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4 Decades, Part 4 – 30 to 39 years

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

I’ve reached the fourth and final decade in my recollections on turning 40. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) In this latest ten years are some of the biggest moments, largest risks, and most unexpected cherished memories.

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4 Decades, Part 3 – 20 to 29 years

Friday, October 4th, 2013

As I walk through the recollections of my first four decades, (Part 1, Part 2) I realize the decade immediately following my college experience is the one with the most life shaping change.

After graduating from Baylor I stayed in Waco to avoid moving home and try to figure out my next best move toward filmmaking. I still had friends in school so I lived the college student lifestyle without any actual classes. It was during this year that one of my best friends began dating the girl who would eventually be my wife…

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Fumbling the Ring: New Line Pt.2

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

With Peter Jackson’s second Tolkien trilogy about to hit theaters, it seems a good time to reflect on another part of my New Line experience. Like the last time, it involves Lord of the Rings, but unlike last time this is more of a cautionary tale.

The Proverb says pride comes before the fall. This was true in the case of New Line. To me, a clear symbol of this downfall was a Ring… not the One Ring of Sauron, but a custom made ring on the finger of the company’s founder, Bob Shaye.

After the LOTR Trilogy made Billions in the theater, and Return of the King swept the Oscars with 11 wins, New Line was the talk of the town and riding high. This mini-studio, with rented office space and also-ran status in the Time Warner Universe, had pulled off a coup. And those at all levels of the company were quick to believe the hype that New Line had been the vital component in this rousing success.

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On Hobbits And Hollywood: New Line Pt.1

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

When I left New Line Cinema in 2007 I was disillusioned and angry. It seemed to me that the studio had ignored its reputation for finding talent from within and squandered the momentum created by Lord of the Rings. I spoke my concern aloud and was told everything was fine and the company was doing well. I’d seen many sobering things about the way film studios where run (New Line and elsewhere) and I wanted to share them with others. I considered writing my thoughts down when I left, but decided to wait until I’d gotten some distance.

Then in 2008 the company closed. All of my co-workers lost their jobs. Some are still floundering. My commentary now felt like sour grapes.

And now, five years later, news of the upcoming “Hobbit” films has me living in a Time-machine. The images and stories coming out of Peter-Jackson-Land take me back to the Lord of the Rings years. Those films were a decade ago, but I’m back there the moment I see a trailer or poster for the new series. And the recent announcement of two Hobbit films becoming three has found me telling anecdotes or fielding questions from those around me.

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