Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
"I am a filmmaker and visual artist from Los Angeles, CA. I began my career while living in the United Kingdom where I studied filmmaking and created a good deal of my body of art. I have since relocated back to Los Angeles and have been working in Hollywood since 2015. As far as my art goes its main embodiment is through the medium of writing and directing neo-surrealist films. Presently, I’m developing my sophomore project to follow up my first feature film that was made during the summer of last year. This sophomore project is currently slated to begin filming in Europe."
You were named one of L.A.’s Rising Star’s in a recent publication of Shoutout LA , which is just the beginning for you. With that said, we’d love to know what’s coming next?
"Being recognized as an established artist in Hollywood really is so insane. There’s been so many years of hard work invested into this, so to see them finally paying off is extremely rewarding. I tend to always be a big believer in never just taking one moment of success and defining myself from it, but rather continuing to raise the bar for myself which has basically been what this year has been for me.
I’m now working on several film-related business ventures, which is a field I never saw myself in. Alongside this, I am dividing my time between working as a creative producer (exclusively for projects that focus on creating a social impact but are still looking for the final push after their green-light) and finishing the development on an upcoming slate of original projects that, for the first time, would allow me to tap into new genres. And last but not least what is looking like a long-anticipated relocation to the United Kingdom to top it all off."
You are currently in the process of debuting your feature film The Tenth Lodge. What has been the most exciting or challenging aspect of this project, and where did your concept for this film begin?
"I’m really excited to be making a full-length black and white film. I think that’s pretty cool for me since the movies that taught me how to love movies are all black and white. It was a challenging process during the pre-production phase of my film to pitch to studios.
It was pretty uphill to convince people to take a risk on a movie that was not only black and white but was inspired by Ingmar Bergman movies that are philosophically driven with heavy dialogue. That was the moment I felt really solidified as a Director. I had a vision that was daring and avant-garde. Despite Marvel movies being as popular as they are, I was still able to make others want to invest into my the vision."
With all that you have coming up, do you notice a common theme or thread of interest that ties all your projects together?
"I feel that this unprecedented pandemic has taught me the importance of diversification not only in my art but in my career planning. I think I'm learning now more than ever how to be singular in my art, but diverse in my execution. To break that down, you always hear that you need to pick one thing if you’re going to do art, and I’d agree with that mostly. I’ve always been a multi-talented person that can do a lot of different things and for awhile I honed all those things in and made them singular. I’d say I’m actually still doing that, but I’ve realized that it’s okay to keep the diversity in your execution of that singular vision. So now instead of picking a tele-play from my library and saying “My goal is to make this TV show this year” I say “What are 5 different things I can do that all make me feel fulfilled equally to the point that I wouldn’t be able to tell what one of the things I’m doing is causing my happiness?” So, the next steps in my career all have that in common. They create the same exact amount of happiness in my life, just in five differing ways. And if something unexpected comes up and one of the endeavors I’m working on gets halted, I still have four other things that I’m just stoked beyond belief about."
"I'm learning now more than ever how to be singular in my art, but diverse in my execution."
Is there one thing that sticks out about where your career is headed that excites you the most?
"For me, I think it’s that I’m finally in a place where I have harmony in my life. I have art I’ve created I’m proud of, I recently got engaged and I am living every day with my partner experiencing more happiness than I ever knew I could feel, I have new art that I’ve created that I’m proud of that I see growth and some truly positive life experience coming out through these new original stories. And I think for me I’ve never had all three things synchronized at once and I see that there is synergy and harmony in my past, my present, and my future. So, for me, the upcoming endeavor I’m most excited about is the relocation process to Europe and the business endeavor I’ve started there. It’s the first time where my career has complimented my personal life. It truly has worked so perfectly with being engaged because I’m in a state of new-starts, change, and life planning. And that’s what’s really exciting. It's not just having a new idea or having wanderlust but actually having legitimate prospects coupled with the ability to manifest them. And having the blessing of not having to manifest it alone but with people, I truly care about those around me which is what makes this new chapter of filmmaking and entertainment business so exciting."
