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  • Jameel Haiat

Thoughts to Now...

This past week, I saw many of my friends and old colleagues posting images, memories and stories from a project that we all worked on three years ago...Disney's Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. At the time, I was with Walt Disney Imagineering and the Principal Production Designer on the Attraction. It was a giant Project to see through and there were many wonderful people I met and worked with throughout the four years on the Project.

But...I reminisce about it a little differently than most of them.

As we wrapped up in December of 2019, the upcoming pandemic was right around the corner. So, with no new projects on the horizon, my wife and I made the choice that this Project would end up being the final one of my twenty-five year career within the Themed Entertainment Industry.

Here's the thing...it didn't sadden me nor did it worry me.

Actually, it was the lynchpin to allow me to move onto creating for myself and to no longer being the property of a Creative Corporation.

My thoughts, my creativity, my drive could now be mine. I would once again own me. No more stress about timelines, budgets, art direction, production, people, the Company, on and on and on and on.

I followed my wife Hilcia to Hong Kong, and focused on all of the creative endeavors I had postponed throughout these crazy busy years.

I completed and self-published a small poetry book, wrote a full length fictional novel, have now almost completed another poetry book, am writing another project and working on my painting and art.

The overall feeling of freedom and creativity in my head and heart is something I never knew I could feel nor knew was possible. Truly.

So, when I look back at that Project, as much as I remember the good things, I also, even more so remember the stress, the long hours, the constant travel, the time away from my wife, the stress (again!), and the lack of any glory for the literal fucking blood, sweat and tears that were part of such a massive undertaking.

Sure, the guests love it, but the cost of being part of these giant projects with ridiculous timelines is not within my vocabulary nor allure any longer. It's just not worth it for me...

As much as Covid had decimated so many lives, there are those of us that have benefitted mentally, emotionally and spiritually from what feels like a great awakening.

I am lucky to be one of those....

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