In 1968, I got received two gifts for an otherwise awkward 14th birthday. One was a well preserved late 40s vintage Argus C3 35mm view camera. Not even a single lens reflex style, this old camera was a simple viewfinder and one fixed 50mm lens. My dad won it in a poker game in an air traffic control tower in Guam during the Korean War and it came with a full set of glass filters, a light meter and a flash gun (for flash BULBS). Within weeks of receiving it, I had converted a bedroom closet into a dark room adding trays, safelights, tanks and hangers for negative processing and a way-used contact printer. The coveted enlarger would come a year later.
The other gift was a Fender Newporter. The first experiment in blending the slim truss-rod neck of the legendary Stratocaster electric guitar with a modified classic acoustic body, and a cheap tape-recorder. What happened between the mad-scientist at work in the acetic acid fumes of stop-bath and the mind altering experience of imitating the style of “Music from Big Pink” by The Band, was the beginning of an eclectic passion for combining imagery and music that later came to embrace writing as well. It was the age of Marshall McLuen and psychedelics, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane and what was then exotically called “multi-media” and it never let go of me.
What never changed in all the time since was the fervent belief that something fundamental lay beneath and was common to the television commercial, the live rock show, the creation of a ride, the orientation and training of new people on the job and the making of a television program.
That essential discipline always felt good. It was grounded in the anticipatory stage of every project and when done well as a process, it always created the greatest sense of unlimited possibility and genuineness. After three decades of bathing in it almost everyday, it turned out to be nameable at last. IT, was storytelling.
It is sacred, it is non-negotiable and it is not to be trifled with. IDEAS, was born as a storytelling organism. Creating new realities out of stories is what it does. No one is more blessed than I am with the incredible richness of being surrounded by brilliant people and the gift of practicing what we all love together. When Walt Disney spoke to the team at Disneyland iun 1965 at the Tencennial, he told some funny stories and ribbed his team a little and he ended with a phrase that I always thought summed up his world view. It sums up mine too “We’re just getting started…”