The Big Apple 2019

Every year I have the privilege of attending the press days of the New York International Auto Show. It’s fun, fast paced, crazy, and awesome all at the same time. This year was no less the usual - so here it goes! The last two years I have been attending with the Roadshow crew, and that has made the show even more meaningful and fun.

You can see all of the films I had a hand in making happen, right here:

Humira: The 3 month mark

Howdy all - here is another health update with Humira. It still continues to work well for me, and the injections continue to be no problem - expect one time 3-4 injections ago. My whole thigh went red and swelled up considerably…I made note of this and let my doctors know as I read it is one of the side effects. The only thing I did differently with that one was thus: my Humira Ambassador was watching me inject (they like to make sure you are comfortable with it) and this time I pinched my leg where I injected and immediately after went to play basketball for an hour. To me, I think I stirred up the medicine by running around right after and not giving it some time to disperse.

Anywho - other than that one time things continue to go well…I can tell the day I inject my Psoriasis goes down to an all time low and slowly makes a comeback right up until the next dose, so I feel like we are close to getting the skin clearer more consistently.

My doctor is pleased and we shall see what more he has to say later this Summer. For now, we keep going on this road…being vigilant and healthy.

Till the next update!

MC

...And The Dining Room!

I’ve been involved with the theatre since my freshman year of high school…so 2003…man, I’m getting old. 

For most of high school I thought “this is what I want to do”, but I soon realized when I was auditioning for colleges how many others wanted that same dream.  So, I found another passion of film and photography.  I now keep theatre as a very deep passion of mine, and have been lucky enough to portray some fantastic roles, and have two great venues near me to feed my passion.  The Dorset Players are one of the longest running community theatre’s in the country - they are going into their 92nd season this Fall!  A new player emerged closer to me in Bennington Community Theatre, and so far we have done two official productions under the umbrella of Oldcastle Theatre Company. 

Last December we staged ‘The Curious Savage’ to great success, and this Spring we brought A.R. Gurney’s ‘The Dining Room’ to life with roaring success.  

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A little backstory about ‘The Dining Room’, this play is originally written for 6 actors to portray over 50 characters, but Christine Decker (our rockstar director!) cast 14 of us to play the 50 characters, and that worked smashingly.  All of the scenes revolve around the dining room - naturally - and the vanishing culture of the upper middle class called The Wasps.  From the depression era to modern day, there is a long time span of the scenes, but all of the action of the play takes place in a single day.  With early morning light to start, and then by the end, it is time for an evening dinner party.  It is very clever.  

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We started rehearsals back in mid-February; with our performances coming up the first weekend of May.  With every production the director has a different process with the rehearsal process and bringing the play to life.  What I really appreciated was the process Christine brought to ‘The Dining Room’ as well as ‘The Curious Savage’ - instead of one quick night the do a read through and then getting right up and starting blocking, we took some time to be at the table and have multiple table readings.  For me, this helped get myself familiar with the lines a bit, before just getting on your feet still not sure what your lines are.  It also helped us explore these characters more, figure out more about their stories and connections.  These scenes only last 5 to 10 minutes, but there is so much crammed into that time, but also...what has happened to those characters before they graced the stage and what will happen once they leave?  Taking the time to do character development takes the level of your production up a notch!  

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Some rehearsal fun!

The Dining Room // 2019

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For 10 weeks we had a blast, putting a lot of work into this play, and I am very sad to see it end.  Everyone worked so hard bringing their characters to life, and it was such a pleasure to go to rehearsal every night with this group of fine people.     

Once we wrapped the table reads we began running the play, blocking it as we went.  Blocking refers to how we actors move about the stage during the scenes.  Do we sit?  Do we stand?  Do we walk around? Do we run?  Thankfully we have the script to guide us, providing an outline, and then Christine will tell us what she likes and what she doesn’t like and we adjust accordingly.   

