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Monday
Feb172014

"Michael Had Other Plans" and "The Show Must Go On"

     Between celebrating the holidays and the birth of my newest niece and nephew (twins!); moving back into Manhattan; and starting a new job... the past two and a half months have absolutely flown by. I was shocked to see that so much time had passed since my last blog post.  The perfectionist in me is disappointed that I haven't stuck to my plan for writing every other week.  However, the realist in me is letting the perfectionist off the hook. Quite frankly, writing blog posts has not been a priority of mine recently, and I'm actually happy I haven't forced thoughtless posts simply for the sake of writing on a schedule. I've justified my procrastination as a display of patience, and a deliberate hesitation in wait for that "natural moment" to draw me back to the blog.        

     I found this "natural moment" on Saturday night. Yes, a wild Saturday night in Manhattan... in my apartment watching a movie on my Apple TV.  After pre-ordering the movie on iTunes, and receiving it this week... Saturday night was the night I'd been waiting for!  The movie was written, produced, and directed by a great friend of mine who also stars in the film!  I have long awaited it's release, and after finally getting to see the finished product... I felt the spark for my return to the blog!

     Even though he is 6'2, I've always thought of Michael Doneger "like a little brother to me." My friendship with Michael, his older brothers, and his wonderful family has been growing strong for 16 years, and after watching his movie, I am absolutely beaming with pride.  On Saturday night, I watched Michael's first feature length film, "This Thing with Sarah." The film was fantastic.  Michael had me laughing constantly and deeply engaged the entire film.  His casual dialogue and comedic timing was perfect, and I had to stop every now and then to remind myself that it was just "Mikey D" on the tv.  The whole cast and production team did an amazing job, and I would strongly encourage you to watch this must-see film (available now on iTunes by the way!).  Even more amazing than the fictional story Michael tells on the screen is the real-life story about how he got where he is today. I hope his story inspires you as it does for me.

     Michael was an All-American lacrosse player in high school and went on to win 2 National Championships at Johns Hopkins.  The expectation would have been for him to move to NYC when he graduated, and get a job on Wall Street or in real estate, but Michael had other plans.  "Michael had other plans" is such an easy phrase to say, but having other plans and sticking to them is anything but easy when those plans go against the norm... when most people consider those plans to be living in a dream world. After taking a stand-up comedy course freshman year in college Michael decided to study writing and acting.  He fell in love with the art, the practice, and the challenge, and he made the very bold decision to pursue writing and acting as a career. Cynics often contributed their two cents, and people usually laughed at the idea, but with the love and support of his family and friends, Michael moved to LA to follow his dream.

     Michael threw himself right into the acting/auditioning scene, but continued to study and learn other elements of film making.  He energetically created opportunities for himself, and in 2010/2011 he produced a commercial and entered it in the Pepsi Max Crash the Super Bowl Contest.  While Michael's commercial did not end up taking home 1st prize... he finished in the top 10 out of 6,000 entrants. He made a nice cash bonus for his work, and got a free trip to the Big Game!

     Instead of getting complacent, Michael got creative.  He made the decision to invest his earnings from the contest into making a full feature length film.  People continued to think Michael was crazy (or stupid)... except for those who truly knew his passion, his discipline, and his talent.  He learned on the fly, budgeted wisely, and managed to write, act in, and direct a spectacular film.  I understand the film shot in about 15 days, but this project was in the making for years. It was featured at multiple independent film festivals in 2013, picked up for distribution, and released last week!   

     I want to congratulate Michael on his success thus far, and I want to applaud his perseverance, confidence, and courage.  Michael has figured out what it takes to survive in a brutally competitive and harsh industry. Furthermore, he has displayed the guts needed to take the road less traveled.  He continues to swim upstream, going against the grain, and making believers out of non-believers.  Michael is a great inspiration for anyone who wants to try something different... something "crazy." Whether it's a career decision, a physical challenge, or conquering a basic fear... Michael shows us that it IS worth trying.  Weaker minds would have given up a long time ago, but Michael continues to grind, and he will enjoy the sweetest kind of success.  He has earned every bit of his success thus far, and for Michael, "the show must go on."  Please download his movie, This Thing with Sarah, enjoy the story, and keep your eye out for his next great work... filming Spring 2014!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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