Nobody makes my decision for me, alright? Nobody! This is my choice, okay? My choice…
why did you l e a v e me?
BADLANDS (2014) dir. Stephen Lunsford
I feel as if I should shed some light on this project.
These past few weeks have been nothing short of hell and while the principle photography on my first dramatic short film is finished, the product itself is in it’s adolescence.
Working on a deadline of shooting/editing in less than 5 days, we lost our director of photography 2 hours before filming, I had to fund the entire thing out of pocket and it was over 100° every day on set in the middle of the desert.
You may have seen some of my parodies, my skits or my paid spoofs but it’s been a very long time since I created one on my own. I lost the motivation to direct. I kind of figured, “Well, I have no idea what I’m doing, so what’s the point? I’ll just wait around for an acting job to come by.”
Well the sad truth is that those acting jobs came and went and I was just sitting around. An unemployed actor who can’t play his own age, who’s dealing with weight issues and above all is lost in his own self-pity. This thinking spread like a poison, into my entire life.
There were a lot of troublesome events in 2014 that kickstarted me into gear but after a while I was no longer encouraged by failure. I was continuously beaten to a pulp and these events weighed on me like a growing cancer. Literally.
Enter my best friend Chris Bruns. Chris is the kind of God loving, kind hearted, truck driving kind of guy who always has your back. He lived with me for a year and wanted to be an actor, until he had to move home to take care of family issues. He got a full-time teaching job and gave up on his dream.
Every time I would talk to him, he kept saying how he wanted to still be an actor. And it pained me to no end to see him like this.
So after everything that happened to me, I found that my friend Chris was my motivation. Then I racked my brain for months, trying to think of a decent yet simple 5 page story that I could use to feature Chris, since he was only free to shoot on the weekends.
So, a silent short-film with no dialogue about…something?
Two guys finding a dead body? Two guys trying to hide cash they had stolen? Two guys on a tandem bicycle, peddling down Venice Beach in booty shorts?
Nope. I couldn’t think of a thing. Mostly because I was limited to very specific things I wanted in the short:
Desert. Guns. Two friends. Cash. Mustang.
I wanted the desert in my film so I went out in search of a story. So I got lost in the sands for a few hours and I emerged with this awful, ridiculous, Tarantino wannabe neo-noir heist movie.
So I got a computer and I wrote. Instead of 5 pages, it turned out to be 25. Which was obviously too long as I had no idea who to get the funding for it, get a producer for it or how to shoot that in two days.
But we did it.
And I say we and not I because it’s easy to lose the drive, pun intended, to go out there and chase your goals. When you have people around you that only want to see you do your best, who only want to help and who are there for you whenever you need them, then you know you’re not alone.
The fact that I’m so close to end on a project I have poured my heart and soul into, when I thought I would likely never direct again, makes me swell with emotion.
I can’t wait for you to see it.
I see things that nobody else sees.
Tyler Hoechlin at SDCC*