Making Dreams Reality

The Beginning

It all started in film school, I had a dream of a production company with the name of Just The Spinach Entertainment with so many ideas of how I wanted the company to be. I dreamed of a cultivating environment for people of all arts to collaborate and put themselves out there. After years of doubting myself – I am a creative after all – and working on anything and everything I can get my hands in while still paying my bills and writing my scripts, I found myself in a position where I could take the first step in fabricating my dreams.

The Next Step

Through meditation, writing, and positive affirmations (and lots of coffee) I built the confidence I needed to commit to myself; I bought the camera. I bought some lenses. I even bought a tripod and shoulder mount. Immediately, I started taking pictures and short videos to get to know my Canon and where it’s limits are. I became proud of my pictures and the footage I was compiling. I didn’t like the sound though, it felt boxy and canned. I invested in some sound equipment. With my office turning into an equipment shed, a few projects already in pre-production and a logo in hand I decided it was time.

Becoming Legit

After holding meetings with many reputable people and getting all my questions answered, I drew up a business plan and built my team with clear roles declared. I finally did it, I submitted my application for our LLC. Now Just The Spinach Entertainment LLC is a thing – it’s my thing and I couldn’t be more proud. I even own Justthespinach.com although though a website is still under construction, when it is complete I will share for your viewing pleasure. As I am sitting at my computer editing Monday’s footage for our upcoming web cooking show, Creative Culinations, I am in awe of the progress I am making. 

Whoever said create your own opportunities was right. Life is too short to wait for opportunities to come to you, you need to grab life by the balls and run steadily towards your dream. If you think life dealt you a bad hand and you don’t deserve it or it is too late to start working on your dream I am here to tell you that is false. It is never too late and anybody willing to put in the hard work and dedication can see their dreams come to fruition. A professor of mine whom I recently had coffee with gave me this great advice and I’ll admit that at the time I was skeptical. I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck hoping things work out for years, to be at a point where I own my own equipment and production company with multiple projects in the works is exhilarating – especially knowing where I come from. I won’t give up now, I can’t give up now.

Just The Spinach Projects

Creative Culinations premieres on Youtube and Facebook the first week of April, like our Facebook page for updates, recipes, budgets and cooking tips/facts. Just The Spinach is also working on two short narrative films as well as a short claymation film based on a passion character of mine named Robotica. Well, back to editing for now. Tomorrow will bring more filming for Creative Culinations and storyboarding for Robotica. Stay tuned!

The Ultimate Goal

In the future, Just The Spinach Entertainment LLC will have won awards for various projects in festivals across the world and have a studio space with a coffee shop attached that has a performance space for live shows. We will cultivate the arts in everything from dance to theater to martial arts and display them for the world to see. When our coffee house holds shows we will have a live feed for our audience that was unable to attend. 

What is your dream? What are you doing to make it a reality? Share your trials and tribulations as well as your success stories.

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Teaching in China

There are so many things to consider while realizing my need to teach english in China. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and plan on homeschooling my own children until they reach high school. In fact, while abroad I will be studying for the GRE to apply to grad school when I return for my MFA in Creative Writing – which is what I need to become a college professor.  I love the look in a person’s eyes when a concept clicks and they get that light that says they genuinely understand. It gets me fired up.

The thing about China is that I have never been to Asia or a communist country which poses completely different cultural norms and hopefully a huge shock. I’m ready for it and I need it. I yearn to make a difference in other human lives, this opportunity would definitely help bring that credo to life. The experiences of everything from Shanghai to the Himalayans makes me tingle inside. I want to know what life is like on the other side of the world.

What makes me nervous about China the most is that I’m a vegetarian and I don’t know any Chinese. Not even hello. I’m a pleasant individual overall so I think I will get along just fine and I plan on taking some kind of basic mandarin or something. Finding food I can eat to survive while I’m there is very frightening because I can’t say ‘I am a vegetarian, I do not eat meat. Dairy and eggs are okay.’

For a bit that was a deal breaker. Then I came to the realization that while living in the Netherlands I did most of my eating from a grocery store which meant visceral stimulation. As long as I can see it is a fruit or vegetable I am okay. I can cook rice and meals for myself at a lower expense as well.

Once that got me over the major hump, I stumbled upon a few youtube videos that shed some light on the experience for people who eat like me by people who eat like me. This one in particular I found exceptionally helpful:

So this is something I will be practicing for the next few months and am certain I will be referring back to once I get abroad. Now to think about how much I actually plan to bring with me and what to pack in. I was thinking of investing in a 60L pack or something and staying minimal. Perhaps a small checked bag for hygiene products to get me by the first  few weeks and a picture or two of my family.

xxx Sam

You Are Worth It

While driving around town today I couldn’t help but notice the amount of homeless on the streets. It hurts my heart to see so much pain. Recently I have been in pain myself as next week will be the anniversary of my father’s passing – again. Now I know everyone asks for money but I couldn’t help but think about how that can be ill spent so I decided to make some care packages. I had a jar of coins that were just waiting to be utilized so I found a purpose for them – and a great way to celebrate my father’s life. Eventually I decided to call it my You Are Worth It campaign.

