January 26th, 2017
I have long dreamed of hearing my music in a film at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. I can safely say that this last week, attending Sundance in support of not one, but three, unique films, is literally beyond my wildest dreams!
My journey to Sundance began two and a half years ago. The month my daughter was born, I realized that my career was not all I wanted it to be. My television career was at an all-time high, but my progress into in other mediums, especially film, videogames, theater, and live performance, had stalled. I partnered with Richard Kraft and Laura Engel and began pursuing every film opportunity I could. I wanted to work in new genres, to reach into both studio and independent films.
My metaphorical knuckles grew raw from knocking on every door in town. At every juncture, I could feel the weight of my television and genre reputation affecting outcomes, in both positive and negative ways. Sometimes, my reputation was an asset. When Dan Trachtenberg suggested to JJ Abrams and Bad Robot that I score his visceral thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane, my Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead credits undoubtedly helped. However, more often than not, those gritty science fiction and horror credits were not helpful in branching out to new genres.
Undeterred, I continued to press forward, searching for filmmakers willing to take a chance on me. That unlikely path led me to the visionary directors who brought me to Sundance: Jennifer Brea, with her heartbreaking documentary Unrest, Nacho Vigalondo with his unique Anne Hathaway monster movie Colossal, and Danny Strong, with his gorgeous J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye.
(Hanging with Danny Strong and Laura Engel at the most insanely awesome house I’ve ever seen!)
(Is this a hip new synth-pop duo, or me and Nacho Vigalondo at the Colossal premiere?)
(Celebrating with Jennifer Brea at the Unrest release party!)
From the moment I first stepped on to Park City’s Main Street, I found myself surrounded by creative people. Literally every person around me had an interesting story. I haven’t carried business cards in years, and regretted it for the first time, because I continually had to write down my contact info so I could pick up fascinating conversations at a later date. In addition to making new friends, I seemed to bump into old friends every other step. (I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture, but I was delighted to bump into my old friend and Europa Report director Sebastián Cordero.)
(This was my walk to a meeting. These stairs are steeper than they look!)
The weather added to the atmosphere. Park City was blanketed in a thick layer of snow, with drifts so tall I had to stand on my toes to peek over them. Snow fell almost constantly, ranging from light ethereal particles to all-consuming sheets of bright white precipitation. The gargantuan icicles and white-streaked pine trees looked like something out of a lavish Christmas movie. I was walking around on the most extravagant gingerbread cookie house ever made. Again and again, locals assured me that this was arguably the biggest snowstorm to hit the film festival in twenty years. The snow created a fog of beauty into which I felt I might dissolve.
(Hatching diabolical secret plans with Megan Kingery and Annie Roney. The world is not prepared for what we shall unleash.)
(Laura Engel and I being goofballs at the premiere of Rebel in the Rye.)
(Chatting with Teala Dunn at YouTube. I think I talked about accordions a lot. Perhaps too much.)
(Sundance Achievement Unlocked: I finally found Jason Ritter!)
The Sundance Film Festival exceeded even my very high expectations. Being surrounded by like-minded artists, filmmakers, musicians, and storytellers affected me at my core. I find myself now overwhelmed with inspiration, aspiration, exhaustion, and adrenaline. My body wants to sleep, but my spirit is already ahead of me, writing and imagining the next round of creative endeavors.
PS: Thanks to Ray Costa and Megan Kingery for some of the photos :)