The moment.

In addition to the obvious, “Seeing my children be born,” I realized last night that I’ve had the good fortune to experience some pretty cool things.

I got to walk the red carpet at Mann’s Chinese in front of Will Ferrell at the premiere of my movie, Old School, while a bunch of college kids on either side went nuts. At the time, my heart was beating so fast that I had to go to the bathroom and throw water on my face before I took my seat because I thought I might pass out.

I got to stand on the coast of Nova Scotia with Colm Meaney and my entire family as the director, Adam Massey, yelled, “Action!” on my independent film, a Lobster Tale, after ten years of watching the script fall in and out of “option.”

And just last month, I got to share the Audience Award for our film, Free Throw, won with about a hundred of my high school, college and work friends at the Boston Film Festival.

But I think the single most satisfying moment of my life took place two days ago at the Manhattan Beach TEDx event, Journey To Purpose.

It was partly being asked to be part of a dais of that included everything from a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, to the former ambassador of Uruguay, to someone who works with NASA’s aerospace and science technology. This group was so inspiring, yet humbling, and I couldn’t help but feel like a kid who had snuck into the party through a back door that some dishwasher accidentally left ajar while he was on a smoke break.

It was partly knowing that I was able to fight through my nerves and use my eight-and-a-half minutes to make a presentation that lived up to what I rehearsed in front of my dog. (I can’t tell you how intimidating it is to have no cue cards, multiple cameras, four hundred people and a giant digital clock that is forever counting closer and closer to “zero” from the moment you take the stage.)

Mostly though, it was simply realizing that this project that meant so much to me had, indeed, struck a universal chord. People laughed. People cried. And to my amazement, when I left the stage, they all stood and applauded. Walking back onto that stage was one of the strangest, most wonderful, out-of-body experiences I have ever had.

Thank you to John, Marla, Denise and everyone who helped make it a reality. It’s something I will genuinely never, ever forget.

3 thoughts on “The moment.

  1. I’m really happy for, and very proud of you, brother. Can’t wait to see and hear the presentation. Sorry I couldn’t be there live to support you the way I would have liked. So glad to know it went great for ya, I knew you were going to do a great job! <3 love.

  2. Hi! My mom (a Manhattan Beach school district teacher) and I saw you speak at TEDx. We’ve retold your story to everyone who will listen and we each tear up still when we tell it. So thanks for that. (Even as I write this I want to give you another standing ovation at my computer!)

    I write to you because Innocence Matters, an organization I work for, just had our first exoneration of an innocent man after 19 years of wrongful imprisonment. I know you must be very busy, but I was hoping to ask you (by email is fine) a couple questions about fundraising and, at the very least, I want to extend you an invitation to John’s Welcome Home Party on November 10th in Rancho Palos Verdes. You’re an inspiration.

    My email address is jfarris65(at) I’d be incrediby grateful for just a couple moments of your time. I’m already grateful I heard your story.

    All my best,


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