Summer priorities

Before Lena Maude headed west, she grabbed the full set of Tony Robbins Personal Power. I have taken the course about 10 times since the early 90s and suggested she give it a whirl. Admittedly Tony is a little over the top but his tools are effective.

Lena and I had been talking about how polymaths prioritize. We even explored how we might go about developing a software assistant that could act like a dashboard for our priorities and goals. I’m excited to have her impressions of the material when she (theoretically) returns in late summer / fall.

Lena in June


I’ve been feeling a distinct momentum and sense of accomplishment… which is a little dangerous, it makes me want to look around for more stuff to do. My big list is beginning to feel a little unstructured, so it’s high time for me to revisit my own priorities.

First priority is DOG completion. Simple. Getting that wrapped by fall is still my primary focus. What else do I want to experience and what can I realistically accomplish in the next few months? There are five categories 1) DOG, 2) stay strong and balanced, 3) getting organized and inventoried 4) sharing joy and 5) pre-production for revised ALM.

Strong and Balanced

I lied. Maintaining and expanding my physical presence is actually my first priority. I’m pretty much at my goal of doing each of the following practices 2-3 times a week – yoga, tai chi, tumbling (combat mime) and light free diving. Sustained action flows from staying strong and balanced.


Next comes DOG. I parted ways with the whacky VFX contractor Trace (New York, Bombay) in June and have yet to replace them. Ben and I have been slogging through the roto but it’s time to re-recruit if I am serious about a fall finish. I myself will need to log 4-6 productive roto hours daily from mid July through the end of  August. Also, I’ve got to perfect welding jump cuts. That means buying Twixtor, a powerful tweening application often used to convert GoPro footage to super slow motion for extreme sports videos.

Ben Loves to Rotoscope!



Getting organized and inventoried was delayed last fall because of a snafu in the renovations at the shack – a fabrication space Patrick and I were working on. As of July the shack is operational and my organizational efforts are finally moving forward.

Organization means having all the production equipment sorted and ready, tools accessible, art materials like clay and paint sorted and available and my archives of past projects stabilized. Finally, the house itself requires renovation to support collaboration. The renovation short list includes new lofts for visiting VIPs, greenhouse, floor refinishing, mudding and trimming out the back room, executing the mosaic in the bathroom, and replacing uninsulated windows. Except for lofts, most of the house renovations could be postponed to the fall. If I have more lofts, I can allocate proprietary space to visiting artists (and their families) so that the house doesn’t get completely cluttered with travel gear, toys, clothes, etc. If the lofts were freestanding, they could be disassembled in the fall to allow for the backroom to be finished and painted.

Sharing Joy

Sharing joy is about having 1-2 of ALMs vintage Hobie Cats operational, launching the raft as a high diving and free diving platform, making more opportunities to dance and inviting the tribe to soak up the good vibes of the Artist house. (Added 07-12-12), blogging is another sharing of joy, it’s also organization/inventory.

The Hobie fleet (so far 3 H16s and 1 H14) needs love. With the exception of Hello World, they’re all vintage 70s cats acquired this summer for cheap. The long term plans are discussed below, but in this context of sharing joy I’d like to have a couple on the lake by the end of July, when my brother’s family shows up. Jim Barnes H16 and my family’s original H14 are mostly functional right now, so that would make a mini fleet of 4.

The raft is a non trivial undertaking with several steps – I need to locate the anchor in 15 feet of water, clean and prep the raft for painting, paint, erect a new cedar tower, put down a deck, and hook up solar nav lights. She-oot! Seeing the big raft out there would certainly be a magnet for friend fun.

For dance I’ve just got to go to Traverse City weekly or invite folks over. Meryl and Alex are getting married in August so that’s a good excuse to gather and practice.

I’d love to have some visitors from NYC but it’s not totally feasible without lofts (see Organized).

Blogging spans several categories, certainly it’s a sharing of joy. In this post I’ve alluded to a vast backlog of topics – 0 APR credit cards for film finance, the arrival of Rosie, Save the Hobies, ALM revised, shack, animation studio, personal archeology, producing and collaboration with James and Jeff, the incomparable Ben Woody. Jeff was down here talking about Story (big S) and he asked me how much I write. I wanted to answer a lot, but for the past month or two I’ve only been blogging in my mind. The running narrative to my far flung friends hasn’t actually been published.

Revised ALM

Remember sailing Around Lake Michigan on Hello World, the 300 mile expeditions in 2009 and 2010? Will there be another circumnavigation attempt in 2013? What’s this got to do with assembling a Hobie fleet?

I’ve got a new concept that will both amp up ALM epic-ness and tightly focus the premise. Previously, I was searching for artifacts of the emerging sustainable civilization(s) but all that’s moot if there’s a catastrophic failure of the current unsustainable infrastructure. Think Fukashima. So the new expeditions will be focused on neutralizing threats and facilitating a soft transition from consumerism to balance. The earlier expeditions demonstrated that navigating, sailing, arranging interviews, blogging and making a feature doc is a little more than one man can handle, even if he is Dan Kelly. A team is wanted. A support crew. Diverse talents and expertise. To support the new premise, I need to grab at least another 2-3 H16s locally before folks put them back into storage, fit out the shack for fiberglass work this winter, recruit a robust sailing / support team, research the threats and figure out how to take them offline safely.


I’ve got to coordinate the Michigan Movie Makers Micro Movie Marathon happening on July 25, then there’s the M3 party to organize for the TCFF. I’d also like to shoot the secret beaches project I’ve been scheming on with Sandra Dee in September.

There are also a smattering of informal collaborations eg distractions. I had promised to cut a trailer for Patricia Norowol’s Circuits which is way overdue. James’s Africa movie is attempting to suck me in and I meet almost weekly to banter with Jeff about Planet. Add to this family and friends and that’s a pretty crowded dance card.


Here’s an energy breakdown. 80% of my energy needs to flow to my top 3 objectives. Physical practice only requires a non negotiable 10% of my time, then 50% for DOG and 20% for organization. A whopping 10% goes to sharing joy, (whoo!) 5% to ALM pre-production and 5% to distractions. If I project a 14 hour work day, here’s the hourly breakdown…

  • 10% physical 1.4 hours
  • 50% DOG 7 hours
  • 20% Organized 2.8 hours
  • 10% Shared Joy 1.4 hours
  • 05% ALM pre-production 0.7 hours
  • 05% distractions 0.7 hours

Priorities simplified…

finish DOG

  • roto
  • welding jump cuts
  • new design – logos, adverts, apocalypse spoor
  • final cut

staying strong and balanced

  • yoga
  • tai chi
  • tumbling
  • free diving

getting organized and inventoried

  • production equipment sorted and ready
  • tools accessible
  • art materials sorted and available
  • archives stabilized
  • house renovation for work and collaboration

sharing joy

  • boats for sailing
  • raft – high dive and free diving platform
  • dance
  • visitors

pre-production for revised ALM

  • acquire more H16s for winter rebuilds
  • finish shack, insure work space availability
  • nuke research and alliances
  • identify recruit potential sail team
  • Rosie as spare bedroom
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