#43 – 2015 Year in Review

I don’t really know how I feel about 2015. I experienced several big life events, both positive and negative, which only occur once in a lifetime that give me mixed feelings. It was definitely the most emotional year of my life, and the most balanced year. In previous posts I expressed that I wanted to find more of a personal and professional balance. I think I found it after a very taxing and rewarding year. Below is my annual list of “Stupid Shit I Did” and “Things I’m Proud Of” from the year past.

Stupid Shit I Did

  • Turned down an opportunity to work with Scooter Braun

For some reason I have had the opportunity to work with some notable people in the music industry. I never seeked the opportunities, but there is a crossover between music and television, so it makes sense. But this past April I was approached by Dick Clark Productions to work on a project with Scooter Braun and his artist Tori Kelly at the Billboard Music Awards. At the time, her singles were all over the radio. I turned down the gig for a few reasons. The money was crap and I wanted to get some of my own projects off the ground. I felt it was better if I didn’t go to Las Vegas for a couple weeks, because I had just spent a week out there working on a project with Floyd Mayweather. Looking back now, I probably should’ve just sucked it up, because it was only a four week gig and it’s not often you get to work with a guy who shapes musical trends like Scooter Braun. The fact that Tori Kelly was nominated for Best New Artist at the upcoming 2016 Grammy’s makes it sting a little bit more as well. Who knew I was dumber than Justin Bieber?

  • Spent a week in Las Vegas with the Mayweather family

This was actually one of the coolest things I did this year. Someone associated with the Mayweather family invited me to Las Vegas because they wanted to develop a TV show idea for them. Their invitation just so happened to coincide with the boxing match of the century, Mayweather versus Pacquiao. I spent the first week of training camp with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I was in his corner while he first got in the ring with sparring partners. I stood literally inches away with Sisqo and Richard Sherman as we watched Mayweather knock fools out and then do a jump rope floor routine to the songs of Neil Diamond. It was majical. It was like being behind the batting cage while Babe Ruth took batting practice before the World Series or being under the basket while Michael Jordan took part in a shoot-around before the NBA Finals. I was lucky to be granted access into the inner circle, but I did nothing with the opportunity. It wasn’t their fault and it wasn’t my fault why the show idea didn’t have any traction, but I am sure disappointed that nothing resulted from it other than just a fun week.

 

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Ring side in the Mayweather gym.

  • Didn’t travel more

I made seven trips to Las Vegas, one trip to San Luis Obispo, and numerous trips to San Diego, but other than that I was in Los Angeles the rest of the time. I felt like I lived in airports in 2014, so this was quite a different year. I had plans to go to Atlanta, New York and Hawaii, all of which fell through because of work priorities. And I turned down jobs that would’ve taken me to Miami and New Orleans for long periods of time, so it’s really my fault that I didn’t see more of the world. I am already attempting to remedy this by scheduling Hawaii in March 2016.

Things I’m Proud Of

  • Met my future wife

I never thought I would meet a woman who understands my peculiarities, makes me a better person, and shares similar interests to the point where she is also my best friend. We met on December 2, 2014 and it took us until January 6 to come to terms with the connection we both felt. Since then we have spent pretty much every day with each other. In March we decided to move in together and on May 9 that’s exactly what we did. Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is one of those things that you only experience once in life and I am beyond belief that it happened this year, and that I wasn’t afraid to pursue love.

Us in Vegas

My favorite picture of us.

  • Got a development deal for a TV show

I spent the good portion of 2014 creating and developing an idea with my comedian buddies Josh Nasar and Jamar Neighbors. We pitched a few production companies and networks and then I put the idea out of my mind to move on to creating more. One of the production companies came back to us and offered us a deal. I am thrilled to see what this deal will bring us, because this company is one that I never imagined would want to work with me on an original idea. I owe much of this success to Josh and Jamar because we all bring our own crazy that wouldn’t have led to success if one of us wasn’t a part of the process.

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Josh, Joshua, Jamar, Jon, and Jake. We ran into Jon & Jake at Viacom when we were pitching MTV and they were pitching Comedy Central.

  • Helped my Mom mourn

My Mom lost her husband to cancer while she was also dealing with her own cancer diagnosis. She dealt with loss, sadness and so many other things. She dealt with it all like a champion while she tried to find some sort of peace. I was there for her when I could be and I don’t know anyone who deserves a more fruitful 2016 than what 2015 brought her.

 

Mom Zoe Me

There were many trips to SD this year to spend time with family.

  • Worked on 5 TV shows

I am simply amazed that I continue to work on multiple shows every year. I know I have talent, but it is truly difficult to have a sustainable career in television, because it’s such a fickle business. It’s extremely validating every time someone recognizes the belief I have in myself. Here are the five shows I worked on this year. All of which were either pilots or first year shows.

  1. I Can Do That (NBC)

I started this show at the end of 2014 and it led into 2015. The show premiered well and did wonders for comedian and friend Jeff Dye who you will be seeing again later on this year on another fun NBC show.

  1. Love At First Kiss (VH1)

This was a pilot for VH1. It was my second dating show after “Baggage on the Road” in 2014. Baggage was more of a game show and this had more emphasis on the relationship. I worked with the producers of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” and got to experience how that monstrosity of a show operates. This experience most definitely expanded my knowledge base and I was happy to see that the show got picked up for series.

  1. Eat It To Beat It (CMT)

After a 2014-filled year of working on game shows, this was the only one I did in 2015. I got to experience what it’s like to work on a show from the ground up literally by creating the format, developing the challenges, working with the host, writing the script, and casting the contestants. It was a pilot, so who knows if it will get picked up? But I definitely learned some things by working with some people who have been in the business twice as long as me.

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Oh you know, just a typical day at work testing out challenges.

  1. The Commune (NBC)

I spent just a few weeks on this pilot that was contingent upon a cast. I think it’s supposed to shoot in early 2016, so I can’t wait to see if the vision came through.

  1. My Lottery Dream Home (HGTV)

In May this show came to me out of necessity. I turned down moving to Miami for three months to work on “Storage Wars Miami,” because my stepdad’s cancer came back and his prognosis was not good. I felt I needed to stay in Los Angeles, which is significantly closer than Miami to San Diego where my family is located. My stepdad died fourth of July weekend, one month into this job. I originally got this job because the Line Producer from “Storage Wars” recommended me to her friend on this show even though she had never worked with me. She felt bad when I explained to her why I couldn’t take her job offer. I couldn’t believe she was so nice to do that. This show ended up teaching me things I never imagined. It taught me that sometimes the simplest act can result in the biggest reward. This show allowed me to see how much patience I truly do have. And this show allowed me to revisit some of my journalistic research skills, because I was in search of some very sharp needles in the biggest haystack imaginable. I also got to work with some very smart people I had never worked with before and in turn give opportunity to some old friends I hadn’t worked with in a while. The show premieres January 1, 2016 on HGTV, and I will definitely be watching the results of my blood, sweat, and tears.

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Some of the team that made MLDH a success.

  • Building my brand

I bought a bunch of equipment to start a podcast in 2016. I am not a tech wizard when it comes to equipment. I’m a writer and producer and work with thoughts and vision. I know what I am good at. But I know that if I want to reach new levels I have to learn how to do stuff that makes me uncomfortable, so I researched podcast equipment, purchased the domain, and have been developing my format so that I can continue to showcase my passion in new and creative ways. I am proud of what I have done thus far, and in asking others for help, which I hate to do, I have learned that I have a large support system of people willing to help me out. I can’t wait to showcase this idea, the other things I’m proud of and even all the stupid shit I do in 2016.

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