About three weeks ago, I was contacted by one of the producers for a virtual reality documentary debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival called ‘Blackout’
They had come across my coming out story which I shared last year here and were interested in interviewing me for the project.
According to the description at the film festival’s website, “Blackout is an ongoing participatory, volumetric VR project gathering the reflections of real people living in today’s tense political climate through the lens of the New York subway. By creating a rotating, ‘crowd-sourced’ cast, Blackout addresses the impossible task of representing the extraordinary breadth of human experience in New York City. Each viewing of Blackout is different, surrounding you with a unique group of straphangers taking you to the places their minds go between destinations.”
Here I was, just a boy, now 42 year old man, from the South Bronx where I still reside and I was being asked for an interview for a virtual reality documentary premiering at one of the most visible film festivals in the world.
My life has taken me through many surreal and exciting journeys but this one seemed to be the biggest one of all.
And all this began because I started Welcome2TheBronx to share my love for the borough that made me.
8 years ago I never thought I’d be here still sharing the stories that I do. Sharing some intimate moments of myself such as my battle with mental health with my anxiety and sharing my coming out story.
Heck, in the thousands of posts I’ve written on this website alone, I’ve only written about myself on 4 occasions.
Fact is, writing about myself is the hardest thing to do for me, this post included.
But I’m here to tell you that all our voices matter, that it’s important to tell our own stories for someone is always listening and you never know the lives you may impact and help.
After my initial interview with Scatter Studios, they decided to take it to the next step and conduct an audio interview as well as record me using a proprietary virtual reality system they developed.
Again I found myself in a state of shock that I was going to be part of such an exciting endeavor and that my story mattered and was seen important enough to showcase to the world.
And The Bronx was the costar to my story.
I didn’t share this with anyone, not even my parents until after I finished my audio interview and virtual reality recording.
During the interview I was lost in the moment as I sort of spoke almost in a stream of consciousness style with some guiding by the interviewer.
We got into some heavy stuff regarding my coming out experience and basically was the part two of that story which I almost published here last year as part of the original but I decided to save it for a later date. (I will eventually share it here bit not today).
There was a lot of crying from both sides during those hours which further made me once again think, “How did I get here?”
I thought long and hard about this question long after I left the studio and the answer came to me. Yes, I have been writing extensively now for 8 years on The Bronx but without you, the audience and supporters, I wouldn’t have been there.
Because of every single one of you throughout all these years, you are all as much a part of this journey as my own experiences that I shared.
Yes, it sounds cliché but it’s true.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for sticking around with me especially when we don’t agree.
Thanks to my parents most of all for the love, support, and everything they’ve taught me.
I’m just a guy from the Bronx who happened to get lucky. I don’t feel anything special other than just fortunate.
Fortunate to go to the Tribeca Film Festival this week and catch a documentary that I’m a small part of.
Thank you all.