So...some big news around these parts. I've started my own company. It’s a storytelling company. It's called Written Out Loud.
That paragraph took me about a year to write. I started writing it, in a sense, when I launched this blog last August. In my first post, I announced proudly that I was “pushing myself out of the nest.” And off I blogged, happily writing away for over a year.
And yet in truth, I remained hidden - tethering myself to the safety and ceiling of my day job. I hadn’t truly pushed myself out of the nest. Not yet.
So then, a little over a month ago, my boss called me into her office.
My boss is a pretty incredible human being, one of those rare people who actually deserves the accolade “force of nature.” She had given me just about everything a filmmaker could want: great projects, terrific colleagues, a steady paycheck. The day she called me into her office, I had been working for her for almost exactly three years.
She sat me down, closed the door, and said, “You need to go.”
And lo did the elephant of fear gently lower its ass upon my chest.
She kept speaking, as the high-pitched hum of terror rose in my ears. “Josh. JOSH. Chill out. Drink some water. Listen. You know I’m right. You know you need to go. You need to start your own company, you need to start, you know, flapping your wings and shit. You’ve been dreaming about doing this for like a year, right? JOSH, get up off the floor. You’re going to succeed, OK?”
She looked me right in the eyes. She meant it.
“I’m not going to ditch you, OK? I’m not firing you. I’m giving you what you want. I’m telling you to get the fuck out of here. You're not going to know what you can do until you do.”
Some day, boss, I am going to find a way to thank you.
So now - holy shit - here I am. It’s a little over a month later. I have two kickass employees, three remarkable clients, and 67.5 square feet of office space. (We work out of one of those newfangled cut-all-the-fat shared work spaces called Green Desk.)
Great Leaping Christ, I have a startup in DUMBO. I am a terrifying hipster cliche. I am surrounded by young brownish body-pierced Brooklyn twentysomethings passing me in the halls, to whom I probably look like Gandalf the Jew.
I am flying and falling, and I know this is the point, this feeling of not knowing if down means up, of not knowing where I’m going to land, or even which direction I’m supposed to be flying.
Actually, that last part isn’t true. I know which direction I’m flying. Because I’ve been rehearsing that part for awhile now. So, here goes.
My company is called Written Out Loud. If you’ve been reading this blog, you may remember why that name means so much to me. Because it’s the only thing I’ve ever actually learned.
I believe if you want your story to speak to people, you have to start by saying it out loud. When the person you’re telling your story to forgets that they’re alive for a minute or two, you’re on your way. That’s how stories are born.
Written Out Loud is a storytelling company. Our mission is to tell stories that matter. We believe that story formats are changing rapidly - hello, streaming and snapchats and augmented blah blah blah - but story form is not. At the heart of every great story is its campfire story. We believe that truth to be undisruptable. So that's what we're going to make at Written Out Loud.
Whether it’s a movie or a novella or a serialized podface VR implant, The Shawshank Redemption will always be The Shawshank Redemption. And Red’s walk along the beach towards the friend who gave him hope will not only refuse to diminish in power, it will grow in power. Because we now live in a world that needs stories that matter more than ever, stories that force us to confront the darkening world we live in, starting with the world's darkest and most mysterious corner, ourselves.
OK: enough sales pitch for now. :) I’ll have lots more to say in the weeks and months to come. I couldn’t be more excited about the first few projects we’re lucky enough to be working on. And if you have any stories you're interested in telling, whether it's a documentary or a TV series or a podcast or whatever, a story that's been nagging at you inside your chest, about your dad or your dog or your company, hit me up. I'd love to help you tell your story, however I can.
Most importantly, I want to thank you for reading and supporting this blog. Your responses and side-texts and attaboys - and even your quiet, steadfast readership - have given me the strength to make this leap, into the 67.5 square feet of my dream.
I have no website, no logo, and no rate card. My email is still my old gmail. I am launching this company quite literally along the invisible but powerful cords of my relationships. Especially my relationship with you. I'm going to start telling original stories again, and you are going to be my first audience, support system, clients, and focus group, because you are the ones who have been here for me from the beginning, around this campfire.