December 13, 2010


“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give” – Sir Winston Churchill

I’ll give more generously when I’m more financially secure.  We’re barely making ends meet, after all.

House payments, heating bills, electricity bills, groceries, auto-lease payments, cell phone bills… all those things add up.  Right?


There are plenty who have none of the above bills to worry about.  Instead, they worry about keeping warm enough to live through the night and finding enough food to live through the week.

Too many kids live in poverty.  Too many kids are sick.  Too many kids are abused.  Too many kids are not loved the way they deserve to be loved.

Too many people are legitimately struggling to make ends meet for me to complain as I type away on my computer.  In my house.  With a full stomach.  (Fuller than it should be, truth be told.)

I am blessed.  Therefore it is my duty to bless others.  I need to give more.  I want to give more.  So what’s stopping me?

Fear.  Mostly fear.

These are tough economic times.  I’m a full-time dad during the day, moonlighting as a freelance actor/writer/director and video producer at night and on the weekends.  I can’t count on regular paychecks.  If my wife were to lose her steady-paying job, we’d be in trouble.


If I don’t get over the fear of what could happen and start sharing more of my time and money with others already faced with something bad that has happened, none of my money in the bank will matter.  Someday I do hope to be wealthy.  Who doesn’t?  Honestly?  I imagine it will be easier to give when I get there, but why wait?

There’s a Bible story of a poor widow dropping two relatively insignificant coins into the temple treasury while the wealthy around her gave much larger sums.  Jesus applauded the woman for essentially giving all she had while the others gave only a small portion of their wealth.

Relativity what it is, true charity demands sacrifice.  My philanthropic dreams are grand, but they depend on achieving significant wealth for myself and my family.  They shouldn’t.  Now is the time to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of my brothers and sisters who are truly struggling.

Are you with me?

If you don’t know where to start, visit Charity Navigator and research until you find a charity you feel moved to support.  Give generously; give wisely; give sacrificially.

November 22, 2010


“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

Below is an article I recently posted to my column.  Maybe you saw it there.  Maybe you didn’t.  If you did, forgive me for my redundancy.  Then forgive me again.


A movie's entertainment value is completely subjective.  Just look at detailed user ratings at IMDb and you'll see movies with a high weighted average inevitably have a significant number of 1-star ratings.  Take The Social Network; as of this writing, 8,484 IMDb users scored the movie a perfect 10 out of 10 while 868 scored it a 1 out of 10, the lowest allowable score.

Overall, only 3.1% of people who rated The Social Network on IMDb gave it a 1/10 while the 10/10 ratings accounted for just under 30% of voters.  The numbers are insignificant except for the proof that in any given audience, there will be lovers and haters of the same movie.  Whether the ratings are based solely on the movie's entertainment value or any other number of variables (didn't like the lead actor, saw it with someone who dumped you the next day, in a bad mood when you saw it, whatever), it can be assumed that at least a portion of the lowest ratings were given because the person genuinely hated the content of the movie.

Filmmakers need to accept that any movie they make is going to be loved by some and hated by others.  As long as the lovers outweigh the haters, life should be good.  One would hope that audience response comes down predominantly to the quality of the movie's content (plot, theme) and not petty intangibles (lead actor negatively dominating the tabloids, not enough 'eye-candy').  The content is completely controllable, and most intangibles are as well, so really there isn't an excuse for making a bad movie, is there?

Yet bad movies get made.  More than good ones.  The vast majority of current flicks seem to be wasting away in Mediocreville.  Looking for their lost shaker of salt?

Nobody sets out to make a bad movie.  Even Ed Wood believed his movies were high quality.  And a small percentage of his audience actually agreed - most Ed Wood movies have user ratings on IMDb exactly opposite of The Social Network with the highest number of votes being 1/10 but a measurable number of votes rating 10/10).

The nebulous words here are good, bad, and mediocre.  One cannot definitively apply the word "good" to The Social Network or the word "bad" to Ed Wood's Night of the Ghouls, because inevitably there are audience members who would disagree.  But for the sake of argument, let's call a movie that is widely received in a positive light "good" and a movie generally regarded as poor quality "bad".

