Part 9: Shamus Gets All Sentimental. OR. Get To The CiTy Rangers, And Hurry!
During the long stretch waiting for Dante to finish the sound effects, I had gotten a new job and finally found a little stability in my life. I was still depressed as fuck, but I finally had time to take stock of the situation. I was not well. Thinking about DYING all the time really isn’t healthy, just so you know.
So I finally went to a therapist and didn’t bail out after six sessions. As I said on my first day, “I don’t wanna be fucked up and forty.” It wasn’t easy to open up, especially when my coping tactic up to that point was to act like everything was fine.
No shocker, but confronting all the shit you’ve dealt with in your life is tough. You think you’re going in for one thing, but soon you’re dealing with shit going all the way back to your childhood. It ain’t fun.
I liken it to climbing out of a very deep hole. Whether you got yourself in there or not, it’s on your ass to get the fuck out. I managed to do it with a lot of work and introspection. That and mountain hiking. All my problems haven’t gone away, but I’m able to deal with them much better then I ever did before.
Thanks to that? I didn’t need a web series to keep me going. I started to like myself. Hell, I started to love myself. I gained a new confidence. I was a completely different person. I was happy to be alive.
A few months later I went to Jared’s wedding. A ton of the 21 JSR cast was there and it was great to bask in not only the joyous occasion of Jared getting married but also the accomplishment in getting 21 JSR done. Okay, that second one was really just me. Pretty sure everyone else just wanted cake. Whatever, we still took a lot of awesome selfies. While we had drifted apart, we still had (and continue to have) a connection that will go on for the rest of our lives.
And now we’re here in August of 2016 (well, when I post this it’ll be October but still.) Every so often when the name of the show comes up I inevitably get asked two questions. First, the question that started this series off.
“What the fuck is 21 Jump Street Rangers?”
Instead of giving someone the ten thousand word spiel like you just read, I usually sum it up as, “I did it for me.” How true that is.
At first it was just about fulfilling a fanboy dream, but then it became a lifeline. Without 21 JSR I might be dead.
I’m glad I had it to get me through those dark times. To get me to the point where I realized how badly I needed help. Things will never be one hundred percent okay with me. I’ve got a lot of demons, but I’m continuing to learn how to deal with them in a healthier way. I’ve got a bright future ahead.
All thanks to a dumb joke about not playing that way, homie.
Yep, it’s getting sentimental now. Come on, you knew it was coming.
21 JSR is a project that’s mine. No matter how long it takes me to break into the industry, I’ve got this to be proud of.
I’m proud of the cast. Even if you guys never learned your lines, I still love each and every one of you.
James. To this day I quote, “Dwayne don’t play that way homie” in your voice. You’re doing great work in photography and I still listen to your drum cover of ‘Son of Man’. Yeah, remember that? Thanks for being the spark that got this whole thing going.
Steven. Sorry for not giving you an episode. I swear if we had done a sequel you would have been the new mentor! Thanks for sticking around through the entire show and introducing the “shoulders” in joke. Your performance at the end of episode five is still a tour de force.
Grecia. Thank you as well for sticking through the whole run of the series. Your laughter on set was always infectious. Thanks for agreeing to play a lesbian so I could add even more diversity to the world of 21 JSR. Sassy lesbian for life! I can’t believe I ever thought of giving Rean a dark and tortured backstory.
Caitlin. Hey, I know things didn’t shake down too well, but “it’s my pillar of justice” is still one of my favorite lines. I really should have gone with your idea to make Katie ditzy.
Graham. If only people could have seen us recording your voiceover for episode two. They’d be in stitches. You rock being in a TV screen like no other actor can. Maybe in the future I can cast you in something. If only to say, “CiTy.”
Mayowa. You are a treasure of a human being. You took on the lead role with ease and made the series your own. A lead actor sets the tone on set, for good or ill, and you made everyone feel at home. Keep on singin’, dude.
Eric. Thanks for your valuable input to the show. You were always up for anything I gave you and even read the scripts before shooting! I hope Arthur evolved into a character you were proud of.
Jared. My man. We had a lot of good times just watching that footage and coming up with hilarious lines. I’ll always remember our ADR sessions where you wanted to add in really tasteless jokes. They were awful, but I still laughed.
Hannah. I’m so happy you’re still in my life. Did you know I gave some SERIOUS thought to finding a way to include that clip of you and Mayowa singing at Disney World in 21 JSR? It never would have worked, but it’s still fun to think about. Never stop smiling.
Isaiah. Your voice made that robot. Your lines were always hysterical, especially the barely heard, “Get with it, I’m a sexy robot head.”
Ryan. The voice started as a dumb joke and evolved into something truly unique. I was honored to take it on and continue your legacy. Sorry for making you watch the ‘Agony Island’ episode of Jack of all Trades that one time.
Gemma. I remember hearing you for the first time on Rangercast all those years ago and then you appeared in my Power Rangers inspired web series. Funny how the world works, huh? Long live Penny Perrington! Death to fish butts! (You might want me to explain that, fair reader. I won’t.)
Ryan A. I didn’t talk about you in the previous entries, but not for lack of love. So now’s my chance to give you some props! Dwayne’s catchphrase wasn’t the only dumb in joke that made it into 21 JSR! Rabble rabble, cantankerous! Thanks for always showing up to play the foot soldiers.
Allison. I still wish I had found a place for you in later episodes. You really popped on camera and I hope that isn’t the last time I see you on screen!
