Making It In LA (Or At Least Doing What You Want)

Blogging, journalling, telling the stories of your brain, seems passé. I use social media pretty prevalently: Facebook and Twitter mostly, but Instagram on occasion which in turn becomes my Tumblr feed... which posts to Twitter and finally ending up in the lake of my Facebook wall. 

I'm not sure exactly why I do it, but it's definitely what I would consider to be my OUTward persona. The sort of guy I am online, the sort of guy I'd want to be, if people met me. Things I think about, things I think are funny, news worth noting. It's also my own personal online journal. I can go back a few years and see all things thing I cared about, thought about. It's pretty cool. 

I'm sad Facebook is evolving to be more "news centric" - and less about my friends lives. I can understand when you're a publicly traded company, you have to prove you're worth something and hearing about people's days doesn't exactly bring home the bacon.

Anyway, that said, I'm going to start blogging again. I say, often - but I'm going to do what I did in the beginning and start writing every month, thinking about what I'm going to write and eventually put it to paper. 

The reason, I'm really here is to tell you fellas/ladies about the latest greatest thing: I'm a director.

Now, you may think that seems silly to say. I should always consider myself a director and always call myself a director. That's what you do when you move to LA, you claim yourself to be what you want to be, but I've always felt a little queazy about it. I had to earn that title. Well, this month, I finally did. Or, to say more properly - someone is actually going to give me money to direct. This isn't a short for myself, or to help out a friend, but an actual job I had to write on, pitch for - and get.

It's a music video. 

Nothing spectacular. It's not an artist you would know but they're signed and have graciously accepted the treatment that I wrote for their song. 

The video is being shot this coming 30th, a few days after my birthday (best birthday present ever?) and should be online for public consumption by mid-October or so. It's a video using the same projection technique as Michel Gondry's White Stripes' "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground" video. It's still very differently tonally, and I believe has relevance within the story of the video.

Regardless, it's kind of a surreal experience. I moved out to LA in 2006 with the sole priority of becoming a movie director. I thought the easiest path to that would be music videos and so my first gig was at DNA. I was an intern. I chose to intern at DNA because their sister company was UK's Academy, where Jonathan Glazer was rep'd at the time. 

I thought, I could intern for a bit and get in good, move my way up and eventually get the opportunity to direct. Small projects at first, etc.

Well, that dream died quickly and I ended up quitting my internship on my birthday a month later. Having found myself to be completely ignored by everyone in the office by the office manager, and then only treated as free janitorial service. I was dusting light bulbs.

I quit and started a very long journey through production, mostly on music videos with about a quarter of the time working on commercials. I was a set PA, then worked the truck. Then I began to work in the office, eventually getting an opportunity to coordinate. I took a two year detour through reality TV where I started to PM but eventually got fired because, I guess because I just wasn't a "team player." 

In that time, I had a few short films play the festival circuit. 

My thesis film from college was the most successful in that it traveled around the world playing three continents, 10 countries, and winning half a dozen awards, including the grand jury prize at the Seoul International Children's Festival, the Montreal Image+Nation Film Festival, and a special jury prize for Experimental Short at the SXSW festival.

My next short started off even bigger playing Sundance in 2008. A festival I had dreamed of playing since I was a young teenager. It ended up having a much shorter circuit, only playing a few festivals before I just put it online.

I haven't done much after that. I made a deeply personal, yet pretty flawed, web series about my experience with HIV.

Over the years, I've actually grown pretty disenfranchised with the movie business and saw the dream I had since I was in 8th grade pretty far fetched. And yet, it wasn't that much of a heartbreaker. I didn't grow cynical or angry, just found that my desires and heart had evolved into television and gaming. It's not to say that I wouldn't want to make films for a living, I just never saw that dream happening the way the industry is set up.

Yet, gaming (both console and table top) is incredibly intriguing. I find a tremendous satisfaction out of console gaming (from the Uncharted series, Mass Effect, Limbo, The Walking Dead video game, and even Minecraft). And television is now what I believe cinema was in the 70s. 

In fact, this year, I've been putting together my first ever card game. Building upon elements that I've found satisfying in games and using them to create something I'd want to play. 

I've written pilot to a comedy with a friend, and just sort of satisfied my creative needs with projects here and there. 

It's recently that I had an opportunity to write on a music video. A guy I met first as an intern, like myself, working for free and just getting his feet wet quickly become my office PA and then coordinator. And then, jumping me all together to become a producer in his own right. He was now asked to commission a music video and had me, along with a few others, submit a treatment to a little video.

The strange (and odd) thing about the artist was that I had actually worked on her video as a Production Manager a few years back when she was unsigned. 

In any case, in just over a month, I'll have directed something on commission for money in Los Angeles, a feat I was beginning to think just wasn't possible. Is it the start to a budding directorial career? Or just one of the few spots in my life of otherwise entertainment consumption and overall happiness.

In either case, it's a great promise. 

Now I just need to make a sick fucking video.