our friendship? To quote Sinatra, “The Best is Yet to Come.”

It was not a surprise that I would have a blog with Austin. And writing with him and Clark every week, has kept us closer as friends, though we are hundreds of miles apart. And as I start my life as a married man, and Austin begins to navigate the post grad world, we are going to need each other more than ever.

All this to say, I love this guy. He’ll be giving a toast at my wedding, but here is mine for him.

Thank you for being my closest friend, my oldest chum, and the only brother I ever had.

Cheers, buddy

-DC

Sorry/Grateful

A lot has been going on in my life this summer. Wedding planning, planning new creative endeavors, training for a race, and my 24th birthday. Along with new work opportunities, moving and finding a new apartment, I’ve been busy. But, through all the stress and chaos, I have come to appreciate my friends and family, more than ever.

I have been terrible at calling people back. Picking up extra work and planning details of a honey moon and wedding has made me impossible to get a hold of. But, my friends understand. They text me short questions and tell me its no big deal. I have had to cancel on people more than ever, and even at the last minute, the level of understanding I have received from people is beyond charitable.

And while I have been distracted and unavailable, my friends and family have been doing more for me than ever.

My older sister surprised me with floor seats to see Billy Joel for my birthday, which was a life changing event. My fiancé planned a surprise birthday party for me, which was a blast. The men from my community church group through me a bachelor party, from which I am still recovering. My co-workers have covered for me, and wished me well before I fly back to Montana. And my family has been helping with wedding details and logistics, which is a total life saver.

I am blown away by the support that I have received from my parents to one time co-workers, and everyone in between. I feel as though I finally have a strong support system in New York, and my friendships back home are as strong as ever.

I have never been this stressed, having a lot of big life changes happening in rapid succession, but I have never been this grateful either.

Courtney, Austin, Clark, Adair, Alyson, Ashley, Mom, Dad, and so many others, thank you all truly, and deeply.

I hope I can pay it forward to each and everyone of you going forward. But not out of some sense of obligation. I can’t wait for the day I can be a great friend to you, because you are all great people who deserve great friends. I just hope I’m half as good at it as you are.

-DC

Mud and Blood

Last Saturday, at a Motocross park South of Washington DC, over 700 people ran a 4 mile Spartan Sprint. This is the entry level Spartan. It is the shortest course, with only 15 obstacles. But even though it was the “easiest” Spartan Race, no one finished in less than 55 minutes.

That’s over a 13 minute mile average. Not bad for a 26 mile marathon, but for a four mile race? Obviously, this was not easy.

This race was a challenge unlike anything I have ever done. I haven’t played sports in years, I have never owned a gym membership, and I have never run any sort of race. So, as the buzzer went off, I was freaking out.

In the first mile, I ran through mud pits, crawled under barbed wire, climbed up hills, carried a 50 lbs sand bag, and had a rotted tree break over my head. I was bleeding from cuts on my back and knees. My shorts were waterlogged with pounds of mud. I was dehydrating quickly. And most of all, I was grinning like an idiot.

With my sister by my side, and scores of friendly fellow spartans, ready to help each over walls and cheer each other on, the race felt more like a family reunion than a cutthroat competition. And though the camaraderie lifted us all along the way, I found myself alone in the forest of Maryland for a few long stretches. And in those moments , I was hoping I would have some brilliant moment of clarity. Some big moment to go along with the big challenge.

 But, honestly, I just enjoyed myself, blood, mud, and all. Which was sort of my take away from this whole experience. It was fun. I set out to do something I didn’t think that I could do, and I did it. Laughing, cheering, swearing, and spitting up mud while I did it.

The challenge was immense, the company fantastic, and the dirt was everywhere. And I will be doing a 4 mile and an 8 mile next year.

-DC

I’ve made a huge mistake?

I don’t like running. I hate it, in fact. When I was a kid, I had pretty bad asthma, and so I never could run more than 100 yards before I couldn’t breathe worth a damn. So, I didn’t run much as a kid. As an adult, I find every reason in the world not to work out. And right now, I am on my way to DC to do a Spartan Race.

A Spartan Race is a 4-13 race with 15-30 obstacles. Rope courses, razor wire, weight pulls, log jumps and more, all as quickly as possible. And I am willingly doing this, having never run a race in my life.

Why?

At the end of May, a friend asked me if I would run a Spartan Race with them. I laughed for too long and said no. I hadn’t worked out once since January, and while my friend tried to convince me that I was in good shape, I knew that I had been eating too many nachos at the bar to be able to compete. But, I was surprisingly disappointed. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.

