- Category: Blog
- Category: Blog
- Category: Blog
That's right...for those of you who have been keeping score...Kiefer Shannon was born at 10:08 PM on July 12th. The delivery was without complications, and both baby and mommy recovered quickly from the ordeal. Kiefer weighed in at eight pounds, even, at twenty inches of length... “...and my life has never been the same!”
I'm not sure if there is such a thing as having too much information, especially when it comes to the health of your child, but I have learned that our experience into parenthood differs from many others out there. Being designated as having a “high risk” pregnancy, we went from bi-weekly visits to the doctor, to weekly, to twice weekly in rather rapid fashion.
Although mother and child were subjected to numerous tests, a strict diet and vitamin supplement regimen, we never felt too worried about the ultimate outcome, likely out of our trust in the professional medical team caring for us, the extent to which we educated ourselves about the process, and our faith in God.
We were fortunate to see numerous sonograms over the course of the pregnancy, far more than most parents are permitted, “just to be sure” everything was alright. Despite the “high risk” designation, we still planed for, hoped for and prayed for a natural childbirth. (As a side note, we attended “The Bradley Method” childbirth classes, which defines natural childbirth as that which has...preferably...no intervention by the medical staff, including internal fetal monitoring, intravenous fluids, epidural and the Hollywood-esque “stirrup” birthing position...to the point we laugh when we hear people who have “natural” childbirth with an epidural or other chemical assistance???)
The one strike against us for abiding by our birth plan was that Kiefer preferred to stay in the breech position throughout the pregnancy. We even tried all those “Old Wive's Tale” remedies: ice-packs at the mother's sternum, playing music at the belly, yoga positions, walking, pelvic rocking, etc. to no avail. Fortunately, or so we thought, we had an ace (well, actually two) up our sleeve. Two of the doctors on our medical team are the only two in North Florida who will attempt a non-caesarian breech birth.
When the Week 39 ultrasound measurements returned an estimated gestational weight of eight pounds, one of those two doctors cringed and said, “Well, we'll see.” (False encouragement, no doubt.) There were more tests that Monday, and we were advised to get a bite to eat before returning for some additional monitoring. Good thing we did, since all the collected data suggested birth was imminent, and since there was no evidence of dilation, preparations were being made for an evening C-Section. It was also fortunate we decided to make this day a “trial run” for packing the truck with all those “last minute” items needed on the day of the delivery.
While we began to accept this method of delivery, one of the doctors, fully aware and understanding of our desire to have a natural birth, offered a suggested course of action that would end in a safe conventional delivery. To ensure the safety of mother and child, the cesaerian procedure was still scheduled, in case the “cephalic version” (internal rotation) was unsuccessful. As fate would have it, the fluid levels required for such a version were not sufficient, but we appreciated the medical team being attentive and accommodating to our wishes.
Family and friends stayed through the evening to welcome Little Kiefer into the world. Daddy posed next to the nursery viewing window while his son received his routine treatments. Within an hour, the new family was in the recovery room, and not long after, in the maternity wing of the hospital, receiving guests. We are overjoyed about this new chapter in our lives, and we look forward to the challenges and accomplishments that lie ahead. Like most parents, sleep has a different meaning for us now, especially with this tag-team, pump-to-bottle feeding rotation we have employed.
Many people ask us about our son's name, “...as in Kiefer Sutherland?” Although the spelling is the same, the association ends there. Even though we consider Mr. Sutherland to be superb performer, are huge fans of the 24 television series, and Scott has, on several occasions, been compared to the Jack Bauer actor (we don't see it, but it's a fine compliment), Kiefer Shannon was named after his two great grandmothers who passed away in the last couple years, Edith Caroline Kiefer Alsnauer and Jeannette Shannon Smith. We had hoped he would at least be able to meet his great grandfather Raymond Muth Alsnauer, who passed away earlier this year. His remaining great grandmother Lilly Miller and great great grandfather Dudley Cassiday are eager to meet him.
