Today, I received a call from my good friend Jermaine Bentley, of Bentley & Sons Funeral Home. I was told that recently, Sunday to be exact; the Action 10 Production Team suffered yet another crushing loss to its ranks when casting agent and chief of networking in northeast macon, C.J. Sutton, was found dead at his home. The coroner's office ruled the cause to have been a heart attack. Sutton was found on the ground face first in a pool of his blood. Officials claim the blood was cause by the sudden impact of his skull to the ground. The worst part is that I had recently spoken with him on several occasions in planning for the DANGER DANCE Shoot. C.J. Sutton is best known for his work in conjunction with Bentley and Sons Funeral Home and the recently released BIG SMOKEY AND THE SHANKERS where he played right side of my best actor, Rose Person, and Frank Stallworth.
This makes the third loss to the Action 10 Team since the tragic death of actor, Derrick Hall, (one of my dearest friends) and my beloved grandfather Booker T. Reid Sr. who helped produce some my productions. If anything, these hard experiences have taught me to value every second I get to be with my comrades. No matter how we try to define it, death will always represent change. Death can also be a message which can come upon its victims like a thief in the night. I realize now that I must always be ready for this change. Perhaps this is just another part of production in general just the same as its is just a part of life in general. Is production life? or better yet, does production's process imitate life?
I recently had someone dear to me tell me of a dream they had about them being the cause of my death. It later became clear that the dream may have been induced by continuous viewing of the Michael Jackson homicide coverage and the way it was presented through the production process. My book of dreams indicates that if the death of a person in your dream is particularly traumatic or you remember it vividly when you wake up and still feel upset about it, you may be predicting a change in that person's life, or in the life of someone that person represents.
I've now lost three wonderful people in my life and yearn for the good times I've had the distinct pleasure of spending with them. It hurts, it really hurts on the inside. Thus far in my life I've experienced many different types of pain. I've suffered through an amassment of physical pain and punishment at the hands of people I've gotten into to fights with and injuries I've had in accidents. I've been embarrassed and thoroughly humiliated more times than I care to remember. I have felt the pain of losing something I've worked really hard for. I have felt the pain of having loved someone who cared nothing about me. I committed many years of my life to violent sports such as tournament Tae Kwon Do and Backyard Wrestling which brought on pains that would cause the average person to consider a pre-planned oxycontin overdose. I've had both my heart and my spirit broken in my face. But yet, nothing I've every experienced can compare to the long lasting agony of death. It just continues to linger when all of your other pains have passed.
So I'd like to take this opportunity to express how much I love my team. I don't care if you've only done one of my shows or if you had a small part in one of my films. I just would like everyone who's every worked with me to know how much I love and value you. This is the finest crew in Georgia guerilla filmmaking. You are what makes me who I am and for that I say thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope to see you back on the set soon. Thank you Charles for all the help and support. Your dedicated record of service to this team and others will be remembered and cherished by all in our group.
Daniel Kahn Nelson
C.J. Sutton in BIG SMOKEY AND THE SHANKERS (2009)