I was born in Embudo, New Mexico, to two wonderful people: Robert and Diane Gilman. I have my mother's artistic spirit and my father's scientific mind, my father's clarity of vision and my mother's passion.
For the first four years of my life, we traveled around the United States and Canada, never stopping anywhere for too long. I don't remember much of that time, but I'm sure that's where my hunger for adventure and new experiences comes from.
When I was four, we settled down in Sequim, Washington, near the northwest tip of the continental United States. It was a small town surrounded by lush forests, which were my playground. My father designed and we built our own house, complete with solar heating and a composting toilet. We had a huge garden and orchard that my mother tended with my help.
It was during this time that my parents started the North Olympic Living Lightly Association (which later became the Context Institute), publishing a newsletter about low impact and sustainable living practices. We walked our talk: the three of us lived well there on about $3,000 a year.
At age nine, I left public school and began homestudy. I got into theatre and computers, among other things, and pursued them both avidly until I was nineteen and my computer career took over. Theater and filmmaking remained a passion of mine however, and I like to think that it added an extra dimension to my computer work.
A month after my tenth birthday, I was blessed with a baby sister, Celeste. At first I was skeptical about the idea, but now I'm quite happy about it. Since I was ten years older than her, I was sort of a half-brother, half-parent, and we both got to be only children in our own way. Now the parent-child relationship has worn off and we're just siblings and friends.
When I was thirteen, my travels took me away from North America for the first time, on a citizen diplomacy trip to the Soviet Union. My second trip to the USSR was a joint American/Soviet musical theatre production, as was my sixth. Since then, I've traveled extensively in the European continent, from Oslo, Norway to Mallorca, Spain.
At age seventeen, I got my first real programming gig, creating the computer game Ishido. That led to more development jobs, including Heaven & Earth and Seize the Day. Also, wanting to prove I wasn't just a programmer, I landed a gig doing the graphics and animations for the arcade game Maelstrom. Ironically, I think Maelstrom ended up being my best known work at the time.
In 1995, I joined MetaCreations (originally HSC Software) and moved to sunny Santa Barbara, California. I'd traveled plenty, but this was my first big move. It was also my first job as an employee of a company. It was very exciting, and I got to meet and work with many talented people, many of whom I'm close with to this day.
I started at MetaCreations working on Internet-based multi-player games, most notably MetaSquares (an original strategy board game designed by Scott Kim). I then moved to more general virtual community work, including SoapTalk and BryceTalk (both based around some of MetaCreations' core graphics software). Meanwhile, far away, my parents' sustainability work was taking them to physical intentional communities, not unlike my virtual communities.
Then in 1997, tragedy struck, my mother fell terribly ill. She died January 21st, 1998, leaving a great hole in my life. We held a memorial celebration for her that Valentine's Day. It gave me pause to reflect on her many gifts to me, how much of her lives on within me, and for each of these things I am eternally grateful. I still miss her.
By the spring of 1999 the writing was on the wall at MetaCreations: It was time to move on. I left the company and spent a lovely Santa Barbara summer slacking and cooking and writing, and a cold, wet German winter in a castle with a merry band of revolutionaries, dreaming about the future of technology.
After Germany we spent a year and a half in the heart of San Francisco, where I did user interface design until the dot-com crash gave me an overdue push back into show business. That winter I shot several music videos and a short.
The following spring, May 4th, 2002, Christina and I tied the knot, in the most perfect wedding celebration, with the most wonderful bride, I could ever hope for.
After an idyllic honeymoon on the Oregon coast, we stopped in Los Angeles for a year and a half of deep filmmaking immersion, and then six months in Kauai, Hawaii, reconnecting with nature and technology. We then moved to Seattle. After 10 years away from the Pacific Northwest, it feels good to be back home.