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You see my father taught me very young not to judge a man by his appearance or current lifestyle because you never know what they have been through. In fact, my father was homeless himself for the last ten years of his life which is why I feel such a strong calling to help those in similar situations. See my dad was an addict and anytime I would give him money he would buy something he shouldn’t with it so instead I would go buy him some clothes and food and personal hygiene items. I took this into consideration after I exchanged the coins and made my list.

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With fifty dollars of what I like to call found money I went to the store and checked out the sales. I decided that I could easily make six nice packages with the deals I found and was impressed at how far I was able to spread my money.

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Each item was carefully selected.

  1. Toothbrush – Hygiene
  2. Toothpaste – Hygiene
  3. bar soap – Hygiene
  4. 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner – Hygiene/Convenience
  5. Water – Hydration in Florida Summer is imperative
  6. Emergen-C – Staying healthy is key to finding a job
  7. Slim Jim – protein/snacks
  8. Kashi Granola Bars – protein/snacks
  9. Mott’s Gummy Snacks – Morale Booster
  10. Double Bubble – Oral Fixation (helps keep the mind occupied)
  11. Mints – Oral Fixation (helps minimize hunger)

All six bags got one hygiene item a piece, one bottle of water, three packets of Emergen-C, two Slim Jims, two Mott’s, one pack of granola bars, four mints, and six pieces of gum.

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Now my wheels were really turning and I thought it would be great if I could send out a little inspiration to each person, after all the ultimate goal is to change lives. As I was setting everything up in my office, I posted a picture to social media and got some great response. It was touching because this is an issue I am passionate about. It was also interesting because it made me wonder how many lives we could all touch together. I created these little index cards to go in each bag and be the slogan of the project:

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My goal is to spread humanity and pay it forward by reminding everyone that You Are Worth It – no matter how bad the situation may be at the moment. Remind them that there are people out there that care about what becomes of them and give them the tools to succeed. The final product looks like this and will be handed out in my local community throughout the weekend:

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Interested in paying it forward?

Here is what I suggest: Save your change to change the world. Think necessities. Nonperishable food only. NO MOUTHWASH OR SANITIZER(these often have small amounts of alcohol in them)

If you want to contribute but don’t have the time to go through the coin exchange, shopping and  creation of the bags then shoot me a message. I’m glad to do all the hard work and hand out the bags, although it would be great to have people doing this all across the world. If enough people are interested I am thinking about creating a crowdfunding campaign or something so people could donate their spare change. Eventually I hope to make 100 bags a month but for now, 6 is a good start.

Also tag everything #YouAreWorthIt because every human life is worth it.

Independence Days Across The World

This weekend in America, we all engaged in the fourth of July weekend extravaganza we Americans love so much. But did you know that we are not the only people celebrating their Independence Day? There are five countries across the globe with an Independence Day between July 3 – July 5.

Bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania; Belarus lost around a third of its population not to mention more than half its economic resources during World War II and gained its independence on the 3 of July 1944. This marks the liberation of Minsk after several years of German occupation. Belarus was also a founding member of the United Nations in 1945. They celebrate their day with a military parade where tanks come through the town and end the evening with a fireworks display. Interestingly enough, they have a second working holiday in Belarus in April that marks the unification of the people of Belarus and Russia. (source)

Algeria is a country in north Africa that is bordered by Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Algerian people struggled for years to claim independence from France and finally claimed that victory in 1962, just fifty-two years ago. Algeria’s independence was recognized on the third of July but declared and celebrated on the fifth. They celebrate their national Independence Day with feasts and fireworks, military parades and cultural displays. (source)

A group of ten volcanic islands 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa goes by the official name of Cape Verde. A man named Amilcar Cabral led a movement to gain Independence from Portugal but was assented on the 20th of January 1973. His half brother, Luis Cabral culminated the movement to reach independence on the 5th of July 1975 – thirty-nine years ago. They celebrate with parades, fireworks, and traditional dance and music performances. (source)

Coming back to the Americas, Venezuela celebrates Cinco De Julio which marks their Independence from the Spanish Crown in 1811. Venezuela is bordered by Columbia, Brazil, Guyana and the Caribbean Sea. Their Independence Day is celebrated with family gatherings, cultural shows, street parties, parades, and fireworks. (source)

I find it interesting that across the world all humans enjoy celebrations in similar ways. Flashy displays and food. We really aren’t that different at the root of things. We all have the same basic needs of food, water and shelter. We all have a need to protect ourselves and the things around us. We all enjoy celebrations in the same way. These days are some of societies greatest gifts, they bring communities together and boost morale all around. It reinforces my belief in the One Human Family.

Just to recap:

July 3, 1944 —————Belarus

July 4, 1776 —————USA

July 5, 1962 —————Algeria

July 5, 1975 —————Cape Verde

July 5, 1811—————-Venezuela