I'm a huge Tolkien nerd, and it may be what I'm most proud of 'cause of the amazing change it made to my lifestyle.
A good transition from one point of fandom to another is making my TheOneRing.net (TORn) account and seeing a webseries on YouTube called Happy Hobbit; two more enthusiasts expressing their love of Middle-Earth in different ways. I became an immediate fan and (after posting some of my music videos on their Facebook page and getting positive responses) was asked to edit a flashback video for their year-one episode. You have no idea how excited I was to get that message. Before it aired I asked if there was gonna be a Beorn/honey episode, saying I'd be tempted to show up myself if I wasn't on the east coast. When the year-one video DID air...
"His name to the outside world is Derek, but we shall introduce him here to you as Beorn."
:) 'Yep, it's official.' I thought. 'Got a nickname now.'
In Middle-Earth, Beorn is a skin-changer who lives in a wooden house
he built. He takes care of horses, cows, sheep and dogs, and does not
eat or hunt animals. He also keeps big beehives, and lives mostly on
honey, bread, nuts and milk. (Like me! So, he's kind of a picky eater)
he's a huge black bear, sometimes he's a great strong man. The bear is
unpredictable, but the man can be reasoned with."
I think he's a
fascinating character in the story, and one of my all-time favorites. It
raises my curiosity of what we'll see of him in the next Hobbit movie. I
bet next time we see him he'll be in his huge bear form killing orcs.
I got the chance to appear in Happy Hobbit's Thanksgiving special by filming my own footage and sending it to them so they could edit it together. Then I decided to do a spinoff TORn series with different topics from the other side of the country.
I couldn't quite come up with a title for it though. At first I thought "Beorn's House" but then when people talk about the second Hobbit film they would be saying the same thing, so I went through a few other ideas before lowering it down to Beorn's Tent.
It was after I was taught how to set up a tent that I thought of the name, that maybe I would be living in it some of the time, or just to let it represent simplicity.
Beorn's Tent feels like doing my own thing and at the same time teamwork. This is me representing TheOneRing, showing topics I know about and can imply Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to.
Since I do it at home by myself, that saves me the trouble of working out any scheduling conflicts with siblings or friends.
Plus I get to make up a few bear extras like Arg, and Arg Jr. (aka "Milky") using bear sound effects.
So far so good, I've made several episodes and have gotten some online fans of the series. Not many, but it's a start. Quicker than I expected actually.
The wooden badge around my neck is another reminder of this. Like I'm "one of them", "welcome to the club" or something. Another one of those dedicated fans on TheOneRing with a love of JRR Tolkien's and Peter Jackson's work.
Definitely as a writer, filmmaker and outdoorsy guy, this whole experience has been great. Especially since The Lord of the Rings is what sparked my interest in making films, and the Hobbit production blogs taught me almost everything I know about behind-the-scenes business.
Keep your eyes out for more, and "be careful if you have man-bears in your woods."
May your days be filled with milk and honey!