Last week I got the chance to announce our first-ever distribution deal for a movie I directed. It was a surreal moment especially because we had known about the distribution deal for about a month already. We were just waiting for the press release to go live. So when it finally did, it was like breathing a sigh of relief. This was really gonna happen. Holy crap.
Getting to this point had definitely not been easy. I mean, we had forest fires in the middle of production for fuck’s sake. But I can be a pretty stubborn person. I’ve always been like this. If I’m challenged, I tend to push against it harder. I don’t like being told I can’t do something. It gets under my skin.
When I was little, as far back as I can remember, I’d always wanted to be an actor. It just was. Like I was born with it like brown eyes, being gay, or having a big - anyway you get the idea. I just connected with entertaining people from a very young age. But I was told time and time again, starting with my grandmother (bless her heart), that I really shouldn’t or couldn’t do that - be an actor. My grandmother, who was like a mother to me, was the single most pivotal influence in my life when I was four years old. She was a rock, always gave me pudding, and made the best tamales and I have absolutely no idea how she put up with me. Seriously, I could be a real shit.
I remember one day, going up to my grandmother, and telling her - declaring rather - that I wanted to be an actor. And she got so excited - like crazy excited. Think teenage girls from the 60s seeing the Beatles for the first time. Like that. She was absolutely thrilled. I’d never heard her screech with excitement like that before. She just about dropped her teeth on the laminate floor. She was like “Oh! You want to be a DOCTOR! ¡Aye mijito!” And I was like - “ummmmm - no. Turn that hearing aid up. It’s actor. I want to be an ACTOR. I want to live in that tiny little shitty staticky wooden 80s television set. I want to do that.” It wasn’t those exact words but I’m sure it’s pretty close. And the look on her face. Priceless. Was the absolute best. It was like when you eat something that you expect to taste like strawberry cake but instead tastes closer to chalk, or year old sewage. Or day old sewage for that matter.
My grandmother was not amused in the least. She must’ve spent months trying to change my mind, maybe even years. I didn’t see what the big deal was. I told her I’d buy her a house. And get her tickets (at least one) to my movies. I’m not an asshole. I mean, I kinda get it now. Sometimes I wish I’d wanted to be a doctor too, ya know? You think I like people telling me I’m not this or that enough? That I’m too quirky or not quirky enough. Or too short or too tall. Actually, no one’s ever told me I’m too tall. Anyway, who likes rejection right? I’d rather eat glass. But what are you gonna do? It comes with the territory. I digress. Or do I?
The point, and I’m cautiously optimistic there is one, is that throughout my life, with as much support and encouragement I got, I also got a rather large share of discouragement and rejection. The bastards. But you know what, sometimes I honestly wonder if I wouldn’t actually be at this particular point if I hadn’t gone through whatever discouragement and rejection that I had gone through. Maybe it’s character building and all that, right? I dunno.
What I do know is that when we found out that we got distribution for Devil’s Path, I couldn’t help but think back to when I was a kid writing my own scripts and trying to act them out. The first idea I ever had for a movie was about a middle school kid who kills his whole family during the holidays - but it’s a comedy. Jesus, that sounds terrible. Like most kids, I had a rather overactive imagination. Maybe sometimes on overdrive.
So I’m thinking about this as I’m signing the contract for distribution for our first movie. A part of me is truly blown away. Like I honestly wasn’t sure it would happen at times. Just being honest here. Rejection can be a real kick in the nuts. It gets you down and it’s tough sometimes to get back the hell up and muscle through. I guess what I’m saying, in part, is that a lot of times, especially in the age of social media and all that, we hear a lot of really cool shit that people are doing in their lives. Their highlight reels, instead of their behind the scenes as I once heard it told to me. But there’s a lot of rough patches, discouragement, and rejection in order to get to those highlight reels. And no one wants to see a negative Nancy or someone complaining about this or that all the time so I think it’s good that people tend to keep it positive when announcing their own accomplishments.
Perhaps I’m simply underscoring the importance of embracing adversity as part and parcel of the journey. And probably just as important as the accomplishment. For me, it definitely has been. I’m not entirely sure what all this is getting at, but maybe I just wanted to be a little real about the struggle given it’s Christmas and it seems to be the time of year when we all start reflecting on shit. Thanks for following me on this whacky journey of an indie filmmaker. Thanks for reading. And thanks for watching.
Merry Christmas to you and yours and the happiest of New Years. Here’s to a prosperous 2019 all around.
Cheers, my friends.