What are the most important details in assuring a filmmaker's efforts will result in a good movie?  Ask ten filmmakers and you would likely receive ten different answers.  One detail that I would hope consistently floats to the top is the screenplay.  There has never been a good movie made from a bad screenplay, so the first ingredient in the recipe for a good movie has to be a good screenplay.

Of course, a good screenplay doesn't guarantee a good movie.  Plenty can and does go wrong between pre-production and a movie's release.  But none of the potential roadblocks during production, post-production and marketing make any difference if the filmmakers embarked on a project in which the screenplay was less than great.

Bottom line: Make sure your screenplay is GREAT before proceeding to turn it into a movie.  Your chances of having more lovers than haters in the audience depend on the pages that build the foundation of the picture.

October 24, 2010

First-draftious Perfectitis

“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.” – William Faulkner

Many claim to be perfectionists.  I don’t believe them.  Those sure of their perfectionist ways need to ask a few questions of themselves: Do I strive for perfection when folding laundry?  When vacuuming?  Wen txtng?

We who claim perfectionism need to be realistic and acknowledge the measurable ratio of level of investment to degree of perfectionism.  When I am invested in a task, I very much want to perform perfectly.  Conversely, if I’m not invested, I simply want to get the task finished quickly so I can move onto something I value more.

There are exceptions, of course, like when I’m not necessarily invested in a task but my performance can be measured and judged by my peers.  Oh, the curse of wanting to look good.

Perfectionism can be a good thing, but so often it is a crutch.  Take the first draft a screenplay.  Few other tasks necessitate a non-perfectionist attitude, yet I find myself toiling over words, sentences, and paragraphs before I even have half the story mapped out.

The biggest disease plaguing my screenwriting is first-draftious perfectitis.  I just can’t seem to shake it.  Granted, I haven’t had much opportunity the last several months to try, but, hypochondriac that I am, the mere thought of starting a new screenplay gets the symptoms rising.

Luckily, I’m not alone in my sufferings.  I stumbled across this great article that breaks down the creative process in a way I’d never seen before.  I might as well give it a shot.  The crampbark and couchgrass aren’t really working.

September 27, 2010


“Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present.” – Roger Babson

One of my favorite lines from the grossly underrated Steve Martin classic, LA Story, comes from Mr. Martin’s title character.  When accused of romping around with a girl much too young for him, he replies, “She’s not so young.  She’ll be 27 in four years.”  Dry and underplayed, like so much of Steve Martin’s brilliant comedy, yet quite profound in its subtext.

I turned 34 this month and, as with each recent birthday, I played number games in my mind for the weeks preceding and postceding the anticlimactic date.

Half my life ago, I was 17.  That one depressed me.  Seventeen doesn’t seem so long ago until I add 17 to my current age and get 51.  If seventeen feels like only a moment ago, then 51 is but a moment away.  Right?

I’m half way to 68.  For some reason, this one didn’t bother me as much as the previous.  After all, while it doesn’t feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve been 17, it feels like eons since I’ve been… well, however old I was when I first harbored memories.  Hence, 68 still feels eons away.

I’m 6 years from 40.  Ouch.  I was 28 six years ago.  That seems like only yesterday.  Logically, 40 will be here… tomorrow?

I went from Larry Bird to Walter Payton.  What?  Sports fan that I am, my mind often relates numbers to digits on an athlete’s jersey.  Larry Bird, my favorite basketball player of all time, wore 33.  Walter Payton, one of my favorite running backs of all time, wore 34.  Pointless and trivial – that’s probably why it belongs in this blog.

Whatever number games I play with my own life calendar, I find being 34 matters little to me in the sense of chronology, but I don’t know how many more birthdays I can swallow before making that drastic career jump from “aspiring” to “established.”  It’s gotta happen soon.  Exactly what “it” is, is the tricky part.  I know the abstract end goal, I just don’t know the tactile evidence that will assure I’ve “made it.”  But that’s part of the excitement.

As much weight as I’m putting into my future, I need to be sure I’m utilizing my present to the fullest.  At the end of the day, all that matters is that I’ve progressed instead of regressed.  So far, so good adequate.