Sundi. What else can I say but, “Bloop bloop. Bloop bloop bloop.” You made that goldfish adorable and terrifying.
Dante. Bro. Bro. Bro. I guess I should have put you in the crew section but you did enough VO work it counts. Thanks for doing this and putting up with my bullshit. I appreciate it. Shitty Cops 4 lyfe.
Nick. FEED MEEEEEEE, GENERALLLSSSSSSSS. Love you, dude. Thanks for always being an amazing guy. Never stop putting out your positive vibes. And don’t ever forget that it was snowin’.
Kyle. Hey, you never got back to me about voicing Goldhead past episode one! So no sappy entry for you. KyleSuxKThanxBai.
Everyone else who showed up on set. Even if you were just an extra in a commercial, thank you.
I’m proud of the crew. You guys had the most thankless jobs but you kept showing up.
KC. Sorry for freezing you out of the creative process, dude. The fact you kept helping speaks volumes about your character. To this day I wish we had worked on more productions in high school. What we did create was truly special and I’ll treasure it forever.
Matt. Matt, you not only provided us with endless rides, but endless enthusiasm. Thanks for always being there and making the scripts suck less.
Jessey. Episode three is an underrated gem of a script with all its perfectly malicious schemes. Watch out for slight inclines. Without you I wouldn’t be here writing this. I wouldn’t be the same person without you.
They aren’t exactly crew, but huge shout out out to Mr. and Mrs. Adkins for not only providing endless amounts of food for cast and crew (perhaps the REAL reason everyone kept showing up?), but also letting us use every inch of their house. We got a ton of mileage out of that place. Let’s break it down, shall we?
1) Basement? Milo’s living room/Rockband ad set.
2) Living room? John’s house/Toast 4000 set.
3) Kitchen? Extreme Meal Time set.
4) Backyard? Dead Be Gone set.
5) Jared’s bedroom? Milo’s bedroom.
6) Backyard on the right side of the house? Milo’s backyard.
7) Stairwell? Essence By Nasan set.
I’m proud of how I cut that footage up. I know I resisted talking more in depth about it this whole time, but hot damn was it fun to put it all together. Really gave me an idea of what it was like for the people working on Power Rangers.
I’m thankful for my high school teachers, for giving me the chance to create 21 JSR in the first place.
Mrs. Greene. Thanks for giving us all a space to play and even agreeing to air 21 JSR on the morning announcements. If you hadn’t expected so much out of us in your class, I woudn’t be where I am in my career today.
Mr. Burgos. Thanks for always being cool with us checking out equipment. Burgos High lives on in nearly every script I write.
Ms. Perkins. Thanks for being so encouraging about the webseries and running all the theater shows. Without that creative environment, who knows if 21 JSR would have been created?
Ms. Blighton. Thanks for letting me skip out on being your student aide to go edit 21 JSR. Mike Noyes was the better aide, I can admit that now.
I’m thankful to my mom for taking care of me. She kept me going in ways I couldn’t properly appreciate at the time.
I’m thankful I discovered 21 Jump Street, a series whose themes of growing up and coming to terms with your childhood spoke to my inner kid.
I’m thankful for therapy, for without it I wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now.
I’m thankful for those Power Rangers podcasts. You guys understood my love of this batshit crazy show and only helped to stoke the flames.
I’m thankful for my friendship with Tom (#NeverForgetTom), who not only inspired episode 3.5 but is also an all around awesome guy. Thanks for reading all my shit, dude.
So… I have a bunch more photos I wanted to share that never made it into the other posts so here they are! Don’t think we’re done though. Keep scrolling for the grand finale!
A few people have asked if I’ll ever do a sequel to 21 JSR. Nope. Never. Do I have ideas of what one would be? Of course I do! It involves the UFDA (an acronym from the sequel to Rescue Force) re-engineering parts of the JSR tech found scattered throughout the city to make a new team, Project Fire. Despite what the footage said, all three of the main team members would have been women because fuck you, that’s why.
But that’s never going to get made. The obvious reason being it would cost real money. The other being… 21 JSR isn’t 21 JSR if it isn’t a no budget production. 21 JSR is a wacky, strange, eclectic, funny, uneven, glorious mess of a series.
It was a great way to learn, hang out with my friends, and express my creativity. It helped keep me alive. Now I can go on and make new and better things. I can do it with a clearer understanding of my limitations and myself.
If there’s any lessons I can impart from this long ass multi part essay (besides how to cut together Japanese footage like a pro) it’s these three.
One. If you’re an artist of any kind? Make stuff. Who cares if it sucks? When you’re starting out it’s probably going to suck anyway, so embrace it! Make something you love. Even if you look back seven years and cringe at your early efforts, you still made something. I guarantee if you keep working and making things, you’ll get better. Just look at 21 JSR.
Two. It’s okay to feel like shit. It’s okay to feel depressed and alone. For too long I tried to act like all the bad things in my life just weren’t a big deal. They were and still are. Don’t try to push them away. It’s tough, but learn to work with them.
Three. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This applies to both lessons I just mentioned. No matter what it is, whether you’re working on a giant web series or dealing with depression, you can’t do it alone.
21 JSR wouldn’t be here if I did it alone.
I wouldn’t be here if I did it alone.
To quote my favorite part of the 21 Jump Street theme.
Your friends will be there when your back is to the wall.
You’ll find you’ll need us cause there’s no one else to call.
When it was hopeless a decisions what you need.
And now I can finish the song the way I always wanted to.
You’d better be ready to, be ready to JUMP!
21 Jump Street.