As a child, I thumbed through old copies of National Geographic magazine in our basement, whisked away to exotic locations by the stunning images contained within each issue. My dream growing up, like Cristina’s, was to work for National Geographic.
I imagined myself donning a safari hat, braving unseen dangers lurking around every bend. My young sense of adventure and imagination transformed me into a world traveler whose feats inspired legions and cemented my rightful place in legends passed down through generations.
Many years later, our dreams came true. However, replacing my safari hat was a respirator mask and the sweat dripping down my brow was not due to the humid climate of some exotic jungle I was trekking through, but rather the result of working in the back of a box truck in Queens, NY.
Yet, I couldn’t have been happier. How was it that I, who possessed such lofty goals as a child, had ended up here as a grown man and somehow was not only enjoying myself but, would proclaim I was “living the dream.”
As I get older, a funny thing has occurred. I seem to have learned some valuable life lessons and matured.
I’m reminded of the last 3/4 of one of my favorite poems ever, If by Rudyard Kipling.
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
We feel honored that the extremely talented team behind the New York based production company, Variable, believed in us enough that they asked us to join them in the task of creating the promo campaign for Killing Lincoln for National Geographic. The drive and passion that fuels these guys is contagious. It was impossible not to want to jump in and take any role we were given and not only do it but, to do it with a sense of pride. A sense of being part of something larger.
Cristina’s main role on this job was on the production side and I did a variety of things, one was assisting Art Director, Joe Sciacca with the set build. We never felt like we were doing grunt work or menial labor. We never felt unappreciated. We felt like equals. We felt like we were helping to put a piece of a puzzle together. That’s a testament to great leadership, a lack of egos, and collaboration in the truest sense of the word. We were under a tight deadline with the set build, and at the end of a particularly long day, my body was sore, I was dirty and tired and I’d given it all I had.
However impossible it may have seemed at the start of the day, we made it happen. I felt an incredible sense of joy in a job well done, a sense of accomplishment. I felt like there was nothing that could be thrown our way that we couldn’t tackle. That we could do anything.
So there I stood, not in some exotic faraway land. I wasn’t in peril in a volcanic region of the Andes, or filming the Emperor Penguins in Antarctica. I was standing in a nondescript location in Queens, NY. My work done for the day, I cracked a cold one open and thought, “Man, I’m living the dream.”
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