Year Two: I Heart California
When I first told my friends and family that I was leaving San Francisco to give the wilde and worrisome land of Los Angeles the ‘ol college try, the majority of them raised more than a concerned eyebrow – perhaps considering that I was 34 and well past the foolish throes of college spontaneity. There were cries of concern and questions posed, sincerely checking the mental status. I’ve always been one that colored a little outside of the lines, and I would imagine that there was a great fear that I had begun to eat my crayons — perhaps using the by-product of said fiber rich meal to paint the walls. I can only imagine that they felt all would go reasonably well considering my wife was in on the whole ramshackle idea as well. Lord knows, she’s not a hard one to fool when it come to financially skeptical events — I still haven’t figured out what she was thinking when she wanted to marry a filmmaker, but c’est la vie.
In April we crossed the One-Year waterline of our grand Los Angeles misadventure. The first few months felt like a raw dose of failure — hard to swallow and even harder to learn patience. Echoes of those come before me, rattled through my skull. “It takes 3 to 5 years to hit your stride.” Oh, I didn’t have that kind of patience. I gave up a reasonably good thing in one of my favorite cities in the world to chase down some childhood dream that refused to be turned off. It’s the adventurous heart of Huck Finn and Luke Skywalker… the boys wanting to see more than just their dusty home town/planet… knowing that they wanted so much more, yet not knowing exactly what the hell that was or how the hell they were going to get there. It was a leap of faith… or asinine stupidity. I guess you’ll have to wait until we get to year three before I can gloss back over my notes and see where the hell we left off.
It took 5 months before I started getting any kind of work that would lead to promise. That 5 months held a lot of uncertainty and fear. It made me feel worthless and forgotten. I tried to keep busy and finish all of the unfinished business and projects that I had dragged along with my collection of vintage t-shirts and obscure music. I said “yes” to everything and tried to make it work, often working for free and spending the wee hours of the morning finishing projects with the good faith that I was building karma points toward a better tomorrow. Eventually it paid off and I became too busy. “When it rains it pours.” “It’s either feast or famine.” The fear mongering of the freelance lifestyle had caused me to overbook myself on a variety of projects. However, I have always been happiest when I’m working… at least working toward a goal, be it palpable or not.
I started sizzle pitch products, shot and directed commercials, edited reels & short films, traveled to Mexico for off-road reality racing (and had a bunch of shit stolen right out from under my nose), traveled back and forth to San Francisco (as well as around the country), caught up with old friends, made new friends, worked with childhood heroes, muxed 3D boobs (it’s a long story) and acted in a few projects that a lot of people would consider themselves extremely lucky to be a part of. At some point, it actually started to feel like the move had made sense. I had to give it a go, and damned if it wasn’t working.
Now we’re encroaching on another summer season of Los Angeles flesh worshipping and getting to know the neon nightlife that makes this place a cinema dreamland. I’m finding inspiration again. I finding the drive to make things again, and not to make money (which I will gladly whore myself out to any media outlets that would love to pay me for my services, by the way) but to further chase down the dream that brought me out here. I didn’t come out here like most starry-eyed 20 year olds planning their futures on random fame and fortune, the chance meeting of some Hollywood producer that sees some spark of talent as you glance across a late night bartop. I came out here as a jaded 34 year-old (now at the glorious gray haired half-mile marker of 35) expecting to get chewed up and spit out, kicked out of meetings, and not given the slightest thought. The exception is that I’ve made my resumes, I’ve spend my time in the field, I’ve tested my mettle, and when it comes down to the wire I can actually do (or get extremely close to) what I say I can do. I’m going to keep doing it. I’m not going to let the mire of this Hollywoodland bullshit seep into my skull, because honestly I don’t need it. I want to work on projects that I enjoy (and find some way to pay the bills doing it). If I don’t enjoy it, then I can go back to any number of jobs that I’ve done so far in my life that I thought I could drudge through for extended periods of time. I hated those jobs because they kept me away from what I really wanted to do… and that is to tell stories, to make film (short and feature) to constantly push my own limits and surprise myself with how absolutely fucking awesome it is to see your dreams come to life — to excite people with your voice and vision — and to help others achieve their goals, dreams, and just feel good.
I spent so long worrying about what I could or couldn’t do that a sat spinning my wheels in a glorious whirlwind of self-destruction — feeding my black putrid junkie heart drugs and alcohol until it passed out and finally shut the fuck up about “dreams” and “better things” beyond the crushing wall of self-doubt. Wake up. Start listening to that nagging voice in the back of your head that tells you to get up off of your depressing brown couch and get out there and do something. Spend half and hour – spend ten minutes and work towards that goal. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Success doesn’t just randomly find you. You have to stalk that son of a bitch like a rabid beast, so hungry that you would eat your own tongue. You have to think, work, and be smarter than success… because success doesn’t want to find you.
So, as we enter the first portion of Year Two… know that I will work toward another feature as well as finishing my wedding video. I used to joke that I would give it to my wife for a 5 year Anniversary gift. That shit isn’t a joke anymore. I have until August 4th. I will make certain that the year 35 would have made an 18 year old Bevan extremely proud. Hell, I got to dress up in a Batman suit and shoot a fight scene for a short film right here in Los Angeles. I guarantee you that would have made my 19 year old self shit crayons.