My name is Brandon. I make movies.
I’m not a blogger, really, nor do I find it especially interesting to do long, drawn-out explanations or recaps or my life, work or anything between. But, here I am. I hope this is sorta, kinda entertaining, even if just for myself to stumble across it three or four years from now (hello, future Brandon!)
I’m nearing thirty and the big questions of life are beginning to really make their presence known — and it seems like self reflection is a solid strategy in figuring out where to go in my professional life and to examine the things I find to be most compelling. So, I added the WordPress add-on to my website, installed a rad theme and filled it with images from each of my relative projects.
Now, I don’t plan on actively promoting this blog. If you’re here and reading this, whether you’re someone I’ve worked with before or someone looking to hire me, I do want to say this truth: every project is a learning experience and I deeply appreciate that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really great people, many of which have become family. But I feel that the only way to have an honest… recap?… assessment?… of the past ten years is to talk about the good and the bad, without being malicious or putting anyone in an awkward spot.
It’s also important for me to point out that within this blog, I’m (allllllmost) strictly focusing on narrative work that I’ve directed, produced or edited, from when I first began up until now. My professional focus is on narrative storytelling and while I’ve done some really good work in both the doc and television worlds, narrative filmmaking is my thing.
Or, at least I think it is. I know it was.
I wasn’t interested in filmmaking as a kid — truth is, I don’t quite remember what I wanted to do when I was going through middle/junior/high school. Nothing stood out. I always had a casual interest in movies like most kids, but I would be lying if I said I was a student of film since I was a child. I didn’t go to formal film school either.
After high school, I studied for two years at a community college and I had a creative writing class — which, I suppose, would be a blossoming point in finding a voice that wasn’t static or clunky, and had some kind of gumption to it. I had also been dating someone who’s brother had that childhood film interest that I didn’t. Those two people — Melissa and Michael — were my first collaborators.
We were kids, barely out of high school, with a little JVC cam and a dirty cheap tripod, running around through the woods, or in each other’s houses, or in local shops, trying to make movies. We brought a whole bunch of friends along for the ride, 95% who had little to no experience and thought it’d be fun. Our local university’s theatre department — thanks to Dr. Margret Ball and Stephanie French — was also incredibly active and supportive of our tiny efforts, and we were also fortunate to have a local teacher — B Harrison Smith — become a full-fledged filmmaker with real budgets who helped to usher us into professionalism. My mother — Cindy — and the parents of M&M — Lynn and Jim — were also incredibly supportive by encouraging me to follow my dreams.
That was … almost ten years ago. Now, I’m fortunate to be living in New York City and working actively as a director, producer and occasional editor. I support my family by doing this and find it immensely satisfying. I’m not helming million dollar projects, but I’m mostly content with the projects brought to me, generally feel good about the progression and make a livable wage to have a mostly comfortable life.
Like I said somewhere above, I’ve also been able to meet some of the closest people in my life because of my career path — my fiancé, Michelle, and I met on set and my two roommates — the aforementioned Michael and also Dimitre — are also in the industry within the camera realm and VFX worlds, respectively. Most of the people at my wedding on my behalf are from the film world. The film world has blessed me in more way than one.
But back to nearing thirty, the issue of sustainability is rearing is stupidly ugly head and the practicality of raising a family while living this lifestyle seems far-off, at best.
Maybe it’s because I grew up fiscally irresponsible and landed myself in a lot of debt early on and I refuse to go back to that state. Or the thought that I can’t provide for my family the way I’d like to. Or that I might just get burnt out and bitter and resentful and just awful. There are more people like that than you think in this field — some of the best, actually.
And I know that it may seem like I’m complaining about living my dream — well, I am. I am. Huh.
I also do the whole stream of consciousness typing where I close my eyes and type everything out the same way I think it.
I just want to make sure I’m making good decisions, for myself, for my work, and for my future. Reflection is just one active facet of that process, and I hope it continually pushes me in the right direction, whatever that may be.