~A look back, according to Mandy~
I gotta say, being a part of the Fiesta Movement has been one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. I've met hundreds of talented, creative people, and just meeting these folks has fueled my own creativity in a way I never imagined.
At the end of April, we have to give our Fiesta back to Ford, and I'm trying to come to terms with our impending loss. I started compiling all the incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experiences I've had in the past year for a "good-bye" post, and while reminiscing, I realized something lovely.
I live a pretty amazing life.
I also realized I have to remember that and reflect on it more often. I'm too apt to focus on bummer days instead of brighter days. Today, I'm focusing on brighter days.
Here are just a few of the awesome things I got to do these last 12 months (links to videos are in blue):
~ Searched for (and found) the largest waterfall in MI, and survived in the wilderness for 3 days, Survivorman style.
~ Did a short documentary/music video on setting my Honda Element free into the wild. (I had to. It was time to nudge 'er outta the nest. Let 'er stretch 'er wings.) This one'll make you laugh, make you cry... It's Waiting for Guffman set to the tunes of Hootie and the Blowfish. What's not to love? (Plus I pull out my Missouri accent, just for y'all.)
~ Turned recycling some old computer monitors into a rip-roaring adventure while giving a nod to my old school love of Tetris. And there were French fries.
~ Went to see Star Wars at an old drive-in. Realized my deep-rooted *love* of drive-ins.
~ Found out messing with the Fiesta's British accent voice control is hilarity at its best.
~ Hacked some Ikea parts to make a custom desk. This video got featured on Ikea Hacker and other custom design blogs, which was just awesome. Plus, 5-stars for doing the video MST3K style!
~ Got to invade Ford's safety labs, see two full-scale crash tests, and attempt to recreate a crash test of our own.
~ Got VIP access to a NASCAR race, interviewed most of the Ford Racing drivers, actually sat on top of the UPS Racing pit box, stood with Carl Edwards and his team on Pit Road during the National Anthem, got to sit in on the Driver's Meeting (Kid Rock was there!), and even showed up on ESPN and TNT. Got a ton of great footage and compiled a music video.
~ Helped our local library out for a day. Have you ever gone behind the library counter???
~ Searched for buried treasure on Beaver Island and did the video "History Detectives" style. Mormons, legends, buried treasure, murder, mystery, mayhem!
~ With so much free gas, I took a trip back home, revisited my high school with old pals, and went to my home town county fair. Then I made the day's footage into a kick-butt music video. Katy Perry and Wilco tunes both star in this action-packed thrill ride!
~ While home, I made another music video, starring one of the cutest babes around! A 1YO babe, that is. Watch as Ele trades in her plastic toy car for a *real* party vehicle.
~ And yet another home adventure: We brought the Fiesta to the local Farmer's Market where my Pa sells organic veg and his secret recipe BBQ!
~ Took the Fiesta auto crossing and made a music video with the hit band Parachute! Here's Will, Johnny, and Alex after the race. All smiles!
~ Were extras in a Food Network shoot for the show "Chefs vs. City." In the Chicago episode, you can actually catch a millisecond glimpse of us in the Fiesta! (Which we think is totally rad.)
~ Got an all expenses paid trip to L.A. for the auto show last December, and helped reveal the new US Fiestas to the world. Attended the Fiesta Celebration party at the Palladium, where the hubs and I got to get up on stage and introduce the band Parachute to the crowd. First time using a teleprompter. While there, we helped set the world record for the World's Largest Tweet-up!
~ And finally, last week, we got to star in a Fiesta webisode. It was a blast. Can't fill you in on any details yet, but I'll make sure to post a link to the webisode once it goes live.
I can say I have a huge respect for film crews and what they do behind the scenes to make what's on the screen look so effortless. These folks work hard. 12 hours in pouring rain and they never slowed down for a second.
I can also say I am soooo proud of my dog, Browdy. I used to train service dogs professionally and at one point, I planned on moving to L.A. to become an animal trainer for TV/films. My life has obviously taken a different route, but I had forgotten the thrill of putting a trained animal to the test. It was so amazing to direct Browdy for the video. He sat for almost an hour in the pouring rain, soaked and cold, while I stood 20 feet away telling him to "stay."
And the dog stayed! Even with another actor calling to him, patting her lap, offering treats -- the dog stayed right where I put him. A jogger ran past. A guy walking his dog went by. Production assistants came running up to make adjustments. Cameramen shifted and scuffed their feet behind him.
And Browdy stayed.
The crew said I was amazing. That I played Jedi mind tricks. And yes, I trained him well. The dog knows how to count for goodness sake.
But, dude. Browdy was the amazing one. Even the best service dogs I trained in the past would have had trouble staying for that long, especially soaked to the bone and shivering. I have tried getting Browdy to mind me on camera many times before, and he always, ALWAYS, gets bored and distracted. Not this time. He must have sensed how important it was to me. And that just blows my mind and makes me so proud to be his owner.
I wish with all my might I could communicate to him just how proud I am of him. Because of him, I got to experience one of my dream jobs, if only for a few hours.
And that, my friends, was one of the brightest of brighter days.