In the Beginning....
This being a new blog, I considered simply starting from this day October 14 and writing stories and experiences that are unfolding in front of me leaving the past and blog-posts I had been planning to put up on Jon-of-All-Trades.com behind me.
That would be a clean slate, a fresh start, a new lease on life as it were.
But everyone likes an origin story or at least a little history to inform and make sense of how I got to the place where I'm at and how that might, no, certainly does affect my future.
That said let me state here that while the last week, month and quite honestly all of 2016 has been difficult, with more downs and disappointments than ups and successes, the future looks promising.
What's In a Name?
I have a blog for a number of reasons. it can be very therapeutic for me to write and share my thoughts and adventures. It's a way for me to keep in touch with people and let friends and family know what I'm up to. And it's a way for me to remember various life experiences and look back on them, in the same way one might do with a photo album or home videos.
At some point, I thought I might be able to make a little extra money by creating a web-site. I wasn't very sure on how I might actually do it, but I figured after the many years of being in the film business, I picked up some skills that might be marketable and some stories and experiences that might be of interest.
I would call the web-site Jon-of-All-Trades and sort out the whole money making part as things evolved.
Not the best of business plans to be sure.
Then at the end of last year, I was introduced to Mutiny Artwrx, a communal artist collective warehouse space. Now I have been called an artist many times in the past and people have told me I look at the world through an artist's eyes. I have always balked at this, never being very good at what's traditionally thought of as art i.e. painting, sculpting, drawing etc. That said I've been in the Art Department in movies since I was 17, so I figured I probably picked up some skills along the way. We also needed a space where we could go through all our "stuff" that had been in storage in Los Angeles for the last several years and since I had also decided to get back in to being a lead person on movies, I had re-aquired a great deal of equipment that would need storing. A few other people I knew were interested in sharing a work/studio space so I decided to get four units instead of two which would have probably have been more than enough.
Well, all but one of my future partners backed out and I also realized that we had even more stuff than I thought we had so we ended up with a very expensive storage facility which I ended up turning into a lounge/library/speak-easy.
Also not a good business plan.
To make a long story short, the community aspect at Mutiny never really developed. I spent way too much time an effort on creating a cool place to hang out with no real way of making any money from it. Bought a bunch of stuff I didn't need and decided that being a leadman wasn't for me anymore. Along the way, we hosted several parties, made some wonderful friends, got to see our art and things that had been in storage for years and then purge and down-size.
It was not the most strategic or sound path that we took but in the end, it got us to where we needed and wanted to be.
Jon-Of-All-Trades is DEAD
The irony of the name JOAT is that I've only worked in one industry in the last 25 years, that being in the film business. And only in one department within that industry, the Art Department and even more specifically within Set Decoration. I've been a set dresser, a set decorator, a lead person and a buyer but all still pretty much a niche within one craft.
Jon-Of-All-Trades was an attempt to broaden my horizons professionally. though that didn't happen while I had the web-site and studio space up and running, it doesn't mean I'm giving up on the basic concept.
I'm still going after my personal trainer certification and pursuing some other avenues of revenue.
But I am streamlining the process as it were.
The Urge to Purge
We had a massive sale and give-away, which we've already done twice before. Once when we sold our house in Venice and went up to Montreal for several months and then off to Croatia.
And again when we sold our house in LA up in the Baldwin Hills.
Even after getting rid of thousands and thousands of dollars worth of "stuff", we had to get an additional storage unit, cram things into every nook and cranny we could at our apartment and strategically place art and objects throughout.
Hanging Art; Displaying Collections
I love hanging art and have been fortunate to have a job where not only is that something I regularly get to do, but oftentimes it's not your typical gallery or household sort of situation.
Once on a film the frames were so large and heavy that we used a forklift to mount them. Very often at sensitive locations we are not able to attach directly to the wall, so one has to get quite creative.
In our apartment, the challenge was fitting as much art as I could without it looking too jammed packed. And then there were some that were pretty high up and hanging art by yourself can sometimes get a bit complicated and/or overwhelming. But like I said, it's a task and challenge I love taking on.
Our little apartment, while still a work in progress, is at last a place that we are calling home and a place we are inviting people to come and hang out and socialize in. We had our first spontaneous gathering the other day.
It was very last minute and ended up being a brunch that started in the late afternoon and went until around 10 pm.
A wonderful time was had by all.
I am getting ready to go help out a friend set up some fire sculptures at the Suwannee Hulaween festival in the next week.
I signed up to run a Spartan Race in Cuba in the beginning of the next year.
And we are looking to spend the winter holidays in Iceland.
Needless to say I'm excited to be putting Jon-of-All-Trades to rest and prepare for new adventures less encumbered.
So Many Balls, So Little Time
I have juggled balls, used balls to exercise, of course played various games with balls(basketball, soccer, etc... I know where your mind went, you pervs) and lifted balls of concrete that were quite heavy.
It's been a while since I have actually went to the gym and enjoyed lifting weights. But that doesn't mean that I stopped strength training. Quite the opposite, I've taken up Indian Clubs, body-weight exercises, sand-bag training and the lifting of Atlas Stones.
Cindy was more or less fine with all this, although she did have some issues with my sand-bags and medicine balls being tucked around the house. But she did end up drawing the line when I brought home the Atlas Stones.
As soon as she spotted them in our apartment she said they had to go. Fate's ears must have been burning, because within a minute of Cindy's proclamation, I received a text from a friend, enquiring as to whether or not I was planning on keeping my stones.
"Funny you should ask, I was wondering if you might be interested in them, since you've got a yard and have taken up strongman training."
I'm going to miss my balls, but truth be told I was not playing with them enough to justify keeping them. And I still have the forms, so I can make new ones whenever I feel like it. For now I'll have to settle for hefting around sand-bags, anvils and barrels.
I think I'll be ok.
Jon Danniells is an adventurer and traveler, a teacher and student, a husband and a father, a cook and a farmer, a "week-end warrior" (very amateur athlete) and has not earned any money on these labors of love.When I googled myself what showed up first was my IMDB listing, which is basically a resume for my 20 and then some year career in film, for which I fortunately do get paid.