Admit To Myself that I Am a Filmmaker

I have spent 13 years of my life mastering filmmaking, and I have a lot of success to show for it. I am a filmmaker.

I just celebrated my 30th birthday with a party this past weekend, three weeks after my actual birth date back in March (and well past The Birthday Cut Off). The reason for the delay?  I was shooting and producing 21 commercials during my actual birthday weekend, in addition to holding down a gig working on American Idol.  I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy as I am now, and thanks to eating real food and having some awesome clients and bosses, I actually feel great being this busy!

I’m not sure what I expected to feel about turning 30, the big 3-0 which now groups me with people 9 years older than me. It’s symbolic, but symbols are still real, real enough that I discovered something about myself during the second half of my birthday party…

The party had already begun to wind down, it was probably later than I realized at the time. A longtime friend visiting from out of town asked to watch an old short film we had worked on together back in college, so I pulled up the movie to show on the TV. It was awesome, much better than I remembered it being. Before I knew it, we’d watched every single movie we had made in college; well over a dozen shorts. Requests for more of our work started coming in from new friends, we watched many of the hundreds of commercials and client videos that Rene and I had worked on since coming to LA after college.  It was hours of content, I ended up going to bed at 6am!

As we made our way through my filmography over the last 13 years, I realized something about myself. This whole time working as a professional video creator, I had a cautious “I’m just trying to make it” attitude about filmmaking during my twenties. In other words: I never really actually truly thought about myself as a filmmaker; until one moment during my 30th birthday party. Sure, people tell me that I am a filmmaker and I try to convince clients and potential employers that I can make movies and videos, but for some reason, I figured I wasn’t really a filmmaker till I was able to get one of my big passion projects picked up by a large distributor or studio.

Production still from the set of The Mars Solution.

But I really had to be honest with myself after watching most of my work again.  I have spent 13 years of my life mastering filmmaking, and I have a lot of success to show for it. I am a filmmaker.

When your nose is to the grindstone, it’s hard to see your strengths. When completing a project and screening it for the first time (sometimes the only time I’d watch a project after completing it), I often found myself cringing, seeing only the flaws. It certainly didn’t help my ability to sell myself for future work, but with the benefit of time and experience, I’m actually, for the first time, not just content but proud of my work, and the work I was able to get out of my collaborators. That kind of confidence is rare to achieve in this field, entire careers have been ruined because of an artist’s underlying insecurity masquerading as blind ego.

Misadventures in Filmmaking

I realized that I also learned an incredible amount about filmmaking by working on these projects, and perhaps others might want to hear about how we achieved some of the impossible solutions we did.  So I’m going to do the only thing I know how: to take you wonderful readers on a journey through my past video work, first with a series of posts to show you my past works and tell the fun stories behind making these films.  A lot of sweat, tears, blood, frustration, and time went into these projects, but we also had a lot of fun working on them. You might say it was the only time we were truly happy, like a sailor who can’t be happy on land, and just as much swearing.

So this was my experience of turning 30 so far.  How was your experience of turning 30?  Was it positive or negative?  Do you have advice for a new 30 year old?

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