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October 25, 2018

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Nutmeg Gazette: "I'll Be Back" - Patrick Whalen

July 11, 2018

 I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I've been. 

- Winnie the Pooh


Guess I had to go to that place, to get to this one



By the time you read this, I will have started my new job in Atlanta. Yes, that Atlanta. 


About a week and a half ago I packed up my belongings and left my home of twenty-nine years for a new opportunity; trading in the Nutmeg state for the Peach state. All so I can have a job in insurance. Yeah, I left the insurance capital to find another position in the industry. Go figure.


My nine-to-five has always been in the insurance industry. I may have fallen into this world, much like I’ve fallen into the film world, but I enjoy it. No really, I do. There are interesting people and stories, and every day is different. Plus it affords me the ability to work with Nutmeg Institute and the 48 Hour Film Project New Haven.


In fact, working in insurance is similar to working in the film industry, especially as a producer. Seriously, just hear me out. In insurance you’re always trying to examine and mitigate the risk to the company, i.e. make sure they don’t lose money. As a producer you do the same, you examine scripts, cast, and locations to find the best fit, the ones that won’t misuse the investors’ finances.


But I’m not here to extol the virtues of the insurance industry. I’m here to say “I’ll be back.”


When I first found out about this new job, it was bittersweet; I felt guilty about leaving Connecticut. Both personally and because of Nutmeg Institute and the work we’ve been doing. It’s been an exciting seven months since we “officially” launched plus the countless months we spent working behind the scenes. We’ve done so much over that time - highlighting local creators with our Nutmeg Gazette and Conversation series, teaching young students through a digital media workshop, helping to produce NH Docs 2018, speaking at the Digital Media CT Kickoff, and, of course, getting ready for another 48HFP season. I didn’t want to leave and lose all that momentum.  


I trust Trish and Mike to keep things going and I know they trust me; if we didn’t we wouldn’t have gotten this far. And our team is growing too! We now have an excited and hard working group of interns ready to make their mark. I’ll still be around, just a lot less local. Nutmeg must succeed, for our current storytellers and, more importantly, the next generation. Thanks to the digital age I can do a lot of the same work just in a different location. And what better place to learn than Atlanta, the newest capital of filmmaking!


To use a sports metaphor, this is a lot like when Lebron left Cleveland (the first time) for the Miami Heat. He needed that extra level of experience before he could bring back a championship to his hometown.


I’ve been involved in the Connecticut film industry since 2009 when I first took part in the state’s Film Industry Training Program. I moved on to work with the short-lived CT Film Shorts and then to the 48 Hour Film Project New Haven and now Nutmeg Institute with a few shorts, web series, and music videos in between. I believe in a future in the film and digital media world in Connecticut. I’m hoping that the experience I gain with both my day job and whatever extracurriculars I can find down here I’ll be able to bring back and grow Nutmeg and our industry.


Whether it’s a year from now, two, five or even more, I’m coming home, ready to push our goals further. Until then I’m going to keep working and, as we say, keep it rolling.


Until next time.



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