 I like pushing myself.  And this race would not leave my mind. On some deep level, I loved the idea of doing some totally unnecessary physical challenge. It spoke to my inner warrior, who I thought only came out on hunting trips and at Superhero movie. I was haunted by some idiotic vision of me, covered in mud, grunting, and bursting through the finish line.

 I found another race in DC, where my older sister lives. And I decided, that I had to do this.

It a very long  “sorry if you die” waver attached. But, despite my better judgement, and having trained less than half as much as I should have, I still know that I needed to do this race.

Maybe tomorrow, I will break my leg, pull my shoulder, or pass out from exhaustion. But, I think that if I hadn’t forced myself to take this challenge, I would have regretted it.

So, wish me luck tomorrow and look for my results post next week.

-DC

And one for Elaine

On Thursday, at the age of 89, acting great Elaine Stritch died.

I first came to know Elaine Stritch as the hilarious Colleen Donaghy (Alec Baldwin’s Mother) on 30 Rock, the NBC comedy staring Tina Fey. She was truly  hilarious. Like Betty White, but more New York, more biting, and more of an alcoholic. She made me laugh so hard, from her short initial appearance on this show, that I decided to look her up, and see what else this funny old lady had done.

I soon realized, Elaine Stritch had lived the kind of life I had dreamed of living.

In looking her up, I found that I was watching a living legend. As prolific as  Angela Lansberry, and as influential as Gene Kelly, Elaine Stritch was show business personified. With four Tony nominations and one win, 8 Emmy noms and three wins, in a career that spanned seven decades, it is safe to say she was a pro.

I find her inspiring as an actor. But, there is much we can all take away from Miss Stritch, no matter your profession.

Elaine cut the bull shit. And in the acting world, this is a rare thing, indeed. She once told James Gandolfini she loved she work, and he said thanks and turned away without even making eye contact with her. Once his back was turned she said, “don’t you condescend to me, you son of a bitch.” He snapped around, and they became friends from that moment on.

She was always honest, even with her self. In this video, you can see just how hard on herself she was. But, it lead to a better product. Through her tough as nails, no holds bared working attitude, she got better and better at her craft, and left a theatrical legacy.

I say legacy, because she is being remembered by everyone from David Lettermen to Tina Fey. People across the country are having parties to watch her film and television productions in remembrance of her and her body of work.

I don’t want to be just like Elaine Stritch. She could be rude, dramatic, and at times difficult to work with because of how head strong she was. She was unflinching, and refused to change for anything.

I admire her for being herself. But, I want to be myself.

A performer I admire is gone. I know she will be missed by her fans and loved ones. I wanted to share a little context of her passing, because I think we could all stand to be a little less afraid, a little more brutally honest, a little more like Elaine.

Opening Doors

A few weeks ago, I was standing on the roof of my fiancé’s apartment building when I noticed one of her neighbors smoking nearby. He was sketching in a note pad, taking pulls from a beer between page turns. Pretty typical scene in New York City, but something about his shirt caught my eye. It had the symbol for a lesser known comic book hero on it. So, I told him I liked it and we got to talking.

Matt, as I came to know him, and I ended up discussing every area of visual media. We have a lot of shared interests, and he even introduced me to comics and movies that were previously off my radar.  This is how I my met my most recent collaborator.

It the entertainment industry, you have to constantly pitch your ideas to potential collaborators to get them interested. An “elevator pitch,” is a 30 second, bare-bones breakdown of a script or idea. It’s short, sweet, and tells you all the basic information in a neat little package. But, sometimes a pitch can be longer. Sometimes it can be too long.

That night I gave Matt a 20 minute pitch for a comic book I am writing. I told him details and plot twists I haven’t told anyone else, and he listened. No, actually, he got really excited and and kept saying “That’s awesome!” By the end of the night, we had talked for two and a half hours, and I had emailed him outlines of the story and character breakdowns.

So, what can you learn from my rooftop conversation?

Three things. #1: Talk to strangers. You never know, you might make a friend.  #2: Share your passion with people. If I have learned one thing in the year since we launched Gold in Them Hills, it’s that I work best when I share with collaborators. Not only do I produce more regularly, but their feedback makes me so much better. #3: Rules are meant to be broken. If I had given Matt the standard elevator pitch, he may have listened politely for twenty seconds before returning to his cigarette. Instead, I took a risk and trusted a stranger with a part of myself. Thankfully,  it ended really well, and I now have a friend and collaborator.

So, be on the lookout for projects from Matt and I, and keep sharing your passions with as many people as possible. You never know who might say “No Way! Me too!”

 -DC

Happy Independence Day

We here at Gold in them Hills would like to wish you all a happy Independence Day!
Let us give thanks for our country  and remember the sacrifices made by those 56 signers, who risked their lives so that ours might free.