March 30, 2010

I’ve recently accepted a position with as their Twin Cities Filmmaking Industry Examiner.  As such, I imagine my entries here will taper for a bit.  I’m not sure the Examiner column will be as fulfilling as this blog, but I’ll give it a shot.  Stop by and say hello:

March 20, 2010


“The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.” – Arthur Koestler

This list by screenwriting teacher Michael Hauge shouldn’t be necessary.  His tips here are so obvious that anyone writing a screenplay should just know them instinctively.

Right.  And Kansas was a lock to win this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Take special note of tip #4 from this list which is a close relative of the old screenwriting axiom – enter late, leave early.  So many screenplays I read spend a great amount of ink on “hello, how are you?” lines.  Instead of describing how two people meet each other, it’s more efficient to jump right into the conversation that necessitates the scene’s inclusion in the screenplay.

Of course, all bets are off on first drafts.  I break many of these rules in the first draft or two, but when the screenplay reaches the point where I’m ready to expose it to other eyes, I’d better have eliminated all violations.  If not, shame on me.

March 12, 2010

No Kidding the Block

“People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” – Anna Quindlen

My tendency is to try to write an excellent first draft of a screenplay.  I reason to myself that my rewriting will be less painful if I get my best stuff on the page the first time through.  One major problem arises from this mindset – I fret over the first words so much that I often get no words on the page.

Ms. Quindlen’s observation couldn’t fit me much better.  I’m in a constant battle with myself to turn off the censor, douse the inner editor, and muzzle the relentless perfectionist ensconced in the nether regions of my brain.  They are only welcome at the late draft parties, yet they crash the early ones.

How do I defeat my counterproductive habits that disallow quantitative writing? This short list from Dr. Format himself, Dave Trottier, may be a good place to start.

And really… no matter how hard I try, the first draft always sucks.  That’s just the way it is.

March 9, 2010


“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Hindsight is 20/20.  What seemed like a good idea at the time can so often be revealed as a boneheaded move when reflected upon later.  In this list from Heidi Van Lier, a columnist with Film Independent, Ms. Van Lier highlights some of the peculiar mistakes she witnessed independent filmmakers make last year.  My favorite is #19 because I’ve seen many movies seemingly made in such a way.

It’s easy to roll our eyes, shake our heads, or blow a short puff of air through our nostrils as we pity the poor saps whose idiocy trumps our own.  But at least they got themselves into position to make those mistakes.  As Mr. Shaw profoundly states, it’s useless to sit on the sidelines only to avoid potential mistakes.  Go out there.  Make mistakes.  The alternative is boring.

March 3, 2010


“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” – Susan Bissonette 

In Minnesota, March means one thing and one thing only: the end is near.  Four months of four-walled banishment is finally melting away.  While March is statistically the second snowiest month for the Twin Cities, the promise of rising temperatures and lengthening daylight hours is a much needed breath of optimism.

I’ve diagnosed myself with many things, mostly in jest, but if I don’t officially have Seasonal Affective Disorder, I have the red-headed stepchild version of it.  For me, March is the light at the end of the barren tunnel brightening my cup just enough to see that it just may be half full instead of half empty.

This year, I’m going to treat March less like a noun and more like a verb – as in, march ahead, march forward, march of dimes… wait, not that last one.

No more waiting around for phone calls and e-mails to be returned.  No more waiting for perfect opportunities to saunter up to my doorstep.  No more hiding.  No more begging.  No more self pity.  No more self doubt.  No more…

February 25, 2010

Definitely Not a Broke Back

The Pohlad family has an entire chapter in the book of Minnesota lore.  Most notably, Carl Pohlad (1915-2009) owned the hometown diamond nine, the Minnesota Twins, since 1984, winning two world series in the process.  Carl’s youngest son, William, produced Oscar dandy, Brokeback Mountain, when other production companies fled in fear.  Now, 54-year-old Bill Pohlad is a significant player in Hollywood while keeping his roots in Minnesota.

This article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune paints Bill Pohlad as a soft-spoken but motivated movie mogul whose most recent venture is destined for success in the new age of movie distribution.