In this digital age, protocol and common courtesy have become a bit skewed. In the last couple years, it seems to have become entirely acceptable to hold a phone conversation in the middle of a restaurant, whether it serves burgers and fries or London Broil. I kept my cellphone with me at all times during the preceding ordeal, partly to remain in contact with our friends and family, and also because it has become a standard pocket item, along with my wallet and car keys. When an incoming call rang in minutes before Layla was to be prepped for surgery, I kindly explained to Layla I will let it go to voicemail. She asked who it was, and when I said it was a talent agent from Miami, she instructed me directly, “You had better take that call.”
http://www.facebook.com/v/1332151991520 When I connected with Peggi McKinley and told her what was happening, she scolded me for answering the phone (good for her!), then proceeded to share with me an audition for the USA Network television series Burn Notice I could videotape locally and submit electronically. The only catch was, it was due by 3:00 PM the next day. Ever the Boy Scout, I happened to bring my video camera with me, but left the tripod at the house. After fashioning a platform out of one of those hospital tray tables and an over-turned trash can, I read my scene while standing over Layla, who read the other parts while holding Kiefer. That audition (done purely on adrenaline and no sleep) warranted a callback in Miami the day after we returned home from the hospital. Although I was not cast for that episode, I have since been called to audition for that series again, so there is something in my performance the producers like. I feel that the more I work on honing my skills, it is only a matter of time before you will see me on Burn Notice!
I finished last month's entry talking about the film project Rescue Me. Originally, the shooting was to take place the same week Kiefer was due (July 20th). I discussed with the director, and the original shooting schedule accommodated my personal priorities, for which I was very thankful. When our baby arrived a week early, that set into motion a very positive and encouraging series of events, since a potential conflict was completely averted. Layla's mother Jo Ann and brother Sam stayed with us and helped with the household workload, which gave Layla plenty of time to feed and bond with her child, and made me feel confident she was taken care of when I was out of town for this project.
My first day on set, I was impressed with the organization and level of professionalism of the cast and crew, which made me very excited to see this picture develop over the successive days and weeks. Some days, the production would face a potential setback (location suddenly unavailable, weather scrubbing an exterior shot, etc.), but the directing team of Paul A. Moore, Ric Viers and Thomas Griffin has accommodated each hurdle to keep the project moving forward. I have a couple scenes remaining, and should wrap within the coming week. Keep checking in from time to time to learn about release information later this year.
There were some wild scheduling occurrences for me at the end of July: I received notification from my Jacksonville agent Andrea Jones-Shiver about a callback in Orlando. She was a bit concerned, since the callback was on short notice; only a couple hours, which is sufficient for local talent, but not for those of us who must travel two hours to the audition. Fortunately, I was just leaving another audition in Orlando, so I could make the callback in time, before heading to Lake City for a film shoot that afternoon and evening. The callback paid off; although I was not cast in same role from the audition, I was cast in that commercial, and worked a long, fun day the following week.
Also, a change in the shooting schedule for Rescue Me (no relation to the television series of the same name) made me available to audition for Jacksonville's premiere improvisational comedy troupe, Mad Cowford, who since have asked me to join their ranks, and I look forward to my first performance with this group. I sure would appreciate your support, so stay in touch to learn when that performance might occur.
We closed the month bringing everything together: Layla, Kiefer and I made our way to Northeast Florida Regional Airport for a quarterly dinner hosted by the St. Augustine Airport Pilots Association. The entertainment for the evening: a special video presentation demonstrating how Academy Award-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker developed the flight scenes for the Martin Scorsese film The Aviator. As an added treat, the Oscar she won for The Aviator was on display, and we all took turns being photographed with it. Of course, the real treat was all our friends “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing over our new baby!
Scott J. Smith
- Category: Blog
- Category: Blog
It's great to be back in the Sunshine State! Most of the month of May was spent working on a live performance event for military contractor Allied Container Services. This is the same work I performed in October and November, and 30-40 of the Florida talent traveled to Wyoming to continue the National Guard training exercise. The balance of the cast was made up of local performers, including those from the "Free Range Regulators," a traveling performance group that produces gunfight shows.
Prior to my departure from Jacksonville, Layla and I volunteered as ushers for a matinee showing of The Maltese Bodkin at Theatre Jacksonville. I really wanted to audition for this play, to put my ten years directing murder mysteries and thirteen years performing in Shakespeare plays to good use. Several potential scheduling conflicts indicated I should not try out for the show, but at least Layla and I got to see this noir detective / Elizabethan hybrid.
We also caught The Clash of the Titans that day, and although we had not intended on watching the "3-D" version, that showtime was the most convenient for us. This is my first experience with the current generation of 3D, and my initial impression is that, although it complements the storytelling somewhat, it is hardly the quantum leap that sound and color brought to the medium generations ago.
