Friday, March 23, 2012

lessons in leadership from a former pack leader

A few years ago I rescued two pitbulls: Diesel & Armani (formerly “Bronson” & “Gritz”) Each came with their own set of issues (besides having horrible names.) Diesel had been raised to fight and was aggressive toward other animals, while Armani had been diagnosed, treated for, and survived heart worm. Diesel lacked self awareness and didn’t play well with others. Armani had been caged for 6 months to allow the heart worm to dissolve before interacting with other dogs, making him the socially awkward only child. Diesel was the athletic knuckle-head who preferred to be the big spoon. Armani was the sensitive introvert who would often sit extremely still and look at himself in the mirror.

I’m not sure I was any better. I had just been divorced a year previous from the woman who I was expecting to spend the rest of my life with. I worked from home and lived in the suburbs with a huge back yard. It was time to have a family.

I knew that I would need to step up and be the pack leader for these two dogs if there was any chance of us leaving the house. They, like people, needed a leader they could look up to and respect. Said respect wasn’t granted right away. I had to earn it. I had to prove to them I was fit to be their pack leader.

Those two dogs taught me more about leadership than any book on the subject. Here are some examples:

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

“I think it’s the black lung, Pop.”

“Well your symptoms sound just like the flu: high fever, chills, aches, and now this cough. Let’s go ahead and test you for it and take it from there,” said Dr. Bethany. “I need to poke this swabstick pretty far up your nose. It’s going to be a little uncomfortable.”

She did and it was.

“Ok, give me 10 minutes and I’ll be back with the results.”

That was Monday. Day 4.


I don’t get sick. Well, I haven’t in a long time. The last time I can remember getting THIS ill was back in College. I used to have severe seasonal allergies, but they went away after moving to Tennessee (which is strange because this where allergies come to kill people.)

The week leading to Day 1 I had been getting up early to workout and staying up late to work on extra curricular activities. I was juggling three part time jobs, wrapping up the writing for a short film that’s now in pre-production, and getting ready for a table read of my first feature-length screenplay.

“Just make it to Thursday,” I kept telling myself. I just needed to make it to the table read and then I’d have the weekend to recover.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thanks for your rejection. Seriously.

Over the past two years I’ve had interviews with some amazing companies who all have something in common. They all told me no. Whether they actually followed up and said “Thanks for your time, but the position has been filled.” or left me hanging with no follow-up, they all said no. After two years of interviews and applications, and living in two major cities, I was never able to get a full time job.

Even STARBUCKS didn’t get back to me. Starbucks! And I’m a former employee. (I don’t understand it, either.)

I’ve heard it’s easier to get a job when you have a job. And from the look of it, and seeing my employed colleagues move onto new jobs, I can believe that.

To date, I have 164 emails in my “Job Applications” email folder. This contains both application notices and rejection emails.

This is not a pity post, or a plea for empathy. I honestly feel that I’m the closest I’ve been in a long time to doing what I’ve been created to do. And I wouldn’t be here (literally) if, say, Porter Novelli said “Yes.”

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

celebrate recovery

This is the opening sequence to a video I’m doing for Celebrate Recovery at The People’s Church. Due to anonymity, I can only show this opening sequence in my portfolio.

Celebrate Recovery Opening Sequence from Toby Sturgill on Vimeo.

Camera: Canon XF105 at 24 frames/second
Software: Final Cut Pro 7
Music: “The Healing Has Begun” by Matthew West.

Friday, November 11, 2011

design meets film

This is a pretty cool blending of design elements, 3D animation and film:

The Ambassadors Design & Animation Showreel 2011 from The Ambassadors on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the water and the blood

I love the look and feel of this video by Mark Cowart. The attention to the details of the room and not just a static shot on the person talking is super well done. Also? I’ve wanted to do this to my walls forever!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

nashville lifestyle wedding video

I love a good lifestyle video. This almost makes me wanna get remarried. Woah.

This is a great one coming from Feria Cinematic.

Monday, September 19, 2011

“Leave Me” short film

One of my new favorite shorts… A recent widower deals with his grief through his wife’s broken camera. One of the more original shorts I’ve seen in a while. This is from Ryan Dunlap and Daros Films.

What are your thoughts? What’s the meaning? Is there a message?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NEWSIES takes the stage

When I found out that they’ve made a stage adaptation of the 90s cult classic musical, “Newsies” I didn’t quite know how to react. I wanted nothing more when I was 8 years old than to be in that movie. And growing up in musical theatre meant I was always on the look-out for someone to produce it. And for me to star in it.

Well I guess that feeling has always stayed the same because while I’m mostly super excited about this new production of NEWSIES I’m also a tad jealous that I wasn’t part of it. I mean, I’ve been carrying the banner since 1993, y’all.

I feel like this is going to sweep Broadway and be a hit for years. Like The Lion King or Wicked, NEWSIES is a classic story with a older-millennial cult following. So, while I’m over not being in this production, I am SUPER EXCITED that there are people out there who are just as super excited and “get” NEWSIES like I do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

and I’m back…

Hello again! Much has happened between my last post and this one so I feel like a whole new introduction is needed. What would the trailer for this movie look like? My guess is there’d be a #filmcamp in Denver, a film conference in Ridgcrest, NCĀ  and a move back to Nashville.

After living a year in Northern Virginia and the DC Metro area, I’ve discovered that there really is no place like home. While I made some fantastic new friends and had some of the most memorable experiences I still couldn’t see myself in the DMV for much longer.

The time was right for me to leave Nashville a year ago and the time was right for me to return just last month. Over the course of that year I helped produce the Denver #filmcamp for Inside|Out Global and attended the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival.

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My dream is to be part of something bigger than myself and to influence culture for the greater good.

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