Now if I can just find his coattails and grab on…

February 20, 2010


“Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct” – Thomas Carlyle

Oh the fine line between exhibiting conviction and exhibiting stubbornness.  Those able to persist on the good side of that line are poised for success while those stuck on the wrong side are doomed to alienation.  Anyone building a house of conviction on a foundation of stubbornness will soon find themselves without shelter.  Those are dangerous folks.

“Conviction without experience makes for harshness” – Flannery O’Connor

At times I feel my conviction is translucent when it should be opaque, and other times I wonder if I should just keep my tail between my legs and nod along in agreement.  It’s a balancing act.  I don’t want to be a yes-man, but until I’m a go to man, my self loyalty will have to take a backseat to career-progressing conformity.

Then again, many success stories are built on conviction originally perceived as stubbornness.  The roundtable discussion in the following video from the LA Times features James Cameron, Jason Reitman, Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels, and Quentin Tarantino each discussing a moment in their careers when sticking to their convictions led to success.  The stories are inspiring if not jealousy-inducing, but for every one of these success stories, I imagine there are hundreds of opposite stories where conviction was merely senile stubbornness.

How does one stay true to personal conviction without falling into stubborn opposition to the status quo?  Observe.  Reflect.  Adjust.  And learn from those whose success speaks for itself.


February 15, 2010

Pilar and Aadip mentioned the Movie Bytes website on a recent On the Page podcast.  I remember bookmarking the site no less than an eon ago, but I hadn’t visited since.  Turns out it’s the source for screenwriting contests and it appears to be a useful community for screenwriters to network, consult, opine, and vent.

Maybe see you there…

February 9, 2010

Predict the Oscars – Win Final Draft Software!

StoryLink is sponsoring an Oscar prediction contest.  The winner gets the latest Final Draft software.  I’m ready to upgrade from Final Draft 7, so what the heck…

February 2, 2010


“You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others.  That’s the mark of a true professional.” – Joe Paterno

Each project on which I work has its own highs and lows, pros and cons, ups and downs.  Some have more of the formers, many have more of the latters.  Time on set of my most recent was all up, pro, and high.

I was blessed with the opportunity to shoot a spec pilot for talented child actor, Joseph Castanon.  General free reign over the project was granted to me.  I wrote several sketches for the Saturday Night Live meets The Tonight Show program for kids and we shot the sketches along with some interviews over a perfect-weather weekend at the end of January in Los Angeles.

My DP, Nick Evert, one of my mainstay collaborators, accompanied me.  He and I have done our share of work in the Twin Cities and we were both excited for the new project but still a little concerned about the potential attitudes we’d be facing in Hollywood.  Our worries were completely dismissed as the kids and their parents with whom we worked proved to be more professional, more polite, and more talented than we could even have dreamed they’d be.

I can’t put into words how impressed I was with Joseph, Ryan Ochoa and his brothers Robert and Raymond, and Sammi Hanratty.  They each have more real credits than pretty much everyone else with whom I’ve directly worked.  Funny thing is, I’ve worked with people with a few commercials or student films under their belts and they behave as if they’re King Poop of Turd Island.

Mr. Paterno’s assessment of professionalism is incomplete.  A true professional not only performs at a consistently higher level than others, but the true professional does so while maintaining humility, embracing empathy, and always looking to give more than receive.  These kids get it.

January 23, 2010


“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs

The 1998 Minnesota Vikings rank with the great NFL teams of the last couple decades.  They were huge favorites to go to the Super Bowl and in all likelihood would have if Gary Anderson, their prolific kicker who hadn’t missed a field goal all season, hadn’t pulled a late attempt to put the Vikings comfortably ahead of the Atlanta Falcons.  When the Falcons tied the game in regulation, then won in overtime, the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately fans asked for Anderson’s head on a platter.  Gary Anderson is one of the great kickers of all time, and a good guy to boot (pun intended), yet many purple rubes unfairly crucified him that disappointing January evening.