You have a strong internal compass and vision for yourself, have any of these views changed in light of COVID-19?
"Lockdown has been one of the biggest educational tools presented to my generation in my opinion. And I’ve made sure that every day of it that I’ve experienced I choose to treat it daily as an educational tool. It’s updated my views of the world, people, behavior - all of it. So naturally yea my idea of the work/life balance has grown up a bit. I fully identify as an artist in ways now that I never felt comfortable until these last five years. I feel that the balance I’m striving for now is to have a healthy work/and art-life. A term David Lynch coined referring to not just the making of art but waking up every day and being an artist, which is also your art. So, I feel during COVID-19 I was woken up to that distinction. Where for the first time it wasn’t easy to create my medium (visual art) in a safe way so I realized how much of my idea of my art was based on the tangible art itself. And I had to update my views to incorporate a value system I never had for “the art life.”
During lockdown my focus has been living my life in a way where I feel safe and I feel nurtured, and I do the same for those around me, and in that space of safety I feel free enough to just be in a constant state of creation without having a value system attached to the process."
"I didn't need to prove that I was an artist by sacrificing all of myself all of the time. I was an artist because of my art. Nothing more, nothing less."
With all that you have on your plate. I’d love to know how you balance work, life, and play?
"Navigating what balance means for me has been a career spanning journey. At the start of my career work was my life. To the point of being in a continuous state of exhaustion. Although I was productive, I wasn’t fulfilled. I was making career success, but I amassed a circle of people in my life that only had transactional relationships with me. If I was available once a week to listen to their problems, they hung around. But if things ever became so tough for me that my priorities would be forced to change, these people would simply evaporate.
Over time I realized that I had to change my approach and start leaving more room for boundaries and standards to have a place in my day-to-day life. I was able to learn how to invest in relationships that weren’t transactional, but were transformative, and this led me to learning how to realize that I had sort of allowed my relationship with my career to become transactional. If I was fatigued to the point of collapse only then was I an artist – and that idea needed to change. I realized that I didn’t need to prove that I was always an artist by sacrificing all of myself all of the time. I was an artist because of my art. Nothing more, nothing less."
What advice would you give an individual starting their career within the entertainment industry?
"I think it’s just that people aren’t lying to you when they say this industry is hard, I have met some of the most demented human beings imaginable while working in Hollywood. To the point that you think that you’re on board the 2001: Space Odyssey ship and this is just your own personal HAL 9000. I think to me I see that usually when people give advice, they come from one of two vantage points. Either they’ve found success and they want you to be hopeful because you’ll think there’s a tomorrow after all the shitty todays. Or they haven’t found success and they say how hard it is because they want to narrow down the competition because of their own insecurities. So the tough part is finding for yourself what’s true about that.
I think that what has really helped me is not being binary in my thinking. And for me I hold both truths as reality in my mind simultaneously. But I feel like for most young people in my generation they tend to adopt the Disney version of this fairytale and not the Grimm’s Fairy Tale version. So, I think that’s the best advice I can give. A career as an artist goes in only one direction: uphill. And your ability to make art is banking on what you do when you’re going uphill and your car runs out of petrol. Do you slide down or do you equip yourself by any means necessary to keep facing the uphill?
Contentment and complacency are the killers of art. Happiness isn’t contentment. Healthiness isn’t complacency. So make that differentiation. But a lack of resolve to face a shut door is also the killer of art. You can make art all day long, you can shoot a movie on an iPhone all day long. But you won’t be successful, and you won’t have your name on a Marquee if you don’t make a friend out of uphill, out of a closed door, out of hardship. As long as Uphill is your enemy, success will never be within your grasp."
What’s one strange thing people don’t know about you?
"I’ve been waiting to land in a place where I get asked this question. Part of me wants this to be something trendy and unique, but this year has been so tough for everyone on our earth that I feel like we need to share more smiles where we can so yeah, let’s do something funny: I flew off a spooked Clydesdale horse during a community parade event while doing a routine with aforementioned horse to 'We Will Rock You' by Queen. And that moment is simultaneously the closest and furthest from God I’ve ever been."