2021 was a challenging year for all of us with the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and the havoc it created in our lives. As we end our second year living with the pandemic, I look back at a year that once again was filled with both challenges and triumphs.
Despite all the challenges, there’s been a lot of good happening in the world. Over 8 billion Covid-19 vaccinations were administered around the world. These vaccines have saved countless lives and will likely make this disease one we can live with, much like the common flu, rather than the deadly scourge that it has been thus far. A new HIV vaccine has shown incredible results in early trials. Philanthropic efforts continue to grow after reaching record highs last year. China eliminated Malaria and the World Health Organization is working to rid more countries from this horrible disease. Work by thousands of people in the Netherlands has helped bee populations remain stable. NASA made oxygen on Mars and launched the James Webb telescope was launched. More electric vehicles were sold in Europe than diesel fueled cars for the first time ever. Renewable energy generation reached all-time highs. The global economy is recovering from the effects of last year’s shutdowns and the ongoing pandemic. The world is generally heading towards some sense of post-pandemic normalcy.
Looking inward, while two of my nephews & a cousin had Covid, I’m grateful all three had mild cases and have made full recoveries and the rest of my near and extended family have stayed healthy. We’ve all been vaccinated (or fullinated as Zach likes to say. According to him when you get the first shot, you’re halfcinated, when you get the 2nd you’re vaccinated and two weeks later as it takes full effect you’re fullinated. And now people are getting boostinated, too).
In February for my birthday, I decided that the best gift I could get was to give. Inspired by my friend Paul Leonard Morgan who does an annual fundraiser, I decided to do a fundraiser walk to support Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, a place that has done a lot for our son, Ethan, not to mention the thousands of other children and families who deal with much more serious medical challenges than we do. I was able to secure sponsors who offered cash donations and/or offer products to be raffled among donors including AVID, Bandana Doods, Budapest Scoring, Cinesamples, Extreme Music, Hilary Blaha, LA Percussion & Backline Rentals, Lumos PR, Megatrax, Orchestral Tools, Soundiron and The Amazonic. My plan was to walk 11 miles (in honor of my 11 year old Ethan) and raise $1,000 per mile. Thanks to the generosity of nearly 200 donors we raised $16,000 and I walked 16 miles instead.
During remote learning due to the pandemic, we discovered that Ethan liked remote learning and it suited his style of learning quite well. With his unique needs as a twice exceptional child, he switched to home schooling and has been thriving. We’ve built an entire support team around him to help him with his unique challenges since he’s on the autism spectrum and he’s come a long way this past year and is thriving. My wife, Sheri, has done an incredible job researching different things and finding him classes and services that meet his unique needs. Zach got back to in-person learning and started playing soccer, which he’s enjoying and is doing very well in both. The boys also started riding horses, which Ethan particularly enjoys.
In May I took Ethan to Yosemite for a weekend to celebrate his birthday and achieving a goal he’s been working on for years. It was the first time at the park for both of us. The majesty of nature was transcendent. Spending 4 days one-on-one with Ethan was magic. We made memories to last a lifetime.
One unexpected surprise came in late July when our landlord informed us that she intends to sell the house we were renting and so we were forced to move. As you know the housing market is quite challenging right now and there were only 4 suitable and affordable homes available for rent in the entire Santa Clarita Valley where we live. Thankfully, we were able to secure a lovely house that is even closer to Zach’s school so he can now walk to school, and we moved in August just a few days before Zach started the new school year. Once again Sheri was the hero doing the majority of the work since I was slammed with work. It also didn’t help that I had fractured my wrist and was wearing a brace at the time. But we got through it and are settled into the new home.
Professionally it has been the busiest year of my career, so much so that I realize I didn’t add any new blog posts at all in 2021. I continued my work with Christopher Drake on season 2 of Creepshow for Shudder and we finished season 2 and went straight on to do season 3. I was asked to music edit Mary J. Blige’s My Life musical documentary for Amazon with director Vanessa Roth, who I have wanted to work with for over a decade and composer Mervyn Warren. I was music editor on all 13 episodes of season 2 of Stargirl continuing my collaboration with composer Pinar Toprak and the best music team in television. I also music edited the remaining Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology of films Bingo Hell & Black as Night, which premiered on Amazon in time for Halloween along with The Manor & Madres, which I had worked on last year.
Thanks to Mervyn Warren, I had the opportunity to virtually meet the one and only Quincy Jones on an indie feature called Lola James, which Merv is scoring with Q executive producing the score. Thanks to my work on the Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology series, I was asked to music edit a series of films they were making for Epix. I was too busy to do the first two in the series but did help out a little bit on the first one – A House on the Bayou, which premiered on November 19th. I did, however, do films 3 & 4, Unhuman and Torn Hearts, which are both scheduled to premiere on Epix next year and I’m scheduled to do 4 more later next year. In addition, I started work on season 3 of Stargirl and I also worked on 3 more feature films & a AAA video game that I’m afraid I cannot reveal yet but can’t wait to share with the world.
And if this abundance of work isn’t enough, I also scored several short films this year. Continuing my collaboration with director/producer Joe Ferro, I scored his short My Name is Mary, which premiered at the Culver City Film Festival earlier this month. I also scored the short documentary Legacy: The Life of Canto Robledo, which Joe produced, and Jason Peguero directed. Legacy and Choices, another Joe Ferro short that I scored last year, are both due to have their film-festival premieres in February. My dear friend Alexandra Fehrman, who is a great Emmy nominated re-recording mixer directed her first short film Untwined, which I scored. The film has been making its way through the film festival circuit and has already won several awards including for the score. Working with the talented Leo Pfiefer, I scored two short documentaries he made. One Day You’ll Go Blind tells the amazing story of skateboarder Justin Bishop is set to premiere on January 19th, and Body Language: Bill Shannon (which you can watch by clicking the link) is a fascinated glimpse at Pittsburgh-based artist Bill Shannon’s work who’s singular style of dance combines choreography and skateboarding with rocker-bottom crutches. I’m also so proud of Leo, who’s short documentary Haven in the Booth, which I scored last year won a Telly Award. You can watch the film by clicking the link. I also scored a short film made for IATSE looking at the union movement and the film Norma Rae, which is yet to be released. And finally, in addition to these short films I also got to write 3 demos for Soundiron sample libraries (Hapi Drums, Hyperion Brass Elements, and Los Andes Pan Flutes).
As you can see it’s been an amazing year despite the challenges that we all face with the ongoing pandemic as well as personal ones. I’m extremely grateful for all that I have and have decided that with my birthday coming up in February I will once again do a fundraiser walk, this time for TACA, The Autism Community in Action. Aiming for 15 miles/$15K this time around and started walking again to get back in shape. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to report that I’ve me this goal or surpassed it.
Wishing you and yours all the best in 2022. I will repeat the wish I offered last year and have used often, may this year be the best you’ve ever had, but not as good as the years to follow.