This is an absolute prerequisite for working on one of my projects. Surround yourself with positive fun collaborative people. A non-negotiable deal breaker. It’s why I haven’t gotten into the public videographer sector; you can’t really control the people who hire you or who you must work with. Film has been my dream job since I was a very young man and when you’re doing anything you love, I believe you should always have a good time doing it, or what’s the point?
This is a fairly new outlook on my life and the career that I have. I wasn’t always about those cheerful possy vibes. Just five short years ago, I was an alcoholic addict with severe unchecked post-traumatic stress disorder. On top of that I was an egotistical asshole and emotionally irresponsible womanizer. I arrogantly flaunted my life experience, discussed my trauma with people like it was an episode of Seinfeld, and kept my chest puffed out like an unapproachable tough guy, all while constantly playing the victim and hoping everyone would still love me. It wasn’t until I got kicked out of film school for wildly toxic and abusive behavior that I realized I needed to change everything about myself, I needed help. Not just from mental health issues, drugs, and alcohol, but a complete recovery over my spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. With time and work, a metamorphosis happened from a toxic chaotic caterpillar to beautiful blossoming butterfly, but I’m a work in progress.
Sounds like a tall order, easier said than done. Not really. It’s as simple as surrounding yourself with awesome people. We’ve all at one point seen one of those signs in one of our bohemian besties apartments that read: “Your vibe attracts your tribe”. Well, it’s true. If you’re living a life of love, support, and empathy. Those are the people who you’ll attract. If you want to gossip, spread hate, and criticize others. You’re going to have an incredibly negative cloud hanging over your head. These are the things people notice these days, they’re looking past the resume, and seeing the person. The world’s not that big and six degrees of Kevin Bacon is science. All you must do is inquire. If you ask enough people, sooner or later, everyone is eventually connected.
Negativity is so ugly. I refuse to work with troublesome people, divas, shit-talkers, and phonies. In part, because I was all those things before seeking professional help. But more so, because I know what a detriment it is having someone like that on your team. Unfortunately, in this world we live in, with social media and keyboard warriors, there will always be people who want to drag you down, especially if you’re putting your name and product on the line. Why risk having those people on your team? Arm’s length sometimes isn’t far enough if you ask me, you must keep these negative Nelly’s at a football field or city block length.
In doing so, by sticking to the rule of “Good Vibes Only”, not only do you weed out most of the on-set and behind the scenes drama, but the team you do build will be creative, beautiful, and brilliant humans. The perfect individuals to forms a cohesive collaborative team, like a filmmaking Voltron. On top of that, you get real genuine friendships. If you like hanging out with people at work, chances are they’re fun outside of work.
My short film The Gladiolus Blossoms (2022) was a seven-day shoot. There was lots of hard producing that went into it. Travelling actors, finding locations, bad weather, special effects make-up, and fake tattoos. It was a logistical nightmare, but what kept me going was my amazing cast and crew. People I consider my friends outside of work. We were able to laugh and have fun, while working long exhausting hours all while shooting some very serious subject matter. They were often the difference between my sanity and a total mental breakdown.
So, here’s some homework for the next couple of weeks: go out and contribute to your group’s good vibes. I understand this is a big ask, I don’t know who you’re interacting with every day. Some people are just a drain on positivity. I’m not naïve enough to suggest these people don’t exist in every job. All I’m asking, that is, if you’re on the same page as me, is go out into the world and be the reason someone smiles. Trust me, it makes a difference.