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I would be remiss if I did not mention everyone behind the scenes bringing it all together.  From the set, to costumes, props, lights, sound - all essential in making a successful production.  We looked fantastic in our many, many costumes, the set was divine and the lighting was perfect (going from early morning light to evening light throughout the show if you were carefully watching) and helping us along, making our characters and the set more complete was the long, long list of props needed for this show.  Without the people helping behind the curtain these shows simply would not be possible.  

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Through this experience, and spending so much time with this group you become a family of sorts.  We care for each other, laugh with each other, and enjoy each other’s company.  We’ve spent so much time together, working on our baby (the play!)  that when it’s over...it’s as though that baby has now grown up and left the house...leaving us empty nesters, till the next production that is.  

This group of people is now part of my life and that makes me very happy.  That is one of the most beautiful parts of community theatre, or any theatre in general, is that you work with the group for so long and so often they become part of your life, expanding your community, your friends, and people you know.  Now you have more people to hang out with, do things with and you know you have things in common: your love for theatre.  

The stage has allowed for incredible things for me, but nothing beats meeting and gaining new friendships - they help us along in this crazy theatrical production called: Life.  I thank each and everyone of you for that.   

To us.

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Volvo for the Win!

I love the randomness of freelancing…I got a text at 7:45am on a bright, sunny morning a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to go to Charleston, South Carolina to film at the new Volvo factory to see how they make their new S60. Sign me up - this sounds epic!

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And epic it was! The weekend began on Thursday…I got in early and had time to stroll the streets for a few hours and then we all met up for a nice casual dinner up the street from our hotel. It was nice to meet everyone who would be joining us for the weekend, since I don’t get around to many of these press events, it was great to see who was here from the industry. Folks from Motor Trend, Forbes, NPR, and several other were in attendance…this was an exclusive group of about a dozen people getting this close to the action of making a car on a live production line. Incredible!

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Friday we were up bright and early for our big day!  I say our, but really for everyone who would go through the training and actually install a piece of the car…little did I know it would be a big day for me too…you’ll see.  Manuel and I drove our S60 to the factory, about 45 minutes inland.  Once there, Manuel began his safety training and a very fun team building exercise using marshmallows - watch the video below to see what I mean.  Then we were taken to another training exercise where Volvo employees work on wooden car models before getting to touch the real thing.  This section helps by letting problems arise and seeing how they can be fixed so they do not happen again.  Employees are encouraged to ask for help, as quality and safety trump anything in this industry.  Once they all got a taste for what working on the line feels like, we went onto the actual, live, production floor.  There are three main buildings on the Volvo campus:  A - this is where the bodies of the car are welded together, B - this is where the frame is painted, and C - this is called final assembly where everything is put into the frame...cables, engine, sunroof, front console, seats, doors, etc.  The cool thing is that through this entire process the car never sees daylight until it rolls off the line at the end. 

Manuel was set to report to the sunroof station, he would be installing his very own sunroof on an actual S60...with supervision of course!  He was so excited to be able to put his sunroof in, which he did without flaw and all green lights from the machine!  Remember when I said it would also be a big day for me?  Well, now is that time...I got the chance to sit inside a raw frame of an S60 to get a unique angle of the sunroof coming through where the windshield would later be installed.  

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Certainly the coolest experience I had all weekend - that is not something anyone else except the employees would be able to do, so thank you Volvo...you made this guy very happy indeed.

Here are some more images from our exclusive trip onto the factory floor...remember we are the first outside group to be on this factory floor...it was certainly an honor.  

One of the first outside cameras allowed in...Roadshow was the only media outlet that brought video!

One of the first outside cameras allowed in...Roadshow was the only media outlet that brought video!

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Yes, that blue strip is your side curtain airbags!

Yes, that blue strip is your side curtain airbags!

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Seeing how Volvo builds its S60 really put deeper appreciation in my heart and mind with the workers who make these safe cars everyday. Also it makes me really want a Volvo now! :)

Saturday was a nice calm day to soak in all the area has to offer, while driving an S60 of course! I was able to get some nice photos and b-roll of the car to have for our film. We also wrapped filming for Manuel with his wrap up taking place in the car. Then then fun of the evening began...  

