What had I learned? What were my lessons? Where do I go? What do I do? Why were these palm trees so odd-looking? There’s a lesson here. I just needed to find it.
I’ve learned when I was an actor and when I ran my business in Hollywood as an entrepreneur many important lessons. I would stand before financiers, bankers and business leaders and I knew that all strained to imagine that a capable businessman could also be a talented actor. That was my perspective. At the same time, the producers, the directors, the writers and the talent agancies often appeared conflicted in understanding how I could also navigate the business with relative ease and alacrity. Normally, an actor has an agent who represents his client in all negotiations. That’s the rule in Hollywood! What changes when you become enormously successful is that your phone calls get returned quicker and when you say “no” you can panic Wall Street without really trying. Mostly, you don’t want to panic or scare anyone. It may sound amusing, but it is true. Actors have an enormous amount of influence (or clout) in movies and TV, and many are unafraid to flaunt it. But, the layers of people are still there and they respond appropriately to the monetizable value of the name they represent. That’s the way it’s always been in LA. And although I was fully aware of the “Rules of the Game” I chose to ignore them and, if possible, create my own rules. So I proceeded forward with everything I had, following a famous order issued by Admiral David Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay in the American Civil War: “Damned the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!”
I walked forward. It was more than just a walk. I was the beginning of a long and arduous journey. Most of? It was necessary!
I wasn’t going to allow anything to stop me or my dream. Famous actors get to choose their projects based on their preferences, their taste and they retain financial and creative control to the fullest degree possible. That’s what I wanted. That is what everybody in the movie and TV business wants.
I put the talented people in various roles and capacities. People I trusted who would enable me to create the movies I envisioned. I wanted to star in my own movie(s) (as well as in the movies of others). That’s the how and why of the material I chose and pursued. I related deeply to the characters. They come to be engraved in my imagination and I became certain, I could bring value to the parts I was playing as an actor and to the movie itself.
Going through this process, I further developed my entrepreneurial inclinations. I had in my back pocket all the business knowhow I had learned and inherited from my grandfather. There were also the lessons I learned from mentors and trusted partners of whom I stayed connected.
My goal was to go further than Hollywood movies tend to go. I wanted to produce cinematic and compelling motion pictures. Movies that meant something to people. Not just an excuse to munch on popcorn and suck down diet sodas. Art. Film art! And, it didn’t really matter what role I had in delivering it. That was secondary.
Today, I feel I am dedicated in bringing innovation to the art of cinema. Substandard movies have been made for way too long. So, yes, I am entrepreneur. And it seems to me, that’s what I was all along. I always enjoyed getting things done. And here I was, on a brand new path.
Through these thoughts I could see the palm fronds swaying and the Canyon opening out into a beautifully wide open valley. The Borrego desert. Once upon a time it was envisioned by it’s developers that Borrego Springs would compete with Palm Springs and Las Vegas as a destination resort area. As I sat there, I had to consider what the original vision was and why that had failed. I finally came to the conclusion that far too many compromises had been made while infiltrating the vision and passion of the original artists who saw the colony of Borrego Springs disintegrate right before their eyes. Lavish golf courses degenerated into trailer parks. Beautiful homes fell into disrepair. In a few short years a once thriving desert oasis became a dry, dusty ghost town.
The sun was setting and straight ahead, beyond the flat wasteland, lie the town of Borrego Springs. A dream unfulfilled. I became determined, no matter what, not to allow that to happen to me.
- Current: 2 - Passage II
- 2 - Passage