-Austin, Clark and Daniel

Where is the life that late I lead?

You can’t get something for nothing. Everything in your life will require you to give up on something else. You will have to forgo some wants for others. And if you have a dream, you will have to give up a lot.  Leaving behind your home, your friends, or even the person you were, these are sacrifices you just might have to make in order to chase your dreams.  But sometimes, you miss what you had.

I live in a city of 8.3 million. And of those 8.3 million, 5 are my friends.

This sounds bleak, but when you remove coworkers, relatives, and my fiancé, I don’t know a lot of people here. It is difficult to meet up with them and do anything because of the nature of transportation and scheduling in the city.

Life here is hard, and anyone who say otherwise is rich or lying.

I’m not trying to get pity or sympathy. This isn’t a cry for help from a lonely man. It’s just hard facts. I made a sacrifice to be here. I moved from a place I had been my entire life, and consequently I left my whole life behind. I went from friends by the dozens all a phone call and a 5 minute drive away, to a place where I really don’t know anyone. And what did I get for it?

Opportunity.

I’ve written about it before, but I have a chance here to make my dreams come true. Things I have longed for my entire life that never had a prayer in Montana, could really happen here.  I am in a city that is home to Marvel comics, Random House, and The Metropolitan Opera House. Where most of my favorite actors perform, and where countless films and TV shows are made. My fantasies are all very real here. But, I am not a part of this yet.

I traded the “sure thing” for the “could be.” I left safety and comfort for a new life. And while I do miss my old life, it never excited me. It didn’t challenge me like this new life has. And this new chapter is only just beginning.

While I look back with fondness, I look forward with boldness.  I left Montana and my family and friends to become an entertainer. I made the trade, and now I need to make sure I get my money’s worth.

-DC

Get me to the church on time

I’m getting married in August. It is a very complicated affair.  This isn’t because we are having some lavished, impressive festival of matrimony. It’s because weddings are complicated, detailed events. This is nothing new. Hell, it’s a cliche. But, the planning process has been a bit easier for me and my fiancé than for some, due to one distinct advantage.

We work in theater.

If you think about, a wedding party isn’t that far off from a cast in a show. Everyone has a role to play in the ceremony, same as a troupe of actors. There are directions to be followed, staging, music and lines to be recited. The “production” has a message and a purpose, like a good play should.

There are also the logistical parallels. Negotiating contracts and assigning duties for our wedding has caused me to flashback to an independent production I produced a few years ago. I was co-starring and coordinating all the logistics and details. From cast and crew, to the director and the venue, I was in charge. At the time, I was stressed out and challenged every day and going crazy under the pressure to make sure the show turned out.

That show turned out to be one of on of the greatest experiences of my life. And it all came together because I cashed in every favor I could. I had help from friends and colleagues, and the support of my family and teachers. I was able to do something fun, exciting, and life changing not because I am some great artist, but because I had great collaborators.

Here I am, preparing the script, not for a play, but for one of the most important days of my life. My bride to be is “costuming” and “stage managing” the show to great success. And all the people in my life who really matter, are asking how they can help. We have been reached out to and supported as a couple for years. But, just like the independent show I produced, my wedding is shaping up to be a lot of favor asking, and the resounding answer is “of course! How can I help?”

Theatre works best when it is a collaboration. People working together to do something they think is important. My hope is that my wedding, and in turn, my marriage will strive to do the same thing.

-DC

Risky business

I have a friend who owns his own business. He’s a commodities broker. And while the futures markets are not really like acting, or writing, or bar tending, my friend has given me some pretty damn good advice over the years. But chief among them are his thoughts on risk.

“Some people have a high threshold for risk, and some people don’t. But, everyone has it.”

In markets of any kind, there is risk. In market economies, people have to manage their risk where they can and whether it when they have to. Life works sort of the same way. You might invest your money in a product that never takes off, or you might get hurt by someone you love. Life is one giant risk. Knowing this, why not go for your dreams?

I wanted to risk my money and time on auditions in far off places. My chances of success are slim, and I am taking years out of my life that could be spend in a safer line of work. I am risking my future and my happiness on a chance and a prayer. And as terrifying as this is, playing it safe would only hold me back from ever reaching my goal.

Risk, as my friend once said, is all around. But, once you see it, and respect it as a constant, you no longer have to feel afraid of it. It’s going to be there weather you are tip toeing around it or knocking it over. Life is scary, but playing it safe doesn’t make it any less terrifying.

I’ll keep auditioning, and working crappy jobs, and better what little money I have on a career that might never turn out. I want to live a life where I chase my dreams, and all the peril that comes with it. I chose to take the risks.

-DC