Late last year, I had to pick up a second job.
I moved from San Francisco, where my freelancing business was booming for years, to LA, where it stopped dead in the waters of Silverlake.
I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed in Hollywood in 2015. The prodigal son, who left home penniless, without any direction, and returned, by most accounts, with a pretty impressive self-made business under his belt. Some of the biggest possible clients from around the world. Some high-profile projects. Even LinkedIn references, if you were asking for primary sources.
In 2015, the Silverlake Reservoir had evaporated, and the ensuing barren landscape mirrored my newfound career drought I’d unknowingly walked into.
I pursued my connections from San Francisco and New York, but they only lasted me a handful of months.
I tried establishing new ones in Hollywood but I ran into that famous nepotism wall. The one the white walkers always seem to have such a hard time with.
I tried DTLA but I was too New York for fake-New-York.
I tried Santa Monica but I was too skeptical of the brash start-ups I figured would collapse before sending me my check.
I even tried connections in Silverlake but it was all dried up.
The wall is protecting the privileged of Hollywood from Wildlings: self-made freelancers who are wary of the unions (full disclosure: I’m a member of SAG) and interested in thinking outside the box (or north of the wall, if you will.)
The wall is real. I left Los Angeles the first time because of it. And when I returned with more optimism than an MMA fighter with a burgeoning (but tenuous) potential movie career, I ran head first into it again like I’d never left.
In San Francisco, everything clicked into place.
But I found myself back in Hollywood.
In the middle of a draught.
So, after burning myself out taking freelancing jobs I was way overqualified for while being paid what amounted to less than minimum wage by the hour, six to seven days a week, for months at a time (not to mention, being treated like absolute garbage by that other famous Hollywood cliche: unhinged narcissists), I made a decision I never thought I’d make again: I took a customer service job.
I picked my favorite coffee shop. One that, in an intentionally maudlin gesture, reminded me of San Francisco, and started working, giving up any ideas of continuing my freelancing career.
A few weeks ago, I resigned at my toxic customer service job.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I knew that anything was better than staying at that job. Even being homeless. I’ve been homeless before. It was in the Bay Area. It happened only a couple years before I started freelancing full time.
Then, out of nowhere, a friend connected me with someone who offered me a job.
I was to start the day before my last day at the coffee shop.
I’m working on a project, without giving away too much, that’s connected to my favorite director, the one who inspired me in 1990 to pursue the art life.
In 2015 Silverlake was completely barren.
Now, from Los Feliz, I can see a shimmering surface.
Late last year, I had to pick up a second job.
This is the "Producer's Cut" of the music video for "All Bad Vibes" by Gimme Danger.
I'm planning both a "Director's Cut" and a "Producer's Cut." The latter is a homage to "Halloween 6" and its famously different versions.
This cut focuses on the band performing entirely and will probably be used as a sales tool for their EPK, I'd imagine.
The "Director's Cut" will focus more on my preferred "narrative" angle, for which filming is not completed.
Unlike the "Bonnie Y Bonnie" project (see previous post), I was given creative control with "All Bad Vibes" as the director, even with this "Producer's Cut," so the distinction is more about my intended audience than delineating the author of the piece.
After this project, I've only got one other obligation that may or may not materialize, and then, a clean slate. So whether this is the penultimate episode for me or not, it's been an amazing ride making films since I was 8 years old and I'm very proud of the work I've done and the voice I've maintained consistently throughout my work.
Here's my Director's Cut of "Bonnie Y Bonnie."
This project started when a former friend asked me to direct from a script that she wrote.
I say "former" because, in the middle of the project, she hijacked the decision-making process, essentially fired me as the director in the most passive-aggressive way possible, and I walked away with my own cut intact.
I took an "Alan Smithee" credit as director on her version but I kept my name on this, my intended cut as the director that she asked me to be.
I post this version here to commemorate not only a bit of work I'm pretty proud of, but also, the work of a handful of friends and collaborators who'd lost hours of work and sleep to do me the favor of donating their valuable time, creativity, and energy to my vision as the director of "Bonnie Y Bonnie." I can't ever repay them so I hope they know how grateful I am.
While I'm very happy with the final product of my Director's Cut, the experience was the worst in a long line of terrible experiences that have led me to question why I even bother being an artist and creating things with other people at all. I've found that I consistently used to find happiness and mutual respect for years working with other people as a filmmaker until recently, when I've been consistently much happier and more respected doing anything BUT making films.
This may be one of the last things I ever make, since the thought of not making things excites me much more than the thought of making them lately. I'd rather be happy than stubbornly pursue a childhood dream that makes me miserable without exception, as has been the case of late.
Here's to something or someone possibly changing my mind at some point in the future!
Before we dated, Kirsten worked at Levi's® Global Headquarters on Battery Street in San Francisco. The first time I met her, we hated each other. I was hired to take photos of upcoming product by somebody else, who then pawned me off onto her. We didn't hit it off at all.
Months later, I was hired to film a training video for Levi's® and unbeknownst to either of us, Kirsten was one of the interviewees. She had had a crush on me since we met, apparently.
You can tell in the above clip from the training video shoot.
If you're a real one, then you fuck with comics and nerd shit.
I fuck with comics and nerd shit, and charisma, gothic boyz, and face tatoos, so I fuck with this fool called "NERD X CORE." He's got it all at the highest level.
I made a new intro for his YouTube videos. Sent it over. He liked it. You should too.
If you real, you'll click the link below and fuck with this nerd.
I don't know if you know this, but one of my biggest inspirations is John Carpenter.
He doesn't just direct (awesome) movies, but he also produces, writes, and scores them.
In addition to sound designing my films and videos myself, I sometimes add score myself.
Besides scoring my films and videos, I make music for music's sake sometimes. Here's a song from a dark hip hop album work-in-progress I'm doing with Micah Ruiz aka "TRIGGER MORTIS" from Oakland, CA.
John Carpenter forever.
One of my biggest accomplishments as a filmmaker or photographer was the Field of Jeans™ project. Levi's® hired me to capture the event visually, so I hired four people to help us deliver photos and a video recap. I served as the Director, Cinematographer, Editor, and as a Photographer, alongside four other Photographers, shooting several days, and getting Levi's® the highest number of engagements of any story pushed globally that year. Check these links:
I'm really proud of this to this day. Almost as proud as I am of this:
Welcome to my blog.
Here I'll post whatever I want. Probably new shit I'm doing or have just finished. Or older work. Have a look! Or look at a cool movie. Drop me a note if you dig!