Yes, I missed Avatar. I'm probably the only person on the planet who has not seen the James Cameron masterpiece. I never heard anything about it that made me want to buy a ticket. People kept saying, "...because of the 3-D, man!" It's got to take more than a fledgeling technology to get me excited about the movie-going experience. Give me a good story first, then I might be interested.
As for "Real-3D," I look forward to improvements of the system before shelling out 2x the ticket price to see the same flick with an extrapolated depth. While "flying" over sweeping landscapes was awesome and really made you feel the power of this new tool, it took me out of that "suspension of disbelief" during most of the scenes. Unless the technicians key the dimensions for everything on the screens, backgrounds tend to appear flat -- actual constructed sets appear as painted mattes in the final product. This was most notable early in the movie when Perseus was brought into the "Great Hall" shortly after his capture, and also later, when rock faces provided for a backdrop. Another drawback of the technology, is that it is hard to track fast-moving objects, so every fight scene, or character that passed quickly close to the camera seemed to "strobe," rather than have a smooth, fluid movement. Overall, the movie was a good retelling of the 1981 Harry Hamlin stop-action feature.
Getting to Wyoming was an adventure by itself. Some drove 2,000 miles over several days across our beautiful country (some through the Tennessee floods), while others, including yours truly, opted to enjoy the scenery in just a few hours at thirty-four thousand feet. We still had a three-hour drive from the nearest airport to our final destination, so five of us piled into a Ford Explorer to make that trek. Request to the State of Colorado: You might want to put signs along Interstate 25 northbound that reads, "Last Gas, Food, Water, Restroom, Cellular Signal, etc. For 200 miles," especially for us East Coasters who aren't used to being without such basic amenities for more than fifteen miles at a time!
We arrived at the Sage Brush Motel late that evening, and decided not to pack any more activity into this day. Fortunately, our call time the following day was at noon, which gave us ample time to finish settling into our temporary residence. Those who arrived a couple days early located Ben's Bar and Kelly's Bar, the major entertainment in this town, and used the morning on the first day to recover from their thorough investigation of these two venues.
On our walk back from work to the motel one day, Archie Cogollos and I noticed a regional track meet was being hosted by the town's high school, so we decided to check it out. I went, thinking this might be the only entertainment all month, but I learned Arch ran track in high school and was really admiring these athletes. Being out of town and knowing absolutely no one, we ended up cheering for absolutely everyone. We were there for about six hours. Our voices paid the toll for the next several days.
Something we were both amazed by, coming from hyper-sensitive Florida, in this town of 1,100 people who, no doubt, know everyone who is a local, not a single parent or coach challenged our presence. Archie said it best, "It kinda restores your faith in humanity!" Throughout the rest of my time there, I noticed, with great delight, the frequency at which strangers made intentional eye contact, accompanied by a wave, or a smile, or both! It was quite refreshing.
http://www.facebook.com/v/1282793117579 One of my roommates, Doug, encountered a local rancher, looking for a few new workers. The job offer sounded too good to be true...so you know where this is going. He promised an income potential in six figures, full-time, year-round, even though half the year would be “slow.” He would visit the hotel on a daily basis, inviting Doug out for a business lunch or dinner, to continue discussions. Half-way through our stay, we learned that this guy has swindled others...now, we had to figure out how to discourage him from his frequent visits.
Most nights, we gathered around a “fire barrel” and shared stories, discussed the day's job, joked, drank, ate, and otherwise enjoyed each other's company. It was a great way to wind down at the end of the day, and fostered a sense of community among us, which I am sure contributed to our overall performance for the project. Since we were portraying villagers, we essentially created our own village in a motel on Highway 26.
The fire barrel was the only amenity at the Sage Brush Motel...aside from WiFi connectivity, which we stressed every evening. It would have been nice to have modern climate controls, a solid roof, sheet-rock over the particleboard walls, insect-free carpet, permission to use the on-site laundry facility, and hosts that didn't argue openly with their customers, but being one of only two lodging locations in the entire town, you take what you can get, I suppose.
I brought some books and magazines with me, with the hopes of getting some long overdue reading done. In the first week in Guernsey, Wyoming, I finished all three books, and an issue of AOPA Pilot (the first time I read an issue from cover to cover in years!). After that, I occupied my free time by walking throughout the town, taking pictures and composing videos to share on Facebook.
