Happy 2017, 2016 Recap

vintage style happy new year card with floral design

What to say about 2016…?

This is a question I have been mulling over between episodes of The Americans as I surrender to my end-of-year cold. On one hand, nobody opens a holiday letter to be reminded of the same world news they either read or avoid from plentiful sources throughout the year. On the other hand, it feels like I would be omitting something of essence if I didn’t mention that, this year more than any I can remember, I find myself ever more aware that the events in my own life happen in parallel with so many events in so many other lives – that for any moment of happiness for one person, is a moment of suffering for another.

I’m not sure what to do with that at this moment, other than to fervently wish you – and wish for us all, everywhere – peace, prosperity and hope in the New Year.

Here are some things we have been grateful for in 2016.

HEALTH: Good health is the best kind of luck, and Paul and I were both healthy this year, as were our parents and siblings.

TRAVEL: After a decade of renewing them, Paul finally used our Qantas Airlines points on a ticket to Australia. Though he didn’t make it all the way to our old hometown of Alice Springs, he did get to go on a road trip, catch up with some old friends in Melbourne and Sydney and eat at this fancy restaurant.

Paul with friends Christine and Safia “near a volcano” somewhere in Australia!

I, along with my co-writer, Janice, got to travel to a screenwriting workshop in Switzerland, and stay in a castle with other filmmakers from around the world for an intense 10 days, working to better our scripts.

Janice and I, getting notes from mentor David Field…

JOBS and WORK: Artists feel blessed when we find jobs that are engaging, and over-the-moon when we get to do work that aligns with our creative sensibilities. In 2016 we were lucky to experience plenty of the former, and even a taste of the latter.

In Hollywood-land, one of the hurdles for a writer or director is finding “representation.” In 2016 I  signed with a manager I’ve enjoyed working with for the past year, and with his help added agents to my team and embarked on my first “couch-and-water-bottle tour,” as they call the round of introductory meetings with various producers and companies. It’s an early step down a long and uncertain road toward employment “in the business.” Fingers crossed for 2017!

For the last few years I’ve been grateful to work with wonderful people at the Philosophy department at USC, so it was bittersweet to make the jump away to devote more time to my writing aspirations. My freelance landing was softened by opportunities to consult on a fun book, and to teach my first screenwriting class at a community college.

Paul also began working with a manager/producer this year, doing several script rewrites in 2016. He also taught a college class (“Understanding Film”) in the fall semester, and at the end of the year made it back into the director’s chair for a web-series that shot in Florida and gave him the chance to re-connect with fellow film-school friends based on the east coast.


A highlight of our year was attending the wedding of Paul’s brother, Pat, to his bride, Anh!

Paul, Pat, Anh and Barrington after the morning procession and tea ceremony. 

Especially during the holidays we feel lucky to have family near. Paul’s parents have visited several times this year, and that my mom will spend her winter here in Los Angeles. My niece and nephews grow smarter and more interesting with each passing year. Gymnastics, scouting and Minecraft are currently popular pursuits!

Family baking day at Grandma Smith’s!

And we are so grateful for our friends—local, across states, and across oceans! We don’t get to see you enough, but know that when we do, it will be like no time has passed!

Much love, and all good wishes for the upcoming year!

Barrington and Paul

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