Musings on Film, Television, and Upcoming Projects

Revelation #001: The Circle of Friends.


This is Revelation #001. The extra numbers implies there will be many more to come. Get ready!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is getting ready to take on 2010. I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my life in Los Angeles. It’s been almost a year (March 2nd will be my first official anniversary), and until 2010 officially began, I hadn’t thought too much about the benefits of being here, except for maybe on a day to day level.  The first thing that I should note, and I think this applies to anyone no matter what you are trying to do, is that you must be where your industry is. Los Angeles is my industry’s town. Film, Music, Media, I love it all, and it’s all here. And yes, I said town. Of course, Los Angeles is one enormous place. It takes hours sometimes to get from one side to the other, and there are almost 10 million people here (and apparently, they all have cars). But once you get in, you find yourself constantly running into the same people.

I got invited to my friend’s birthday party last month. So I went, and hung out, mingled, had a few drinks, made some new friends. Later, I wanted some fresh air, so I walked out onto the patio, and stopped dead in my tracks. ANOTHER friend of mine, who I had no idea knew my friend who’s birthday it was, was standing right there in front of me. Crazy, right? To top it off, they are both producers — one in music, one in film. Most of the people at this party where industry people to some extent. Guess who else showed up to my friend’s birthday party. John Singleton! Crazy, right?!

First Lesson: Get out on the town and talk to people! This wasn’t the first time something like this happened to me, and I’m sure it will happen again. As I’ve been pursuing my career, I’ve started to realize that so are a lot of other people, including many many many friends of mine. Everyone is doing something to get to the next step. Everyone wants to get in. Try not to get discouraged by the numbers, and take advantage of the fact that so many people love what you do.

Now, I can’t really consider myself in yet, but there are degrees, or circles, of in. For instance, I am not bumping shoulders with Steven Spielberg or JJ Abrams (yet!), but a filmmaker friend of mine told me the other day that they were both having a beer together in a bar she works at (ie. most people have more than one job!). And I frequent this place every so often. In fact, I went there a few times before I knew she ever worked there.

Let’s talk about my filmmaker friend for a second. I edited, scored, and did the sound design for her short film (yes, a female director! And there are plenty of them too. Get used to it guys!). I’m very proud of the finished product and so is she, as well as the producers, whom I also now consider to be good friends of mine. Which brings me to relationships. Apparently, nothing gets done in this town unless you know someone personally, or someone you know knows someone personally (Or, you already have A LOT of money). I tried doing my thing in Atlanta for a while, but then I asked myself this question: Why would someone invest time and money into me if they can’t see me in person, get to know me, my style, the way I present myself, etc? The answer is: they won’t, and come to think of it, I probably wouldn’t either.

Another example: If my producing partner, Nabil (think Arab In America!) called me and said, “Hey, this guy I know’s got an amazing eye, I think we should meet him.” I would trust his judgment, and say, “Sure, lets do it. I know the perfect place!” So, we’d go have a drink at the bar my filmmaker friend works at, get some discounts (LA is too damn expensive!), and then I might notice Steven Spielberg sitting in the corner with JJ Abrams…

…wait…sorry! Lost my train of thought. Ah yes, I did have a point in bringing up Steven Speilberg and JJ Abrams. It occurred to me that they are probably doing the same thing we are. Correct me I’m wrong, but I don’t think they have worked together on any projects previously. But I do know that twenty years ago, JJ Abrams wrote this little movie called Regarding Henry, starring this guy named Harrison Ford, who everyone might remember as Han Solo…or INDIANA JONES! And we all remember who directed Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, don’t we? Right, Steven Spielberg.

Now, I would assume they probably met quite a while ago, but what I’m getting at is that at some point in history (yes, its that big of a deal, at least to me :-) , they met through someone they both knew — maybe it was Harrsion Ford, maybe not — and maybe, one day, they will make something together.

Second Lesson: You never know where your friends are going, and they don’t know where you are going! Sooner or later, someone I know is going to get into the next circle, and then, I be one step closer to the inner circle — the circle of Speilbergs and his friends.

In the end, if you want to be a filmmaker, you can’t just be a filmmaker. I decided I can’t stay in my room writing or editing all day. Right now, we are trying to find financing for the feature version of Arab In America!, but that’s not gonna happen unless I get out of the house and start cultivating some relationships with some money people! Not quite sure how I’m going to do that yet, but I’ll figure it out. Isn’t that supposed to be the fun part anyway?

Expect a follow up soon! Cheers!

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Written by admin

January 7th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

6 Responses to 'Revelation #001: The Circle of Friends.'

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  1. great post. I should take this advice a bit more. have a great 2010!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Mike Hedge

    8 Jan 10 at 5:33 AM

  2. Good thoughts Tom. I look forward to joining the network!
    See you soon :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Margot Landen

    15 Jan 10 at 9:35 PM

  3. Truly insightful. Tom- you do no harm by sharing your wisdom, so don’t hesitate to blog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Seth Iliff

    29 Jan 10 at 3:04 PM

  4. Dear Tom,

    this was a fantastic post, and so unbelievably true. I know Atlanta isn’t quite like LA, but i probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere here if it hadn’t of been for all the wonderful people i know/have met.

    You’re such a smart, talented man. And I can’t wait to be out in LA with you meeting all of these people, and hanging out with JJ and Steven (cause by then, we’ll be on a first name basis, duh)

    You rock, and I look forward to reading more!

    With love, your sis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Hi Tom,
    really great post. it’s true. grew up in CA and met all kinds of creatures, the star-struck behavior never took hold of me, which can be a good and bad thing. I’m now union and am building my own freeway.
    I wish you all the very best,
    Jackie G

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Jackie Goldston

    17 Feb 10 at 9:11 AM

  6. Keep up the good piece of work, I read few blog posts on this website and I think that your website is rattling interesting and has bands of fantastic information.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    9 Aug 12 at 7:57 AM

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