Better Dads, Stronger Sons by Rick Johnson was a “father's guide” as told by a hunter who did not have a close relationship with his father, and only found God late in life. I had trouble relating to this author, since I was raised as a Christian, don't hunt, and have always had a close relationship with my own dad. Although it was a good synopsis of his own journey into fatherhood, it was more entertaining to read this subjective account, than an informative “guide.”
The Father's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Joe Kita, however, was fantastic read. Joe's use of humor and numerous, varied anecdotes made this a quick read and an enjoyable experience. Of course, 136 six-inch pages with wide margins also makes for a quick read, but the content on those pages is very informative and entertaining. After every couple chapters, Mr. Kita inserts “insights,” which are resources or two-paragraph stories he wanted to share about being a father, that don't really fit into any of the specified chapters. New dads, pick this book up!
I also re-read casting director Lori Wyman's The Organic Actor, an approach at auditioning and performing for film and television from the perspective of a seasoned casting director. I have taken Lori's Acting for Film weekend workshop, and many of the stories she shared then also appear in her book. Whether you are an actor or not, you would be amazed at the level of professionalism (or lack thereof) she has encountered during her years of casting for major motion pictures and television series. This book is a wealth of information that can be consumed in brief “nuggets” or as a cover-to-cover read.
On May 12th, it snowed. The roads were just passable, and this Florida boy packed for cool, but not cold weather. I managed by wearing layers under my costume. That morning, we had a snowball fight and made a two-foot tall snowman (er, um, Snow Woman...excuse me...or I guess Snow Girl would be more accurate, the only anotomical cues being pine-needle eyelashes). The military vehicles tested traction on the hillside to ensure we would be able to leave at the end of the day; of course, if it snowed for the next twelve hours, there was the potential we could be stranded. By lunchtime, however, most of the snow in our area had melted, but we heard from performers working at higher elevations, that they had 5-7 inches of snow, longer snowball battles and a life-size snowman!
http://www.facebook.com/v/1295499955242Coming from Florida, I'm used to the weather changing quickly and frequently. In Wyoming, the same is also true, but the terrain is much less forgiving. The clay roads are much less porous than the sandy “dirt” roads of the Sunshine State. After a drizzle, the roads become as slick as ice, and after a thundershower, the surface melts into a six-inch deep pasty, gooey mess. Half the vehicles we drove for this operation had four wheel drive, some of which worked intermittently. It was a gamble whether or not the two-wheel-drive vehicles could make the trip when the roads were in that condition. On those days, several vehicles were towed back to the “paddock.” When the roads finally dry, they're hard as concrete, shaped by the ruts created by the tires of all these vehicles, which make the surface even more uneven than the “washboard” dirt roads we Floridians are used to.
All-in-all, it was an educational and rewarding experience, introducing these troops to that “unknown” element civilian interaction creates during a military operation. Although the soldiers are quite proficient at various tasks, these live action scenarios force them to use their creativity, intelligence and reliance on communication and the chain-of-command to think “out of the box” to resolve issues that may not occur during traditional training programs.
It was great to get home, spend time with Layla's family (who were in town during my absence) before they left, and get back into my regular routine. I am back to auditioning for commercials and films, and have a couple potential website design clients. This past week, we had a baby shower at our church, and some friends are hosting another next week. Now that I'm home, I need to get to work preparing the nursery room for its imminent occupant!
Scott J. Smith
- Category: Blog
- Category: Blog
Isn't it March that comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb? I don't know...it seemed to end the way it began. Sure, the cold, rainy weather subsided, but everything else has been rather steady. I've said it before, "I love challenges." That's probably why I get involved in so many things, so I can accomplish more, and possibly learn something new along the way. Of course, I always task myself with so many activities, that managing my schedule is a challenge by itself.
The first half of March saw me scrambling to complete the video presentation for my church's 45th anniversary. Coordinating times to interview pastors and members early this month was very difficult, and rescheduling sessions, given the rapidly approaching deadline, was nothing less than nerve-wracking. Once I had footage of most of the interviews, I also had to shoot footage of the ministries discussed. I also learned that there were harsh transitions from one topic to the next, which prompted me to write in a narrator, ably performed by Advent Lutheran Church member George Howard.
Of course, as can be expected, I was called to a commercial shoot the day I planned on recording George's scenes. Claire Michel dutifully stepped in and worked with George that afternoon, ensuring I'd be able to use the much-needed footage. During the next several days, I slowly pieced together the 45-minute presentation, with breaks only for sleep, auditions and quality time with my wife.
