I was walking toward my gym in lower Manhattan much too early one morning when I saw a line of trailers stretching down Warren Street.
I knew instantly that this was a film crew setting up a location shoot. They tend to pop up around the city like small villages and if you’ve lived here long enough you barely give them a second look.
It was so different when I first moved back to New York 16 years ago. I had returned to the city after a decade of working at small town newspapers and while I had regularly visited New York during that time, now I was an actual resident of the Big Apple.
It was strange relocating to my hometown after all those years. I swapped my car for the subways and began readjusting my vision to take in the huge buildings, massive traffic jams, and endless waves of people.
Initially I felt like a hybrid, one part savvy city dweller who knows all the angles and one part Gomer Pyle, who’s just so amazed at all the bright lights and purty women.
Naturally I went nuts every time I spotted a film crew. I didn’t see much of that in Pennsylvania or Connecticut and so while everybody else would walk by pretending not to notice, I’d stop and take in the lights, camera, and action going on right in front of my eyes.
Maybe I was hoping someone would recognize me for the genius that I was and give me a job on the spot--preferably directing, but I'd do coffee runs, too, if that was all they had. No offers were forthcoming.
I was surprised how quickly I became jaded at the sight of a film crew. It seems like I was only back in town a few months and I was getting annoyed whenever I had to take a detour around yet another movie shoot.
But after this particular encounter on Warren Street, I wasn’t feeling jaded or blasé. I was depressed.
It’s been my dream since high school to be in the movie business, to be one of those people inside the trailer instead of one of the many spectators forever on the outside. And here I was still dreaming after these years.
The misery hung over me all day as I contrasted where I was with where I wanted to be. It’s quite a gap and a bit sobering, but it also sounds so terribly selfish to think like this when I know there are people all over the world suffering in ways I can't even imagine.
I went to noontime service at Trinity Church the next day and, as usual, Rev. Mark gave one of his brilliant sermons. He read from John 21:4-6 which tells of how the Apostles came up empty-handed one time after a hard night’s fishing.
Jesus tells them “cast the net on the right side of the boat” and when they do “they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”
Rev. Mark encouraged us to apply that message to our own lives and change the way we look at things. I know my attitude is just flat out bad, that no matter how much I say I want something, a part of me just doesn’t believe it’s going to happen.
And too often I travel in the wrong direction, away from my dream—like working at small town newspapers when I really want to be in the movie business.
The change starts in my head. I need to fish on the right side of my mind and fill my net with a multitude of positive energy. I went to walk on the right path until I reach that trailer with my name on it.