Thursday, January 19, 2012

omanaman 2011 Year in Review - No Love in Los Angeles

Alright, I did find a little love in Los Angeles in 2011, but quickly f'd it up... I arrived in Tinseltown in late 2010 with the sole purpose of finishing a feature film project that had consumed the previous two years of my life and a very large sum of dollar.  When I arrived, I received the full Hollywood treatment and within a couple months had this great new life. I was working at an amazing studio for some big clients, had my own pad and a sweet Jag to cruise to the beach in, lived right across the street from the dispensary, etc. I was living the dream. Unfortunately, my pre-LA baggage quickly caught up with me and I realized I couldn't really enjoy any of it until I resolved my past obligations.

Total burnout on this gig. Never got to try the the pancakes.

Six months later, fall of 2011 I had thrown all my efforts into finishing Spirit Lake, as well as earned a giant sack of gold doing commercial freelance work. In the process I had abandoned my personal life, making just about every bad decision I could throughout the year.  Depressed and heartbroken, it was impossible to get my feet underneath me in LA. I burnt out bad on my last few freelance gigs and I returned to Milwaukee for the holidays bitter and broken. As I hung out the window of my childhood bedroom late december, burning a spliff, blowing puffs of smoke into the frigid air and reflecting upon my year in L.A., I finally gained some perspective.

Total burnout on this gig too.

I flew into LAX on New Years Eve. Flights were cheap and I couldn't give a shit about any party I was missing. I woke up January 1st, 2012 with no hangover, just a clear head that didn't want to remember 2011. Spirit Lake was finished. I was physically unable to spend the long hours meeting the demands of post-production in LA. I wasn't there to whore my talents out to the advertising industry and I found the social scene to be circus-like, full of posers, donkeys, and douchebags (I met awesome people too).  I wanted to travel, drink wine, do art... and live on the beach.

Playa Grande, Home Sweet Home

10 years ago on a whim, a friend and I bought a one way plane ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica. I returned to the states four months later knowing I had found the one place I belonged. I've returned many times making it my home away from home. Not wasting any time, I liquidated what few assets I had, geared up a mobile production studio, stuffed up my backpack with t-shirts and surf shorts, and again bought a one way plane ticket to Costa Rica (which apparently you can't do anymore, I got jabbed at the airport for a return flight.).

A few weeks into my adventure, I've finally decompressed, and closing the deal on a Tico hut in Playa Grande. I am drawing panels for a pitch on a graphic novel, and getting Spirit Lake ready for release, putting together a number of promo videos and tweaking the two trailers to perfection.  My next two film projects are planned for Costa Rica so not going anywhere soon.  2012 can't go wrong.


  1. wow so you're just going to stay in costa Rica?! Thanks for sharing your story Joe. Its always great to hear what others are doing to make this career path work. best of link in 2012.