To Sleep in Bed Alone

Felix-Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled"

I recently got stood up. 

But not in the traditional sense. I went on a first date, it went fairly well from my perspective (as first dates go), he even brought up the idea of meeting up a few days later during our date. I said that would be great and agreed. Later on that evening, after I had gotten home, I texted him that I had a good time and looked forward to Thursday. No response. 

No problem, I didn't "need" a response, though one would have been nice.

Then Wednesday came and went. Then Thursday came. And about halfway through the day I texted, "how's it going?" A little... nudge. No response. 

So, essentially: stood up, but not in the traditional sense.

It's fine. I'm glad it didn't last two weeks and then nothing. Or months and then nothing. It was only one date. But still, don't get my hopes up, right? He's the one who brought up the idea of a second date, not me. I make no expectations in these situations. I would never set up a second date on the first date, just in case it didn't go well and we're both just being... nice. Afterwards, you can find out if it did go well and then make plans and then move forward.

On dating apps, I get emails that I ignore. And others ignore my email. That's fine. I have no obligation to write you back and you have no obligation to write me back. If there's no attraction or interest it should be pretty obvious. No reason to give hope where this is none.

But, that's its own thing. 

What I've been thinking a lot about this year is being chronically lonely. This isn't to say I'm some depressed guy and this isn't to say that I'm looking for sympathy of any sorts, but at the same time, I am envious of those who have found that someone. Just someone to snuggle with at night. Or wake up and look over and see -- holy shit -- this person is with ME! ME! I've been chosen of all the fucking people on this earth. And you're waking up with me!

I've only been in one serious relationship and that feeling was probably the greatest of all the feelings I had in the relationship. There were other issues and larger things going on that made it not work, but waking up and knowing that he was there. That was an awesome, awesome feeling. But, beyond that year and half on again off again relationship, out of the 18 or so years that I would consider myself a dateable age, I haven't had that feeling again. 

There's many reasons. For one, I'm not a very "gay" gay. Now, I'm not saying anything more than I prefer those whose gender role plays more on the "traditionally masculine." This isn't some insult to "being gay" of course, I would be the first to say that I'm about as gay as it gets. It's just... a preference. The same as my preference for guys with dark hair and dark eyes over guys with blonde hair and blue eyes. It's a preference and one that's not necessarily a super hard and fast rule.

I know lots of gay guys. Most of them are awesome. A lot of them play naturally to the more "effeminate" or stereotypically gay. Some of them, I have even thought, I could be attracted too. But, mostly, I just think of them in a very platonic way. I love them as I could love a woman or a straight guy. I can find them attractive, I can find them to be a great and valuable friend -- but I could never see them sexually. I could never be attracted to them in "that way." 

I go on this diatribe mostly to wonder if that's my problem? Am I too picky? Am I being a snobby "gay?" But then, I shrug that idea off, believing that attraction should be real. Innate. Undeniable. Not intellectual. 

And because I think this way, it inevitably makes me think the other way. That guys think the same about me. That I just don't inherently "do it for them." This isn't to say, I think I'm ugly or undateable. I turn down requests on dating apps as much as I send them out, but the idea of finding a mutual attraction just feels... impossible. 

I'm 33 years old and it feels impossible. I look around and see lots of people dating, married, having kids, breaking up, finding new partners, new loves. It seems so easy for them. They're just so lucky. I hope they know how lucky it is. Even when you're arguing about something silly, something inane -- you found each other. And that's incredible to me.

I try not to think about this whole idea of being alone or being single too much. It at times, feels like a great debt collector, ringing your phone and as long as you don't answer it, it doesn't exist. Because, for the most part, I'm very happy in life. I have amazing friends. I have a family that loves me. People that I can be honest with, I don't have to hide that I'm gay. Or I'm HIV+. I have no fear about who I am. I don't like the term "pride" because I think it's odd to be "proud" about who I am... but I just am and that's just fine and those who I care to be with, care to be with me. 

This doesn't mean, however, that not finding someone to wake up too isn't... lonely. I think it makes me quick to anger. I react to things in a very visceral way. And whenever I have gone on a date, I have very instant thoughts about getting married and being with this person forever. Not that I expect that, or would push that -- but just because I haven't had the opportunity to honestly feel that. And I want to feel that. 

I'd like to have kids one day. I think I'd make an awesome Dad. At times, I think my life is sort of coming to a close, that the opportunities and desires I had just even a few years ago, feel more like a fleeting dream. And a kid, in the most primal way, is your own legacy. 

I'm still pushing forward. Still writing. Still designing my game. Still going to bombard my social media mates with requests to support my Kickstarter when I launch it (hopefully) later this year... but, I don't know. 

When I was in my relationship, I was happy with my life as a whole. I felt... whole. It didn't matter that I didn't have the greatest job ever. It didn't matter that I wasn't directing for a living. I was just happy. I could pursue life day by day, rather than living it for the future. My life now is about getting my game done in time for GenCon. The time between now and then is basically irrelevant. 

I veg out on television and play video games to pass the time. I spend too much on technology and other material things, but time to me is getting this game done in July. It's this night and then July. March. April. May. June... there all stepping stones until then.

And as such, life just flies by. I look up and realize, fuck -- I've lived in Los Angeles for almost 9 years. And what have I done with my life? What do I have to show for it? A short I played Sundance seven years ago? An accomplishment I am proud of, but it was seven years ago. A web series I made four years ago that no one saw or should see... probably. 

And then a series of unfunded feature screenplays. One of which I don't even have the rights to do anything with... and even if I reached out and somehow managed to obtain those rights, I don't know the right producers that can raise a half a million dollars or more it would take to make it. And I don't have the right, "go get 'em personality" to pitch it. I'm just... not that kind of guy. 

Excuses? Maybe.

Then it returns to the lack of partnership. I've sent out my screenplay to various outlets, with cold response. The closer the person is to me, the more people seem to like the work I've done. But the reverse is just as true. So, that's not a good sign, huh? 

For a while there, I felt I had something. I had two shorts back to back play pretty substantial festivals, but it all died when I found out I had HIV. My mind shifted to just... reality. And to my current boyfriend. And the decay and loss of that relationship was probably too much. It felt like a complete abandonment of everything I had wanted and done since I was a teenager. 

It didn't help that at this time too was The Great Recession. And adventurous money on new and exciting talent just wasn't possible. I came into the business just after YouTube and social media. My best work, when I had a few dollars to make it, is all in standard definition. A relic. It looks and feels antiquated. Directors I work with now have some of the same sensibilities I had/have, but they're about 5 to 8 years younger than me. Falling into the industry at the right time. The idea of After Effects as part of your storytelling felt gimmicky when I was in school and now feels almost a requirement. 

In all, I feel... lost. 

And it would be nice to wake up from it and realize it's not all for nothing. That at least there's someone sleeping soundly, safely next to me. That the next moment in my life isn't in July, but what's for breakfast.

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.