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Our XC90 caravan that took us everywhere, felt like we were a big deal! We were off to dinner at a very nice restaurant with the Volvo USA CEO, who is an extremely nice man, and very knowledgeable of Volvo and the car industry. He and his wife are such great people, not only did we have dinner that night, but they sat down next to us for Breakfast both Saturday and Sunday. To see and talk with someone so attached to a company I admire was a huge highlight of the weekend.

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After dinner it was time to head to the Volvo Car Open to witness some tennis - in person! I was really crossing a lot of things off of my bucket list this weekend! :)

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New Motor Trend friends!

New Motor Trend friends!

The Volvo USA CEO, his wife, and assistant and the goofball on the left, me. :)

The Volvo USA CEO, his wife, and assistant and the goofball on the left, me. :)

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Our camera star - Manuel!

Our camera star - Manuel!

Sunday came early as I ventured out to a very quiet downtown Charleston to get some stills and B-roll of the S60.  I’ll let the photos do the talking...

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 Volvo knows how to put together a weekend of great experiences you’ll never forget.  This is about my second press trip with Roadshow, but I feel this weekend and everything about it will be hard to beat by any future press trip I go on.  Don’t get me wrong - I love going on these trips!  It is great to meet new people, learn more about the particular vehicle, and get some great opportunities for photos and video - but this trip goes even farther with the factory, actually helping to assemble an S60, the tennis, and meeting the fantastic Volvo team that was there. 

Let me just say everyone I met was extremely kind, funny, and professional.  From the lady who greeted me at the airport on my arrival to the driver who dropped me off to return home, and everyone in between.  I’m honored I got to be a part of this incredible weekend.  Many thanks to Roadshow and Volvo. 

Now, check out the film! :)

A Porsche Lover's Dream...

If you ever venture to Stuttgart...and you have the slightest interest in vehicles, particularly Porsche, I highly recommend stopping at the Porsche Museum. It’s beautiful. It’s fantastic. It’s amazing! It’s even better if you snag a factory tour like I did! 

Much to my sadness I wasn’t allowed to bring in any cameras on the factory tour, so you’ll have to use your imagination on that part, but I can briefly describe it.  Comparing the Porsche factories to other major manufacturers, it is very small in output and size, but still massively impressive!!

They are building a new facility which will produce the Taycan when that arrives in a few short years, other than that it seems to have been expanded as the demand rises, which makes it that much more of a unique factory.

My tour took me through the final inspection area, where the cars are checked before heading to their destinations around the world, the area where all the leather is inspected and then stitched for the cars, and where they build the almighty engines of these fine cars - all so amazing and immensely impressive!! Glad I got that opportunity to see how they are built.

A goal of having one is certainly a deep, burning desire! 

Now, as for the museum, a place that showcases Porsche vehicles from the beginning - yes even his tractor he built - is a car lovers dream...so I’m going to let the photos do the talking. Do enjoy!

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A Rising Star is Born - Late!

First, you’ll have to forgive my lateness with this update…plus I really didn’t get the blog going till January so I’m playing catch up! Anywho…here it is now.

Last November I attended the 2018 ‘40 Under 40’ Rising Star event for the state of Vermont. I attended this event as one of these Rising Stars! The process begins when Vermont Business Magazine opens up the annual occurrence with nominations. I was fortunate enough to be nominated twice. They receive between 250 and 300 hundred nominations, and the judges have the hard task of bringing that down to 40.

Of those 40, 7 were from Bennington…so we had a pretty good showing at the event.

My Dad doing a nice photobomb! :)

My Dad doing a nice photobomb! :)

The Bennington Group!

The Bennington Group!

Me and The Wife - she’s proud can’t ya tell? :)

Me and The Wife - she’s proud can’t ya tell? :)

The Govanator and I!

The Govanator and I!

Congratulations to all who took home this prestigious honor - we all do hard work to make Vermont a great place to call home.

Mike Cutler