(First written August 3, 2013)
I survived a year. Can you believe it? I had enough money to last me six months but I managed to last one whole year. 365 days!
By Mark Rasmussen
There’s something in that. Sure, I’ve struggled financially, scrimped and saved here and there and worked for ridiculously low dollars while slaving my hot little arse off. Yes, hot! I work out.
But seriously, there have been times here where I wondered how I would last beyond Christmas let alone celebrate my first year in LA on June 10. Once I was in the negative on my bank statement. Haven’t been there for years. You know how humbling, humiliating and embarrassing that is? You reach for a $3 loaf of bread and realise the 99 cent loaf makes better economic sense. Or when you do your fitness workouts at home so as to save petrol. Or when you’re grateful that a friend offers to pick up the bill as you count out your cents. Pathetic. I deserve better than that.
Look at me, a fucking piss poor screenwriter following my heart, craving success, striving for greatness.
So what keeps me going? Life, love, dreams, the support of close friends and never ever accepting mediocrity no matter how skint I bloody get. That to me is the epitome of a life wasted. Someone who never took a risk to pursue a passion or a dream and simply accepts their fate.
That’s not for me, no siree. It’s why I’ve travelled the world for months and years at a time. Why I love with absolutely everything in me. Why I don’t have a house but memories. Why I count moments, not money. Success is measured in many ways (though you’d never know it living in the Western world). I take a very different view.
I have built a life here out of nothing. I have a couple of amazing friends in Love Angeles, all who are great, warm huggers – I heart them dearly. I am meeting the movers and shakers as well as the dreamers and the believers. I see a community who are incredibly collaborative and supportive. I’ve offered to lend my couch to people worse off than me (support and love comes in many forms), and I still see, taste and feel success. I’m not here to make up the numbers or laze around poolside basking in the beautiful LA sunshine working on my tan, even though it’s coming along nicely.
I am here to achieve success. I am here to follow my passion and listen to my heart. It gets hurt at times in the process but fuck it, much rather feel pain and know I am alive than be apathetic and numb.
I celebrated my first year anniversary on set of my first feature film. While I may have had to share a room, earn peanuts just to cover the rent, and stay in some backwater, bumfuck town, it was my first feature. Sure the hotel may have had its share of drug dealers, pimps and hookers, as well as a slightly fatter Jack Nicholson lookalike (dark glasses, snarl and all), but it was my first feature. I know there will be many more. Some will even be mine.
And it’s that determination and drive that keeps me going. I work fucking hard on set and I am being noticed and rewarded for it. A little extra money here, a slightly bigger credit there. It all counts and lets me know I am on the right path.
I am now in a very interesting phase in my life. Right now, right this second, I feel a little emotionally hurt. Nothing I cant handle but just something else to overcome and look back on in time as a necessary lesson. Something that made me want to strive even harder to reach even higher.
I am refocusing my energy firstly, with this blog because it feels like a fucking good way to vent and let it out rather than lie on the couch and shed a few tears (did that), before getting back to basics and finding that great space and energy and spark that ignites me and fuels the fire in my belly. That passion that keeps me moving forward no matter my circumstances.
In the time I have been here I have become a lot more professional in my approach towards not just my writing but the business, as well as my life. At the very least I am one damn fine man. I’d marry me. But I now look at my writing as a career not a hobby. I’ve gotten serious. Even after working 12 hour days on set, with a call time of 6pm and a finish of 6am, I still managed to pump out two synopses and beats for two new stories despite the lack of sleep and a snoring roommate.
It’s a little win but you know what, I’ll fucking take it.
I’ve got a short script that has taken on a whole life of its own and continues to grow organically without a push from me or my very lovely and beautiful co-producer. Last I heard we had a very famous stunt coordinating family on board to coordinate the small fight scene with credits in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, that’s a win. We’ve also got an Emmy award winning post production house on deck, as well as finding out that the script was sent to a well known TV actor. Remember, this is all happening minus no input from me. To further underline the script, I entered it into two big competitions where it received incredible coverage and high praise. While the competition results will not be known until later in the year, clearly something’s working.
The ideas continue to flow, the bigger, full length feature scripts move forward as I see on an almost daily basis, my writing soar. Oh Karel you would be proud. But I soar no matter how dire the situation of my bank statement. Fuck it, it’s only money right? Something always turns up. Besides, there is so much more to life than just counting greenbacks.
Remember, passions, dreams, life, unbelievably supportive friends, love, desires. It’s all within reach I can taste it, breathe it, feel it.
I aim the bar very high in all areas of my life and don’t accept less. Why should I? I’ll find what I’m looking for, I’m too much of an explorer, adventurer, free spirit and lover of life not to. It’s the very least I deserve.
So stay tuned for my next adventures. With a first feature ticked off, a script closer to being filmed everyday and an incredible love in my heart for everything life, while I may have nothing now, I also have everything.