A Decade of Following A Dream

Wow, so the beginning of a new year is upon us which usually calls for reflection anyway, but I'm coming up on another milestone also...
10 years of living in Los Angeles.

On January 9th of 2008 my dad and I flew to LA and in the days following I began a semester long film program called the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. 

Since then basically a third of my life has happened, right? I thought I'd make a list of some memorable moments, in sort of chronological order...

- Directing a short film featuring Justin Grant Wade aka Steve Holt! from Arrested Development
- Background acting (aka being an extra) on shows like House and Criminal Minds and (the newer versions of) 90210 and Melrose Place, rubbing elbows with Nick Kroll and Dave Franco and Jerry O'Connell. One time when I was an extra Jesse Tyler Ferguson strolled up and said I looked familiar then we had a nice chat!
- Writing a handful of direct-to-DVD movies with religious themes and African American casts (anyone see Nora's Hair Salon 3: Shear Disaster?!)
- Stumbling into a career in producing reality TV, starting at the (very, very) bottom
- Working on over 100 episodes of A&E's Intervention
- GETTING MARRIED!!
- Caring for my first dog
- Meeting and writing for Orlando Brown and Chingy and other people of note! One time Orlando took me to Chili's in Northridge to discuss a sitcom pilot we wrote together. Another time I was introduced to Jamie Foxx and he was not impressed...
- Pitching to Funny Or Die, taking sketch comedy class at UCB, guesting on podcasts and YouTube shows
- Having our first son!! Being a stay at home dad during the day and working at night
- Telling Shane West that I'm a big fan, running into Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller at The Grove right before seeing Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- Seeing awesome comedy at UCB with Ash: Judd Apatow, Jonah Hill, Aziz, Dragon Boy Suede, Brett Gelman, Reggie Watts, Charlyne Yi, The Birthday Boys, Paul Rust and Neil Campbell, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, John Ross Bowie, etc, etc
- Steadily working for 10 years in the field that I studied in high school and college without having to take a non-industry side job ever
- Producing sketch comedy videos that got featured on the front page of Funny Or Die
- Writing a feature length movie that was shot in Tokyo
- Writing two YA novels, the first of which getting optioned to be developed into a movie or tv show
- Having our second son!! 
- Making new friends and keeping the ones that mean the most

I don't know what the future holds. I'm still writing constantly. Book 3 is in the works. I have sitcom specs and feature scripts and all kinds of stuff I want to get made. 

So here's to 10 more years in LA?

Am I normal?

Today I heard two opposing views on approaching life.  One, a coworker, who I know is passionate in another area besides the thing he gets paid to do for 10+ hours a day, 5 days a week, the other from a celebrity who is a top performer in her sport.

The coworker was bemoaning that possibly next week we'll probably have to stay late to finish a project.  He said that he has other priorities, he hopes he gets paid overtime, and at his age (not very old at all) he has lost the edge that he once had for going the extra mile, building his reputation, etc.

The celebrity, she's an athlete, said that literally she wants to be the best at her sport ever, and pays a team of people to take her out of her comfort zone daily in order to reach that goal.

I'm not sure if either of these viewpoints would necessarily have made a huge impact on me separately, but they came in such rapid succession that they really hit me.

Hearing my coworker I thought: I get it, it sucks to not get to see your kid at night, it sucks to work overtime and lose sleep, it sucks to have a passion in something and not get to make your living in that field.  

But that's natural.  That's normal.

Hearing the celebrity-athlete I thought wow (besides every single rapper) I've never heard someone say "I want to be the best ever" and be serious and not actually be that far off arguably. 

It made me want to work harder at my day job, my writing, being a daddy/husband, being healthy.  Because like I said, the former viewpoint is normal, but being willing to sacrifice is abnormal.  

I think I want to be abnormal.

Busy Pete is a Better Writer

As I was riding my bike last night, pondering, I had some thoughts that I clumsily told my wife when I got home.  I thought I'd try here though, to clearly state something that I think is important.

There's a way of thinking, and I don't want to call it a "common misconception" because maybe it is the truth for some, that you can/should put your family life on hold while you move up in your career.  Or someone who had a child or got married young may look back at their life and think that they could have been so much more successful if they had only not had that kid or married that person.

I admit that I've had the latter thought before at times, like where could I be if I was 'Single Pete'.  But last night I realized that I was wrong.

I got married to Ash at 23 and we had Christian when I was 25, so we weren't babies having babies, but we were relatively young for my peer group.  And I've thought in the past that if I didn't have the responsibilities of being a husband, dad, co-money-provider/ co-bill-payer, that I could have more time to write, more chances to network, more time to produce sketch comedy videos and take UCB classes and such.  Which is true, sure, but...

Having less time to devote to writing has made me a better writer.  'Single Pete' would have the luxury of being able to dawdle, write a couple pages here and there. 'Busy Pete', I'll refer to my current self as, has to be laser-focused every writing session.  Before my writing sessions were watered down lemonade, today they're frozen concentrate.  Take those babies out of the freezer, add water (or booze) and start cranking.

But besides that, the support that Ash has given me has been the single most propelling thing in my writing life.  She's read all my stuff.  She's my biggest cheerleader.  She's believed in me when I haven't.  I wouldn't be about to have Happenstances published without her.

In my life, being married young-ish and growing with Ash has been the best thing.  And Christian is a constant source of joy, and often times hilarious anecdotes.

So, thanks Ash and Christian.  

Love, Pete