Add an ENGAGING Title!
Well, that was a freebie! My blog editor starts off with a blank text box that suggests I "add an engaging title".... and that's exactly what I did!
So much to update you all on! First of all, my hiatus this year has not been for lack of creative work, it's just that I was making a secret project.... An engagement video for Cali! And she said YES! So... here's how it happened. I bought a new MacBook Pro 15", a new Canon Mirrorless DSLR (EOS M50 in White, to be different, of course). I bought a gimbal and Chris, Tomas, and myself did our best to learn how to use it in a matter of hours. I culminated the moments leading up to and including my full cross-country adventure searching for California. I re-enacted the day I left with Chris's help, re-enacted the moment I crossed the border into CA with Chris and Alberto's help, and recreated the moment Cali and I met- with Yvette and Tomas's help! I edited it all into a "preview", and at Christmas time 2018, I approached the saxophone guy Cali and I would always see playing on the corner outside the malls in Glendale- to hire him for summer 2019's proposal.
From April until June, I worked on this after Cali would be asleep or working. I rented the whole Vintage Vista Theatre in Los Angeles, right on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. I got whatever friends and family I could gather to get to the theater early and "hide in plain sight" in the crowd. I faked an old showing of "Two Lane Blacktop" (starring Dennis Wilson) with the help of an expertly Photoshopped e-mail from my brother Jim.
The day before, this special showing popped up in an "e-mail" "unexpectedly" while we ran around the track at LACC. With palm trees and a sky full of sunset as our backdrop, Cali, as always, enthusiastically agreed to go to the movie the next morning. Everything was in place.
We Ubered to the theater for an 11:15am showing, dressed up under the guise of attending my co-worker's baby shower down the street shortly after the movie. As we got out of the Uber, I stealthly grabbed my rolled-up tie and wedding ring box out of the baby shower bag, where I had hid them overnight amongst baby outfits and tissue paper. I shoved them into my dress pants pocket. We get to the ticket booth, and the worker said (as I had asked), "Free admission for today's classic movie, but hurry in, it's about to start!" He nailed that line!
Just as we walked into the right side of the theater, the house lights dimmed and the curtains on the big screen opened. The "Let's All Go to the Lobby" cartoon began to play, as we took our seats up front, just like normal. I told Cali "If there's previews, I'm going to go buy a soda". Soon, the green "preview" screen popped up, with a few Easter eggs/jokes that the drifting mind wouldn't catch upon first glance. I got my wallet and bolted up the ramp, my heart going a mile a minute. Behind me, Cali sat unknowing, watching a film that started off with familiar sounds and places from my home. In the lobby, I went to the bathroom, where Yvette had left my new, burgundy Macy's suit. I filmed a quick video to document the moment. I got a soda and talked to the staff while catching my breath, and went out to the left aisle of the theater crowd to watch the rest with Tino, Tomas, and Meghety.
And after countless hours of editing, watching emotional footage and hand-picking memories that made me cry due to overwhelming, burst-at-the-seems-kinda love... I finally got to sit back and truly Watch it. And I didn't cry. I just watched with the biggest idiot grin on my face... How f-ing awesome is this??? Hearing songs and seeing family, friends, places, trips, and moments that have MADE my life...I'm watching it unravel on the big screen in Hollywood.... our favorite date... with the girl named California up front.
As the movie ended, the house lights came up as I walked down the aisle in my new suit. Cali stood up, already crying... saying how nice that was. I said, "You always tell me you LOVE movie trailers, and I say I hate them, because they give away the whole movie. So... I figured this was a good compromise. A trailer that literally showed the WHOLE movie... except for the happy ending.. which I thought me and you could see together right now in the theater"
I told the story of her being forced to pray at night by her mom when she was a kid... so she would pray for it to rain cotton candy someday. And then, I told her I wanted to be right there beside her to see all her dreams come true.. even if it's something as silly as it raining cotton candy someday. Right on cue, friends and family threw little bags of cotton candy at her at that moment, as she turned around and realized everyone was there.
I called up the star of the movie... got on one knee and said Cali... aka California... will you marry me? And she said YES!.... and as people clapped and cheered while we hugged and kissed, the melody of "God Only Knows" began to play in the background... I whispered, "Cali... one more surprise... turn around..."
"You got the saxophone guy!?" He Played a wonderful rendition of "God Only Knows" for us.
So there you have it! My first film, my silver screen acting debut, and the product of a whole lot of amazing friends and family. Thank you SOOOO much to Yvette for pulling it all together, for playing Cali, and for just simply being the best. Thank you to Jim- who made the best photoshopped e-mail AND the highlight of the whole movie- the parody of the Journey song "Don't Stop Believing"...aka "They Don't Stop Eating"... we killed that and it only took us an hour! To Tomas, for visiting the theater to help me plan and test the Blu-Ray and for all of your filming expertise, advice, and amazing cameo... thank you. To Alberto- for taking time away from saving the world to film a silly, fun car video- like we always have an always will do... thank you so much!!!
And to Chris Moore,... my bandmate, my best friend... my biggest and only fan... This literally wouldn't have happened without you. I had two days left to film in April on a particularly rainy week. I had new equipment I had NO IDEA how to use. I gave up. And you stayed and kept texting me and calling until I got over it and we hit the ground running. That footage we got that first night was EVERYTHING... and your film work, acting, ideas, and motivation were what let this all come to be. Thank you forever.
And to my mom, who believed in me and supported everything and helped fund so much....and my dad, who gave me that amazing studio we built...amazing love of music, and ability to dream. This was one of the BEST moments in my life, and I can't believe it all happened. My friend Tino, after he saw it all, said, "man... it's official. Love is real."
Thank you to my fiancé California... we will ALWAYS go on dates. We will always travel and make memories and dance and have fun.
Whether you're my fiancé, or even when you're my wife...
You'll ALWAYS be my girlfriend. You make me believe in love, and I won't stop believing ;)