Screenwriters are the placekickers of Hollywood – taken for granted when things go well, chastised when they don’t.  That is, if they are recognized at all.  Quick, name ten current NFL placekickers and the teams for which they play.  Even the most astute fantasy footballer may struggle to produce such a list.  Ten quarterbacks and their teams?  Easy.  Quarterbacks are the movie stars.  Maybe running backs and wide receivers are the directors.  And the insidious, conceited owners sitting in their private suites above the fifty yard line are the producers.

So what does it say about me that I want to be all of them?  Is it because I want to reduce the possible scapegoats?  After all, if I’m accountable for everything, there’s nary another to blame.  Success or failure would rest solely on my own shoulders.

Or maybe this whole analogy, loose and unrefined, is just a side effect of having football on my brain right now.  Here’s to hoping the 2009 Vikings are not the 1998 Vikings.

Go Purple!

January 15, 2010

Preparation (not H)

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

A little over a decade ago I got one of my front teeth knocked out of socket while playing basketball.  I needed immediate care, but my regular dentist was unavailable.  I was grateful to have a second option who took time on a Sunday to tend to my suddenly defunct smile.  He gave me a root canal and ground down the newly dead tooth in favor of crowning with porcelain.  The only problem was his crown didn’t come close to matching the rest of my pearlies.

To say the least, I was unpleased, especially when he wouldn’t fix his work.  For several years I was embarrassed to smile fully because of the discolored, gray-bordered, misshaped front tooth which was, I’ve been told, a hundred times more noticeable to its owner than the rest of the world.  We actors tend to take minor details about ourselves and magnify them in our minds, but this was one of my defining features.  I like to smile.  I do it often.  Sudden self-consciousness over this fill-in dentist’s awful work resulted in mostly lip smiles until I finally had it fixed by a more qualified professional a few years ago.

I don’t know very well the backgrounds of either dentist.  Which one studied more?  Which one has logged more crowning experience?  I do know the first dentist paid no attention to aesthetics.  He had no comprehension of the importance of a smile to someone who relies on it to get work.  Granted, I was in college when it happened and hadn’t started acting professionally yet, but I knew it was in my future and having a timid smile was not a big boost to my confidence.

Whether the second dentist (who did a marvelous job, by the way) was truly more prepared than the first, I do not know, but I have a hunch he was.  At the very least, he promised to work on the tooth until I was happy with it.  Apparently that was too much to ask of the previous driller.

The lesson here is that no matter what we’re doing, we want to be doing it with the very best.  Going in for dental work?  We want the best dentist.  Going in for surgery?  We want the best surgeon.  Having our car worked on?  We want the best mechanic.  Going out to eat?  We want the best chef.  Making movies?  We want the best writers, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, grips, gaffers, hair and makeup artists, animal wranglers, masseuses, coffee makers, M&M sorters, grape feeders… or something like that.

The only way to be the best is to prepare as such.  Experience is indeed the best source of knowledge, but before you can earn the hands-on experience, you have to study from others’ hands-on experiences.  I’m offering what I can at this blog (check the archives – you’ll find something useful – I promise), and I’m going to make better efforts to offer more links to resources from professionals further advanced in their careers than I.  Hopefully, I can connect somebody to the information they need to take the next step in their career.  And hopefully I take a big step so my words can be validated or corrected as needed.

Let’s be the best dentists – I mean moviemakers – we can be!  Prepare, prepare, prepare, execute!

January 11, 2010


“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein

I’ve logged hundreds of hours reading movie industry books.  Acting, directing, writing, producing, history, technique, theory – anything that could and should help me in my career.  Never satisfied, of course, but I had gotten to a point where I naively felt I had read more pertinent books than are left out there.  Then I stumbled across The Independents’ list of the 30 Quintessential Books for Independent Filmmakers.  Of the 30, I’ve read only 7.  Guess I’ve got a ways to go.

Fact is, there are more books published in a month than I could possibly read in a year.  But not all are worth the time.  And, reflecting on Mr. Einstein’s words, reading all the books ever written about the film and television industry simply cannot replace good old-fashioned experience.

Reading is one of my worst procrastination stumbling blocks.  It’s so easy to justify time spent learning the craft, but if it’s at the continued expense of practicing the craft, its gain is radically limited.  Just like everything in life, balance is the key.  When one side of the scale dips too heavily, it’s time to counter.  After all, knowledge is useless unless applied.

