:In a Cage

Life is so silly sometimes, isn't it? 

Out of all the episodes that I had planned, this one was supposed to be the easiest. I was filming a group of people that I knew, the location was familiar to me, and we were mostly going to be indoors (so many problems are solved by being inside, you guys, seriously, it's so much easier), so it was totally going to be a piece of cake. 

10 months later, I'm on the tail end of a 100% genuine, bonafide, real-life character building experience. I started filming this piece in November of 2013, when mixed martial arts fighter Ariel Sepulveda started getting ready for his first professional title fight, with the help of his coaches at Next Evolution MMA. Between that time and the fight at The Ring of Combat in Atlantic City on January 24th, 2014, I acquired eight interviews, a lot of bruises, and 18 total hours of footage. EIGHTEEN. HOURS. I've never had to deal with that kind of volume before, and to make matters worse, I'm attached to these people, so it was really challenging to decide what to keep and what to leave out when it all affected me so much. In the end, I think I managed to strike a balance between telling their stories completely and respecting my audience, but it was a long process, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't glad that it's over. 

I know that it's all about the journey and whatever, but sometimes reaching the summit feels DAMN GOOD. 

Most of the amazing music in this episode was found on the Free Music Archive at www.FreeMusicArchive.org. Below are the individual artists' websites--please go download their music because they are all awesome! 

Broke For Free: www.brokeforfree.com

Chris Zabriske: www.chriszabriskie.com

Dexter Britain: http://dexterbritain.co.uk/

Diablo Swing Orchestra: http://www.diabloswing.com/

Monk Turner: http://monkturner.bandcamp.com/

Passion HI-Fi: https://soundcloud.com/thepassionhifi

The Underscore Orkestra: http://www.theunderscoreorkestra.com/



:In a Motorcycle Club

My original accompanying text for this video was going to be completely different from what it is now. It was originally going to be really upbeat and excited about getting an exclusive look into a really unique biker club, but in light of recent events, that doesn't seem very appropriate.

You've probably heard about the horrifying events that occurred here in New York City last week on the West Side Highway, where a group of motorcyclists pulled a man from his SUV and beat him on the street in front of his wife and child. If you haven't, you can get the original NY Times story here,  stories of the arrests here, and the story of how NYPD officers may have been involved here. 

At this moment, any discussion about bikers and biker clubs is suddenly much more serious. But serious isn't the same as reactionary, and it's not the same as sensational. These are exactly the types of situations where it is imperative that we think critically about what really happened and not rely on stereotypes to shape our judgment. The bikers who committed this atrocious crime are the exception, not the rule, and we absolutely must remember that as we grapple with how to deal with this. Anyone who beats another person in broad daylight in the street deserves to be punished, but I would argue that the root of this crime is the men, not the motorcycles.  A piece of machinery doesn't determine whether or not someone decides to choose excessive violence to resolve a minor grievance, so why are we focusing on it? If we are going to live in a functional self-governing society, we must all take on the responsibility of adding constructive and intelligent points to the conversation, whether it's as journalists or as private citizens. It's not about doing it when it's easy. It is so much more important when it's difficult. It's time for each of us to stand for true justice that is achieved by using our powers of reason and intellect for intelligent debate about practical solutions. 

Let this documentary stand as an example of how bikers can also be a force for good in the world, because what really matters is the people who are riding the bikes, not the bikes themselves. 


 The amazing music that I was lucky enough to find for the soundtrack was composed by the artists listed below. I found them all on the Free Music Archive at www.FreeMusicArchive.org, so you can go there and search their names to find their music, or you can visit their individual websites. They are all seriously talented, so please check them all out and download all of their stuff! 

Waylon Thornton: http://waylonthornton.tumblr.com

Halloween: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Halloween/

  Monk Turner: http://monkturner.bandcamp.com/

Kevin MacLeod: http://incompetech.com/  

Fhernando:  http://fhernando.com/



Gary has become a Pledge, which means he's on track to become a full member by January. The club has also acquired another new pledge named Darryl. Both Darryl and Gary have to prove their dedication to the club over the next 3 months by answering to their Pledge Master. The Pledge Master is appointed by the President whenever there are new Pledges, and this year, Chaz has appointed Evil Ed to usher the new Pledges into the club. 

The ECMC asked me to mention that the Road Captain is also responsible for checking each member's license, registration, insurance annually to ensure that all members are abiding by the law.  

: In the Dish Pit

This is a documentary about a dishwasher. Not a machine, a person who works as a dishwasher in a restaurant in New York City. He is actually the inspiration for this whole series. 

I'm not sure exactly when I realized that I sort of casually assumed that all dishwashers must be unhappy, but as soon as it hit me, I thought it was crazy that I had worked in the hospitality industry for so long without ever really examining that clearly oversimplified view. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how pervasive that idea was. I recalled conversations with friends wherein things like "Man, it was the worst week ever. But I could be washing dishes or something, so I guess it could be worse," were said. I also recalled being threatened with "a life of washing dishes" by people who wanted me to do well in school, as if it were a terrible consequence. So what does "a life of washing dishes" really look like? Angel Cruz will tell you all about it, because he's living that life, and (spoiler alert!) it turns out he's pretty darn happy about it. 


**The awesome soundtrack was composed by the incomparable Monk Turner. The song is entitled "Kind Katie," from his album "Instrumental Friends," and you can find more of his music at: http://monkturner.bandcamp.com/

I also was going to use music by the two artists listed below. I ended up simplifying my soundtrack down to one composer, but I think they are both awesome and wanted to credit them anyway for inspiring me. Go check them out! 

Jason Shaw: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Jason_Shaw/

Gilicuddy: http://gillicuddy.bandcamp.com/ 

Thanks to Matthew Callahan for being the most awesome husband ever and without whom this project would never have gotten off the ground.