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The Ruttle Report - Can it even be called 'leaving home'?

Strangely, I find myself having a lot of the same feelings I had 17 years ago
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As I type this out, my brother Brendon and I are in the midst of packing things up and making the move over to Outlook. It's the Friday afternoon before the Labor Day long weekend, and you can bet dollars to donuts that we're going to maximize the hours that come with that extra day off and put them to good use.

Cable TV's installed, the internet's hooked up, and we've got boxes upon boxes currently moving into the new pad. It's a busy time, but we're both pretty low-key excited. Signs of things to come, you know what I mean?

This process of packing things up and getting mentally ready to relocate is reminding me of the first time I left home way back in 2005. I was 20 years old and from my closed-in perspective, I was about to see basically another part of the world when I was getting ready to attend film school out in Victoria, British Columbia.

The journey that led me to that particular fork in the road in my life had started seven years earlier when I was 13 years old in Grade 8. My buddies Kevin, Brock, Lawrence and I made tons of movies for Language Arts class, and I fell in love with the process. As the years went on, I was 16 years old when I sat down and wrote my first-ever script, a horror movie that I called 'Sinners Repent'. That particular story, to my completely dumbfounded surprise, got the attention of an independent movie producer online after I posted the script to a website where you could download all kinds of story content. This producer, from an outfit that he called Paradigm, was interested in the story and was willing to offer me $1500 for it, but only if I was willing to change the ending to make it open-ended. In other words, write it so that a sequel could be possible.

I actually said no. To this day, I'm kicking myself for doing that. C'mon, what 16-year old kid from a small town on the prairies couldn't use $1500 and have his name attached to an indie horror flick? What kind of weird and righteous form of misguided integrity was I holding onto? I think it was just a newness to the situation, coupled with a complete absence of any true experience in the actual moviemaking business. For all I know, the producer might have had no idea I was only 16 at the time, so maybe this all wouldn't have gone down the way that he was saying it would if I accepted his terms. In the end, you live and learn.

Nevertheless, I was bitten by the movie-making bug and I knew that once I left the hallways of Outlook High School, that was the path for me.

From there, we flash forward to just before the summer of 2005, and at that time, I guess I was taking part in the "year off, gonna try and find myself" phase. I was a year out of high school and while I had my eye on a specific school offering exactly what I was looking for, I just hadn't made that big plunge into going about making it happen. But at this point, it was now or never. With that, my mom and I sat down and mapped out a plan, and as it turned out, I was headed to Canada's West Coast.

The Victoria Motion Picture School in Victoria had precisely what I wanted out of a film school and it promised to give me all the education I could ever need in eight months. That sounded good to me; essentially, it was basically the length of a standard school year. That sounded a lot more appealing (not to mention cost-effective) than the full year schedule that I was looking at with the Vancouver Film School.

Finally, in September, it was go time. With a minivan packed to the gills, I did my best to say goodbye to my brothers and my dad before Mom and I were on the road. Without a doubt, tears were shed on that day. They were tears of sadness, as well as not knowing what the future had in store. But it was time to give myself some much-needed life experience, and what better way than to stick a small town country boy on the West Coast out on Vancouver Island?

The journey out there was eye-opening, soul-enriching, and at times, even oddly funny. At one point, Mom and I wound up at the border crossing heading into the state of Washington. I guess we made a wrong turn somewhere...

When all was said and done, Mom and I made it out to Victoria, got settled into my modest, bachelor-style living quarters, and made the most out of the time left that we had together. Looking back on it now, I wish that time lasted so, so much longer. When the morning came that Mom had to go to get on the ferry back to the mainland, that was one of the toughest goodbyes that either one of us ever experienced. More tears, strong hugs, and words dripping with raw human emotion. As much as I didn't know what the immediate future had in store for me, Mom was just as worried.

And then - school began. I went, I met some very cool people in my class who I got along with great right off the bat, and in no time flat, I felt so much better and more at ease with this decision that I'd followed through on at that time in my life.

Looking back on film school, I have a lot of great memories of a lot of great times had, great projects that I worked on, and great people who I still keep in touch with to this day.

Now, in the past week, my brother and I have moved over to Outlook. I can't help but have similar feelings that I had when I was a 20-year old kid back in 2005, but from a much different and a much older perspective.

There's a lot to unpack right now, both literally as far as our moving goes and figuratively as far as processing the fact that I now call another place home.

I guess that's what we writers call a cliffhanger because you'll have to read all about it in the next edition.

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.