Since I was working on software that was bundled with my laptop, some unplanned (but to be expected, I suppose) delays worked their way into the process. The Friday afternoon before the anniversary celebration, I began encoding the final product. My estimate for rendering the video was off by half an hour, which made me tardy to the "rehearsal" that night. After the computer started processing the file, I realized there were some inconsistencies in the audio I just had to correct, especially considering the acoustics of the space where it was planned to be shown, but I dare not interrupt this time-consuming process. Once completed, I raced to church with the video as it was, dropped off the "rough draft," and returned home to put the final touches on the presentation.
The anniversary celebration was a wonderful time. The food, lovingly prepared, was delicious; the emcees reminded us of the time when the church was formed; and the band entertained us with songs from that era. My contribution was also well received, and complemented those "Remember When..." discussions that were taking place during the luncheon. I had my camera with me, so I could share the event with people who could not attend, and returned home after the luncheon to assemble the new footage.
In years past, I utilized the full-service provided by Kingdom Tapes, a Christian-based business that focuses on premium audio and video equipment and services. While the quality of their products is first-rate, Layla shared with me a "Do-It-Yourself" online duplication service, whose prices, I seriously doubt, can be beat. Mind you, Kunaki is not intended for novices, but after your first experience with them, no matter your level of expertise, you'll definitely want to use them again. In fact, after producing the anniversary video, I uploaded previous DVDs I created.
I'd like to share with you my experience with Kunaki, but before I move forward, let me put your minds at ease -- I am not an agent for the company, nor do I receive commissions from them. Their prices are so low, they don't make enough profit to offer an affiliate program. When you first visit the site, you will be thoroughly underwhelmed by its text-only home page. No Flash, Java or ActiveX here. Navigation is clunky at best. On my third video, I still had to click around to figure out how to get my file uploaded to their server. I think I have it down pat now.
After you create your account, you must download their acquisition program. Power users might save this program to their computer for future use, but it's so small, I just re-download it from their website each time and select "Run," rather than "Save." It asks for publishing information about your project (Title, Run-time, DVD Region, etc.), and then asks for information to create the disk and cover labels and insert. You may select from their limited photo gallery, or upload your own images. A preview shows a sample DVD case, which you can turn over and look inside, to verify how your final product will be presented.
A word of caution before the next step: In regular type, indistinguishable from the rest of the instructions, is the statement, "Upload may take some time." This qualifies for the understatement of the millennium. Actually, I'm glad the application doesn't hoard all the bandwidth during the upload process -- that likely would have initiated some marital turf wars. Let me just say that, with DSL Lite (128 kbps upstream), it took nearly 24 hours per gigabyte (roughly 20 minutes of video). It was the better part of a week to get the file onto their servers. So, you've been forewarned...either have a super-fast Internet connection, or the patience of Job!
Once uploaded, you can order a preview copy for free. The free preview is one per account, not one per video; just as an FYI. You can order as many copies as you would like. The first ten copies are always offered at $1.00 apiece. Are you not floored? A fully duplicated DVD (or CD), with a custom label, cover art and insert, shrink-wrapped for one dollar per copy...it's nuts! If you need more than ten copies per shipment, the cost is slightly more...usually between $0.75 and $1.75 per copy. Typical handling time is 24 hours, and you have a variety of shipping options from which to choose.
As a matter of fact, if you would like, Kunaki will even set up a storefront for you (for free), where you can sell your DVDs and CDs online. They take care of all the order-taking, money-collecting, merchant fees, and handling and shipping...all you have to do is promote the link to your product or online store. To put this into perspective, some of the major players out there (Amazon, CD Baby, etc.) charge about $5.00 per item sold through their service, and you still have to provide the product. Kunaki charges nothing to list with them, does all the work for you for only $1.00 per item, which is automatically taken out of online orders, before a check or PayPal deposit is forwarded to you.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lhe4TQ2qoo]
This isn't just for my film-maker friends out there. Imagine making a fun home video to send as gifts, or if you have a recording of your kids' athletic or dance events, you can quickly and easily share it with the other parents (and make a little uniform/dance outfit money on the side), or create a video to help promote your home business via mail or at vendor fairs. Well, that's it. I just had to brag about this service. Again, there are no "kick-backs," but if you want to help out my church, you can order your own copy of Advent's 45th Anniversary or support Mike's Dog House with a copy of Save 2 Lives.
