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Being Passionate

What a fun topic to discuss! Passion is such a funny word. I automatically go to those old romance book covers with the hulking bare chested pirate and his galley wench. “Passionate Procreation on the Pacific” or some silly name like that. It’s easy to associate passion with sex.

It’s what society has ingrained in us since we were little with magazines, books, TV, and films. Even pornographic movies start out with intensely passionate encounters. After they establish the pizza guy forgot the sausage, he makes up for it with his... But the action always starts with passionate kissing and touching. We are made to believe that in those moments these total strangers are the only thing that exist in each other’s world. Obviously, things get R-rated quickly and all the romance and tenderness are gone as quickly as it’s set up, but we’re told through story that this is what passion and love is supposed to look like.

Tom Hanks movies do the same thing without eight-inch dicks. After losing out on romance, our protagonist always attempts one last ditch effort to prove his love. Boom box stereo over the head, running in the airport, interrupting a wedding. All proven methods in life and on film. Technically, this is passion, this is love. Anyone who’s been in love has had these feelings before and I’m not disputing that, because I’ve felt it myself and it’s incredible. The butterflies, shortness of breath, tingles on your skin… Being in love is one of life’s greatest thrills.

What I want to write about today is being passionate about life, to take that feeling and incorporating it into your day to day, whether it be work, friendships, mental health, or spirituality. Having a passion for these things will dramatically change your life.

When I was in grade 11, I was already writing a little. Mostly unfunny jokes because I aspired to be a comedian turned stuntman and actor. Well, when Dimension Films decided to shoot a film in my hometown called “Scary Movie”, I was fortunate enough to have a girlfriend whose dad was the janitor at the school they shot at, so we had got behind-the-scenes lanyards. It was the first film set I stepped on. The movie was being directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans and written by his brothers, Sean and Marlon. They were already huge TV and movie stars, and I had been watching them for years on old In Living Color VHS tapes I collected. Expecting some celebrity egos or entitled rudeness, I couldn’t have been more wrong about these movie stars. They were so inviting, cool, friendly, funny, and inspiring. It was clear they approached their work with a deep passion. We spent the whole day on set, watching over Keenan’s shoulder while he directed a scene. This was the moment my life’s dream became crystal clear to me. Now I wanted to be a comedian turned actor turned filmmaker.

Obviously making movies is hard. It takes a village, and lots of money, collaboration, creativity, talent, and patience. Among many other things, you need to happen just right. Obviously, I didn’t have any of these things as a 16-year-old kid, but I had a dream and passion. Everything I’ve done since I was a teenager has been in pursuit of my passion. Outwardly, I was always doing what others thought was best for me. I was a people-pleaser, to my girlfriends, family, bosses. Doing what they wanted. But deep down, I was always plotting and planning my film production empire.

Originally, I joined the military to pay for film school, but a few short years turned into a mini career. The writing and dreaming never stopped. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, I’d lost my passion for life. I surmise it had something to do with my addiction issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. Then I applied to Vancouver Film School, got accepted, started classes, and despite still being a scorching hot dumpster fire from my experience in the service, that passion for film and life came back like a wrecking ball. Early in my schooling I was a poor friend, arrogant filmmaker, volatile addict, and selfish collaborator due to my unchecked addiction and mental health issues, but even in this state of chaos, I felt the embers of passion already starting to burn.

I’ve since gotten clean, sober, and worked through most my PTSD issues. In doing the work on myself, I’ve developed a new devotion to living my best life, sharing my stories with transparency, and helping others walk a more righteous path. It has been a long road for me, and I still have miles to go, but the dream of a 16-year-old kid is finally starting to come to fruition.

It all started with passion.

Walking with my nephew Benji. He fuels my passion for life.

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