We’ll always have Paris – and pancakes | Chuck's World

By Chuck Sigars | May 21, 2014

I took some time off last week, not a lot. About four days, really, and closer to three because Mondays are always crazy. You know Mondays.

But I had a bit more free time, which was nice. I organized a few things. I worked on a couple of projects. I made pancakes every day.

The weather certainly cooperated. It was beautiful for most of the week, as I’m sure you remember, and I got some lawn work done and some nice walks around the neighborhood. It was serendipity, I felt, having nice weather.

Oh. And something nice happened to a family member, which made me happy. Could have gone bad, went very well. Can’t complain about that.

Then there was an old friend, calling me from several states away on her commute to work, stressed and anxious about a big presentation she was about to make, looking for moral support or words of advice, something.

I said a few dumb things, just trying to be of comfort, and it seemed to cheer her up a little.

And a couple of hours later, I got a short text message from her. Nailed the presentation. Big time.

So it seems to me that maybe I should take more days off. Obviously the world works better when I have more time.

At least this is my working (or non-working, I guess) theory, which I shared with many people over the course of my week. Including a couple of good friends over a celebratory dinner on Friday night, but now I have to explain about Arthur Allen.

I wrote about Arthur and his project several times over the course of last year, but it’s been about eight months since the last time. Some events have occurred.

To catch some of you up: Two years ago, a young writer, actor and filmmaker named Arthur Allen asked me to read a screenplay he’d written and wanted to produce.

Arthur had taken a hard look at the state of moviemaking in the current climate, and since his script didn’t feature Iron Man or any conceivable role for Bradley Cooper, he decided to do it himself.

Technology and an open content delivery network (i.e., the Internet) have made it possible for independent filmmakers to distribute their films to audiences all over, although to be fair the audiences will be very, very small and mostly family.

Still, hundreds of independent films are being made in this country every year, and occasionally a few jump out and garner some attention.

Arthur needed an older man for a part in his film, and through a network of interconnecting relationships that almost resembles “six degrees of separation” but mostly involved my daughter, he asked me to play the part.

I mostly had to grumble and look old. It wasn’t all that hard to imagine.

We made this film, then. For about five weeks last summer, we shot this little movie, all here in Washington, from the streets of Ballard to Lake Forest Park to Old Town Mukilteo to the North Cascades and many other locations.

I had a great time, although I had no idea what kind of film it would turn out to be, or when it might be ready to be seen.

Since August, Arthur Allen and his crew have been assembling and editing. We re-shot a couple of scenes in late fall. I spent more than a few hours recently in a recording studio, re-recording dialog that had been muffled or covered by wind, or otherwise needed work.

In the meantime, Arthur had quit a good job, sleeping on the couches of friends and eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, trying to finish his dream.

He scraped up entry fees and submitted rough edits to several film festivals, and received several rejections. He kept plugging away.

Arthur Allen turns 30 this year, an age group that it seems I’ve been writing about lately. It happens; a theme sneaks into my subconscious and forces its way into my fingers.

A lot of this could just be me. Having spent a lot of time in the past year with young people of this generation, I’ve not only developed an affinity for their passions and talent, but I can’t deny the warm and fuzzy nostalgia.

I remember, barely, being that young and having those dreams. And I remember the disappointments, and the rejections and moving on.

Hundreds of independent films are made every year, did I mention that? And out of those hundreds, four of them in the post-production state have just been selected to represent the United States at the 2014 Champs-Élysées Film Festival in Paris next month, to be screened by European distributors. Out of hundreds of films. Four of them. Representing America.

“Winning Dad,” written and directed by Arthur Allen, who grew up (in part) here in Snohomish County, graduating from Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, is one of the four. Of course. You figured that out.

So we celebrated Arthur’s success last Friday night, and I considered the vagaries of fate, of destiny, of dreams. Of taking a few days off, and watching good things happen.

None of this has anything at all to do with my little mini-vacation, of course. It’s just a little joke, a fake philosophy. I mostly just got good at making pancakes.

But somebody’s getting on a plane to Paris next month, and that became a reality last week, and you have to at least agree that the weather was nice. I may re-evaluate.

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