It was November 2012 and I just arrived back at the studio on Illinois Ave in Northwest DC, from a meeting with a local PBS station about developing my web series, The Angle. It would be collaborative effort in that the station had enough pull to present it for syndication nationally. I could not do this on my own. Erica joined me at the meeting and with her power and polish, she wowed them. The president of the station had reached out to me after seeing the series online and was looking to partner, or so it seemed. He also guaranteed (with a handshake) to put together a 100K business deal to develop content for a contract they had with a PBS initiative for 2013. He said, “we need to put some cash in your pocket.” I was elated.

In my office, I took off my tie and swiveled around in my seat around. I looked at those wood panel walls in the place I called “The Studio” and pondered my future. Additionally, a good friend of mine was in the final stages of a multi-million-dollar research grant with an accompanying documentary component where I’d pretty much make what I generated the year before for 3-months of work. My documentary “Close Ties” found representation and they promised tens of thousands of dollars. Upon my 10th revolution in that chair it all hit me.

This was it. I was finally gonna make it! No more nickel-and-dime clients. Right there, I planned on leaving the studio by June, and everything was finally coming together. With that, I felt I had to do a scripted web-series to give rise to a creative blooming. I was gonna throw myself out there and make some magic, rather quickly.

I already had scratches of written ideas in various notebooks and had worked on a similar project prior to the No Strings, Please concept, so I easily went to work. In ten days, I wrote the whole 10-episode series and needed to build a team. So many folks came through to make this project happen and I really felt it was “my time”. In the end, at least considering this juncture, it was not. The independence of the project still attracted the same level of “people shit” that is entwined in the mainstream Hollywood stuff. I’ll do a whole post about the drama behind the scenes of this drama… or dramedy as I like to call it. Life is still humorous, even when someone gets shot.

The series is composed of episodes and diaries, all important to moving on to the next. They are numbered accordingly.

Episode 1: Goodbye Brooklyn

Diary 1.2

Episode 2: Welcome to DC

Diary 2.1

Episode 3: Connections

Episode 3: Connections

Diaries: 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3

Episode 4: Never Judge a Book

Diary 4.1

Episode 5: My Effin’ Job

Episode 6: Criminal Contemplation

Episode 7: Brooklyn Keeps on Takin’ It

Diary 7.1

Episode 8: My Beautiful Crutch

Diaries: 8.1 and 8.2

Episode 9: Mind Blowing

Episode 10: The Case for the Case

When it was all said and done, I was in the hole quite a bit financially. Nothing made sense and the response to the series was… “whatever.”

I released the episodes every week not to much fanfare and I started shrinking. The TV station deal for my series didn’t happen and they tried to make something similar on their own. The grant my friend had come so close to getting fell through. The deal for my doc only dolled out enough to pay some of the credit card debt I incurred from the series. I was devastated and sitting in my basement, drinking vodka from the afternoon into the evening every day.

After the last episode launched, it was so silent. I slowly faded into the couch in the basement. Nothing made sense and I considered quitting everything media related. I wanted to disappear. I remember waking up on a dreary mid-October afternoon from a liquor related nap and it was super quiet in the house. The stillness was calming but I began to hear loudly my inner-voice. The voice asked a lot of big questions, things I couldn’t answer.

How did I get here? What is this all about? What are you drinking for? Am I depressed? I’ve always been a talker, but now I started taking to Erica or anyone that would be willing to listen almost non-stop. I was talking with such honesty and rawness, I think most people didn’t know what to say. Erica just listened, which was awesomely helpful. I took my ritual break from alcohol and by Thanksgiving I was off the sauce and felt a little better.

By March 2014, I picked myself up and dusted myself off. Nothing big or promising was in view. I just had to work and make some sense of things. I had to get back to work and work like I always have, yet I needed to tuck away my dreams a bit. They kept getting the best of me. I settled for the life of a good old camera dude. I had to only dream of survival. For a short time.

The “string” is related to string theory. Much of that got lost in translation. The revelation, the light is related to what needed to be revealed. Season 2 was gonna be off the chain. I plan on redoing the series how it should have been done.

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