January 8, 2010


“Never let your persistence and passion turn into stubbornness and ignorance.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Two days ago I turned 33 1/3.  My joke was I must be some kind of a record.  Though I shared the hilarious quip with only my wife, I’m guessing her confused reaction would have been shared by many with whom I could have shared the genius comedy.  For those not in the know, 33 1/3 is the revolutions per minute at which LPs spin.  What’s an LP?  Long Play Record Album… you know, the things before tapes… tapes?… you know, the things before CDs… CDs?… you know, the things before iPods… iPods?… if you’re reading this in 2020, iPods have likely been replaced by surgically implanted audio devices of some sort, so iPods are the things before those.

But I digress.

In August of 2008 I developed an Internet entertainment channel with a group of businessmen.  The channel was designed to operate in much the same way as a television network by releasing programs according to a schedule.  For reasons too lengthy to explain here, it didn’t work.

Visions of hundreds of thousands of dollars rolling in was enough to keep me interested and striving to improve the ‘network.’  I still believe in the potential of earning that kind of money with Internet entertainment.  After all, College Humor, iJustine, and FRED are all making a handsome penny.

So why do others succeed where we failed?  They know their audience.  A messy battle of power, egos, and irrational condescension from one particular group under my power in the channel became the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  I spent hours and days selflessly offering my services to them, asking for nothing in return, and they thanked me by lecturing with false accusations while themselves ‘secretly’ condemning everything I was producing for the channel.

Just like my 33 1/3 joke likely would be lost on many, the productions this group was bringing to the channel were geared toward an audience of themselves, 60 year-old-men.  That audience simply doesn’t exist on YouTube, at least not for entertainment.  So why bother creating content for a nonexistent audience?  That’s where the power struggle came and that’s where the abrasiveness and irrationality become too much to deal with for mere dollars a day.

Whether creating content for television, theater, Internet, or even home videos of your family, you have to have an acute awareness of your audience’s tastes and tendencies.  Yes, Mr. Cosby, I know you can’t please them all, but you might as well tailor your efforts for the majority.  In this industry, it’s the only chance you have.

Never before have I dealt with a group plagued by such stubbornness and self-righteous attitudes.  Their demeaning words and actions became a broken record, and nothing I said or did could change their already made up minds.  It takes a lot for me to swallow my pride and walk away from something before I have tried everything to make it a success.  Numa Network may very well succeed one day, but the awful treatment I received from a ridiculously egocentric group isn’t worth any sum of money.  I’d rather be appreciated and poor, than rich and abused.

January 4, 2010

Goal 2009

“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.” – Ben Stein

If you haven’t seen Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, it’s worth 90 minutes of your time.  While Michael Moore is constantly praised for his truth-twisting “documentaries,” Mr. Stein is chastised for his much truer effort.  But I digress.

I like Mr. Stein’s quote about deciding what you want.  How true it is.  It brings me back to my earliest entries in this blog when I was defining my goal for 2009.  I didn’t set out to sell a screenplay or produce another movie or be cast in a major Hollywood film.  I simply wanted to create enough income to allow my wife to leave her job and stay home to raise our kids.

How short I fell.

Yet I made enough progress to keep going.  Many times have I prayed to have this desire lifted.  Instead the desire grows.  While I am not financially free yet, I have had many projects along the way to help pay the bills and reinvest in my company.  Creatively, I am not finding much fulfillment in the projects, but professionally, I am building a respectable portfolio.

How should I shape my goal for 2010?  Logically, I should lower the bar and make the goal more attainable.  Logically, my 2010 goal(s) should be realistic instead of the impossible goal of 2009.  Logically, I shouldn’t expect anything close to what I really want in 2010.  Right?

When has logic ever paid dividends?  My goal(s) for 2010 will be loftier than last year’s.  To paraphrase a popular US Army slogan, “The difficult I’ll do immediately… the impossible may just take a little longer.”

And along the way I’ll share my mistakes and successes, hopefully being of assistance to somebody else sharing the journey with me.

Dear 2010,

Please be good to me.  I’ll do the same to you.