Real-Time Distribution Case Study, Week 8: Success, Failure, & Dreaming

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Alien Toast, by Vince Rush, from Phoenix, Oregon movie

she is dancing on the edge
as i wake up in the mornings
holding out her hand
offering the promise of the future
to walk into the unknown together

she is rewriting the past
allowing me to let go
of past fears, pain and grief
for myself and others

a fresh start
a clean slate
a letting go
and a trusting
that i have held the pain
i needed to hold
that i was requested to hold


Which is scarier? Success or failure?

The fiery prong of failure is painful, but failure is often enacted in the solidarity of a community which cushions your fall with gentle, it’s-ok-baby arms.

I fear that success is lonely with an expectation of isolation and a swift, how-dare-you kick out of the tribe.

Success is antithetical to our biological instincts for survival.

Has our society sunk to defining success as a “greater-than” instead of a “rise-up-together”?

Must we practice straight-faced stoicism in a generation of plastered Facebook smiles and exotic beach splashing?


A few weeks ago, questioning our promotional plans, Flannery asked, “Won’t people be jealous if we post photos of our tour?”

Dagger to the heart.

Indeed, how do we promote without being artistic egoists? Will our (possible) success hurt people?

Fairness has always been my default since the days of burying a perfect exam from inquiring eyes.

I’m just now seeing it may reap the opposite effect, a rude stifling of all, not just myself. As I suppress my gifts, so too do I disallow and fail to acknowledge others’ gifts.

We are each uniquely meaningful.

Instead of fumbling in the darkness on hands and knees, might we each ignite our individual gifts. Just maybe, we can illuminate another’s journey and help a friend find their own flashlight in the otherwise dark abyss.

And in the glow of each of our unique delights, might not the world be lit?


Not yet sure if I will succeed with the stated plan, but am already experiencing some of the elements and distractions of success.

This blog has been interesting. People read, check the status of the release, and then they offer help. I am absolutely astounded and grateful. It is amazing and humbling.

Maybe my biggest tip to filmmakers releasing a film will be, “write a blog”? That’s pretty unhelpful. The blog is personal, twenty-five years in the making, and I couldn’t have exposed myself until now.

All the specific details of our release won’t apply to every film, but if we miss some steps necessary to your success, I still encourage you to jump in.

When I reflect back (from the future), the most empowering self-gift might be: starting, committing 100% — without knowing how it will all turn out, forgiving my mistakes in advance. What an incredible gift.


Adventure with me. Not on my journey, but on your own.

May my joy inspire you to take your own steps, climb up out of your stuckness and get going. Take a leap off the proverbial cliff, and learn as you go.

For all you dreamers and adventurers, and for my family, friends & mentors who have helped me find my flashlight, this song is for you…

Frightened Rabbit covering The Waterboys, “The Whole of the Moon”

♡ Annie


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