While I enjoy writing these columns, not so enjoyable is staring at a blank page. That’s something I go through every week in the hope that, 800 words later, reading this will have been worth your time. (I wonder if the crossword puzzle writers feel this pressure?)
Admittedly, “Laughing Matters” gives me a chance to vent about our orange POTUS like his recent inciting 10-year-old’s at a Boy Scout Jamboree. (Later, the Boy Scouts disavowed his comments.) Frankly, I get much more pleasure lately featuring numerous Santa Monica seniors whose past and present accomplishments are nothing short of inspiring.
An example is Jerry Rosenblum, 95, a retired clothing salesman, who worked 12 years at Santa Monica’s finest men’s store of the time, Mike Caruso on Wilshire and 4th. Since retiring, Jerry has become a renowned amateur singer, a world traveler, an insatiable lecture-goer and a star student in endless courses at Emeritus College. Suffice it to say, Jerry gets as much out of each day as anyone I know.
Jule Lamm, 93 was a pilot during WW2 who became an optometrist. Remarkably, Jule still gives pro-bono eye checkups to preschoolers in Santa Monica. In the recent July 4th Main Street Parade, Jule rode in a Bugatti convertible holding a sign for “Preserve Santa Monica,” a grass-roots organization he founded to protect democracy. Jerry and Jule are examples of, as Tom Brokaw put it in his best-selling book, “The Greatest Generation.”
There are also many young people in Santa Monica from whom we can take inspiration. Two of these millennial’s I’ve chosen to write about are aspiring filmmakers and recent Samohi graduates, (Class of 2015.) They are chasing their dream and you might possibly help.
Spencer King is a writer/director and Chloe Auerbach, a junior at USC studying film among other subjects, is his producer. Both 20, the duo were born and raised in Santa Monica and hope to one day become the next Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy. (Spielberg’s role models were: Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lean and Martin Scorsese, which, if I may say so jokingly, is not a bad group. )
King and Auerbach do far more than hope. They’ve done a short film, “Seven” and two feature length films, “Black Petunia” and “Of Age.“ In New York City in August, they’re shooting their latest short film entitled, “Within.” It’s a mysterious psychological thriller/drama about a young man running from (or to?) his demons. (If you want to know how it ends, you might consider helping to fund it, but more on that later.)
The “Within” team has strong Santa Monica roots. Co-Producer, Sean McHugh and lead actor Andrew Ortenberg, were also born and raised here and graduated Samohi in 2015. (The group remind me of brothers Sean and Chris Penn, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez and Rob and Chad Lowe who went to Samohi in the 1980’s and made short films together.)
Some of the “Within” group were raised in or nearby Ocean Park, the neighborhood I’ve lived in for the past 44 years. As kids they would hang out on the beach at Lifeguard Station #26, which I did, too. This means that if I were a mere fifty years younger I might have hung out with them. (I can almost hear readers saying, “Jack, we’ve begged you to get help.)
The music for “Within” is done by Josh Cowdrey, from the rock band, “You Rest, You Joy Life,” But, in the name of full disclosure, the film will include one song by Tony Fried of the rock group “Made in Japan” is a close personal friend of mine. I only recently discovered the connection between Tony and the “Within” team. Talk about a “small world”.
The “Within” group all seem to have family in the movie and creative arts business. For example, Chloe’s parents are both filmmakers and her grandfather was a top agent at William Morris for 57 years. To its credit, the group produce their projects with their own resources and contacts and that’s where you might come in.
“Within” is being funded through Indiegogo, a website that helps filmmakers gain funding “outside the box.” The budget for “Within” is a wonderfully modest $5,000 of which they’ve already raised $3,200. (Meaning you can help put them over the top.)
Frankly, I would think it would be rewarding to be a part of a project motivated by passion and free of the cynicism. (Although, when I think of the world millennial’s are inheriting being cynical would be a mild reaction.)
Hopefully, the “Within” team’s enthusiasm and commitment have been demonstrated in these past 800 words. Actually, 800 words is my cue to say goodbye. Next week let’s meet here again, where laughing always matter. (Unless our orange POTUS goes to another Boy Scout Jamboree.)
To learn more about “Within” and hopefully participate in funding, click here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/within-a-short-film-by-spencer-king/x/16937384. If he isn’t too busy being cynical, Jack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.