EXTRA EXTRA: Doc airing on PBS Reel NW
July 19, 2016
A Lot Like You will air as part of Reel NW on KCTS. Info HERE.
Coincidence Alert: Exactly six years ago today I posted that I had completed the score for A Lot Like You. And what's more, I looked back at the email trail for the project to discover that my first meeting with the film's editor, Eric Frith, took place exactly eight years ago on 7/19/08.
And if that's not enough, the date of the screening tomorrow night would have been my biological mother's 68th birthday. This is of note since it was my involvement in Eliaichi Kimaro's film that inspired me to search for my biological family. I've copied the soundtrack album bio below that tells the story.
This gig changed my life—not in some surface-level career way (even though by completely giving myself to the documentary feature, A Lot Like You, I earned my first film producer credit). The change I’m talking about is bigger than a resume. It is, to quote the film, one of “real lived life.”
It began when I checked my email one afternoon in September, 2009. I had already been working as the film’s composer for over a year, creating a catalog of musical sketches that editor Eric Frith was using as a temp score alongside a handful of instrumental mixes from my album, Under The Waves. Eric and director Eliaichi Kimaro had already been cutting the film for four years—on and off—when it took an unexpected turn. In that turn, they discovered the heart of their movie. Next, Eli was faced with a big choice: how much of her own story would she share? She worked through that decision by writing in her journal. And on that day in September, she addressed an email to me, attached a couple of documents and clicked “send.”
Having recently turned 40, I had been examining issues concerning identity and sense of self. And while questions raised in the film about what gets handed down from one generation to the next were especially intriguing to me, I had barely scratched the surface of what any of that really meant in my own life. But reading Eli’s intensely personal, unedited journal entries shook me to my core and inspired me to do some digging of my own. It took time, but after some unbelievable coincidences and a random computer glitch, I unearthed a big piece of the core that I’d been searching for: my adoption.
What followed was incredible. I began to learn how my adoption experience helped shape who I am today. I searched for my birth mother only to find that she had died just months earlier. As I wrestled with the perplexing grief that followed, I also discovered an instant bond with my biological Grandmother and Uncle, which is the stuff of fairy tales. Visiting my new family in the hills of Appalachian Ohio—where my people have lived for generations—I felt a sense of connection to place I never before imagined possible.
Meanwhile, A Lot Like You continued to take shape, giving me the perfect musical outlet for the complicated mix of emotions I was in the thick of. Eli and Eric needed music that could walk a thin line between the bitter and the sweet, and I never had to work at finding that line. I was already there.
There is a lot more to my story, and it’s still unfolding. For now we have Eli’s film, and as a companion piece, this record. But who knows, maybe one day there will be a new film, a sequel called A Lot Like You Too.