A Little Background

HIGH! My name is Oliver. I’m a podcaster, graphic designer, audio producer, husband and a father. Once Upon a Dime is the culmination of years of entrepreneurship, experience, and perseverance in the face of adversity. It isn’t just about getting high and telling stories, although, I’ll be damned if that isn’t a great premise in and of itself. There is a lot that goes into the production of Once Upon a Dime and a lot more in store for the future of the company. So without further ado… let me tell you a story.

TASCAM DP-02 Digital Portastudio

TASCAM DP-02 Digital Portastudio

In 2004, I began my journey into audio production. It all started with a bootlegged version of Cool Edit Pro, and a little 8-track TASCAM. I spent many nights, into the wee hours of the morning, layering and bouncing tracks with my musically inclined friends. I would learn a lot about music production over the next 10 years; producing albums for the handful of rock and metal bands I joined.

If you don’t know this by now, the music industry is hard and greedy. My time as a musician never panned out as a fulfilling career. It did, however, serve as the foundation for my pursuit in entertainment and entrepreneurship. With the technical skills I learned and the hundreds of hours on the stage, I knew I could carry this part of my life into new opportunities.

But I didn't.

Instead I went to school.

SIDE NOTE: I actually had a retinal detachment in both eyes, Left in 2005 and Right in 2011.

SIDE NOTE: I actually had a retinal detachment in both eyes, Left in 2005 and Right in 2011.

I had always been artistic, inking comic-style characters throughout my childhood, but in junior high, I shadowed a professional graphic designer who worked for my mom and that’s when this career really got its hooks into me. Flash-forward 5 years, and in 2011 I enrolled in a program that, underneath $40k in student loans, earned me an Associates Degree in Graphic Design. Trust me, I now know how ridiculous that is.... Live and learn, right? During the time I was in school, a few life altering events took place; one of my retinas detached, my mom passed away, and my ambition took a backseat as I struggled to put the pieces of my life back together. It’s tough to be a graphic designer with broken vision and the medical bills don't help. I’ve had 8 surgeries on my eyes, and I'm still paying for them in more ways than one (we'll get into that in another article). To be honest, though, I no longer remember what it was like to see well, so I have to admit that adaptation is an incredible human function... and life carries on.

Losing my mom had left a void. My mom was smart, strong, independent and spiritually driven. We would have philosophical discussions. Most times they were very passionate and, to my dad, appeared heated. My dad hated being in the room with our discussions... mostly because he didn't enjoy thinking the way we did (you can hear his side of it on our podcast). Regardless, this is how my mom and I connected. We talked about ideas and theories more than the stuff that's apparent and on the surface. We talked about life and religion, faith and free-will. We talked a lot. And then suddenly... we couldn't anymore. The circumstances of her death made it more unreal to me; she was 1000 miles away when she passed. I tried to find someone to relate on a philosophical level, but the topic tends to make people feel uncomfortable. After a bit of soul searching, I felt like I needed to make family a priority. So, my wife (you know her as Emma) and I decided to make a family of our own. Although, my mom would never meet her granddaughter, I knew I could raise her to know how important she was in my life. As they say, you're never prepared enough to have a kid; you just figure it out. So now, in the midst of chaos, we did it... (phrasing?) 2014 fills that void and almost makes another one. Emma delivers our beautiful baby girl and everyone is celebrating. Two weeks later, Emma notices some swelling in her left leg… and back to the hospital we go.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, most commonly the legs. After multiple surgeries, 3 weeks in the hospital, 4 months of daily injections, and a little over 2 years of Coumadin, the stubborn clot never fully dissolved. So, now Emma lives with a daily reminder that something isn’t quite right.

With my wife’s blood clot, my broken vision, and the sky-high medical bills/student loans looming over our heads, there is an undeniable sense of melancholy for our predicaments... but as we watch our daughter grow, learn, laugh and smile, we realize that great struggles lead way for tremendous things. We all struggle. We all hit a proverbial wall, but what we do when we reach that wall is what determines our character. Do we have it in us to strive for more? Strive for better? Emma and I are stronger now than before our struggles. We know that struggles don’t just stop when you reach a certain status in life. Life happens outside of plans and sometimes you have to acknowledge that, roll with the punches, and push through towards your goals. Giving up isn’t an option.

When we began Once Upon a Dime, it just clicked. It made sense. It served as a way for Emma and I to bond with our daughter, reading all of the classic tales as we prepare for the next episode. While using our skills gained, in spite of our struggles, to build the legacy that is our life’s work. I use my experience as a graphic designer to build our brand, artwork, graphics, video, and internet presence. I use my experience in audio production to build our podcast and eventually our audio books. Emma is a writer, so she transcribes the abridged tales into true story format which will be released in a printed (and e-book) collection called, The CHRONICles. Emma also has a passion for gems and designing jewelry, which will become an asset in our merch efforts. All of this while medicating with cannabis for my headaches and Emma’s pain and swelling. Don’t get me wrong, we smoke for recreation too - #KeepCannabisLegal - As I mentioned before, I had a hard time finding an outlet for my philosophical ideas, but this podcast has given me that outlet using cannabis to open our minds for those kind of talks.

Honestly, I’m very fortunate to have the opportunities I’ve had and I don’t take them for granted in the least. But I know that, in the deepest part of my insides, I am here to do more. Life is an incredible journey. There are stories to tell to relate that journey, and Once Upon a Dime is here to tell them.