While we're on this topic, a very good friend of mine, Susan Carcaba, asked me to prepare a demo reel for her. She had new video footage of work she has done recently, and wanted an updated reel to promote her talents as an actress. Although this project wasn't nearly as complex as the church video, a couple of the segments presented some unique obstacles to overcome. Given the recent activity, I have considered upgrading to a more comprehensive video-editing suite...now I just have to choose which one...
Anyway, somewhere during all that, I was also able to shoot a promotional video for Winn-Dixie, and audition for several commercials, including a regional spot for Time Warner, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the television series Burn Notice. It was the first time I was called to audition for that series, and I am excited at the prospect of working with that production this season. Although I was not cast for that particular episode, I received a few candid, complimentary and encouraging words before I returned home.
...and talk about "biting off more than you can chew..." I worked on a commercial in Central Florida one day during March, when I had a live performance of "Death by Decaf" scheduled that same night near TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. Of course, you never want to press a director and crew to conform to your "personal" schedule, and then again, you don't want to slough your commitment to any production. I nearly got burned that day, and can only be very thankful that traffic along I-4 and I-95 allowed me to honor all my responsibilities. It was a learning experience, for sure, and I realize how lucky I was that I hadn't stressed either production's budget or reputation.
Layla and I also started car (truck, SUV) shopping, in part to prepare for toting a stroller, diaper bag and other baby-support equipment and supplies, at which neither her Mazda RX8 nor my Pontiac Solstice would be effective. Also, boarding and disembarking from either of our "sportscars" are starting to pose a challenge of a different kind for her. We found a couple used Ford Explorers (not a difficult task, mind you), which seemed to satisfy most of our requirements for a third vehicle, and at the end of the month, decided between the two. Since the purchase, a few "quirks" have surfaced, which we are dealing with now. (You get what you pay for, right?)
As a side note, we discovered those "techniques" people share with you about how to handle sales professionals really do work...even though it wasn't our intent to "play the game." We knew exactly how much we could afford (the most important and most difficult decision to make), and let the salesman know that number up front. He proceeded to show us a vehicle that was outside of our range. We reminded him of our financial limitation, after which he offered a test drive. The vehicle was quite sound, and was worth every dollar we were willing to pay, but not what he was asking.
Remember this: Car sales representatives work on commission. Their time is too precious to show you a vehicle they know you can't afford. If you say one number, which is lower than what is written on the car or truck and the salesman insists, he'll either have to show you a different vehicle, negotiate closer to your offer, or write off that very expensive time he invested in showing you a vehicle he knew you couldn't afford. I don't think you'll find too many who will take that big of a risk. He went through the typical routine of "going to talk to his manager," yadda, yadda, then came back with a slightly better offer, but still nowhere near what we stated was an absolute.
We continued our search, and since Layla's cellphone battery died that day, we had no way of knowing (until the next day), that that salesman called us back, very likely before we drove away from his dealership, with the number we proposed to him from the very beginning. Like they say, if you are willing to pay more, the dealer will gladly take your money, but if you stick to your budget, the vehicle you find will be a perfect fit, you can appreciate the honesty of the professional who worked with you on the deal, and you will have no regrets. In the end, we did not purchase that truck, only because we found a comparable one for a little less, but we appreciate that dealership working with us, even if it took us being willing to leave (and actually leaving) in order for us to see eye-to-eye.
Now, we move into April: The weather is getting warmer (hopefully not too warm too fast), students, teachers and other seasonal employees have Summer in their sights, and the annual frustration-fest called "tax season" has reared its ugly head once more. After all the receipt-hunting and mileage-tallying that consumes our time when preparing forms for the IRS, many of us look for a better way to manage our financial lives to make this time each year less stressful. Taking advantage of systems such as Quickbooks, Mint.com or (the soon to be discontinued) Microsoft Money are a great way to keep and organize records. I'd also encourage you to seek the advice of financial professionals who are familiar with the unique nature of your industry, to help you not only during tax time, but throughout the year to make smart business decisions.
After all, studies show financial concerns are the top stressors for most people, which can lead to health concerns and negatively affect our quality of life. To lead a long, happy, healthy, fulfilling life, eliminating (or at least reducing) such stressors are an essential first step. Something to chew on until next we meet...
Scott J. Smith