Friday, May 31, 2013

The Delta Zulu Chronicles - Prologue

"See, this is why you can't have nice things." - Cody Cohen, Delta Zulu Technical Advisor.

I am a professional failure. Throughout my whole entire life I've always been one with big dreams and high aspirations but I constantly left a dusted trail of failures behind me. At a young age I discovered the art of cinema and I knew immediately that film making was the career I wanted to spend the rest of my life failing at. Fresh into college I started professionally failing immediately by dropping out of the Television and Film program at San Diego State University. Shortly after I would start one unfinished project after the other. Finally at one of the pivotal moments in my professional failing career I would give birth to the greatest failure of my young adult life, a film that was called Delta Zulu. Delta Zulu was a film that seemed like every independent filmmakers dream project that looked one hundred percent legit on paper. Only a professional failure like me could bring a movie like Delta Zulu to a pile of dust that would be blown away and soon forgotten like every other unfinished indy film. Watching something that you've literally poured your blood, sweat, jizz, and tears into painfully melt away in front of you is a hard thing to bear when you're a twenty-five year old failure. But as a professional failure this is what I work for... and live for. The professional failure is used to watching his dreams disappear in front of his face, and he is used to the sting of defeat and criticism from his peers. He relishes these feelings and charges these moments of demoralization because that is what he lives for. Some may say that he gets a sense of satisfaction from these moments of absolute failure, but that is the mark of a true professional failure. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles I was a closet pro failure, until I realized that I was finally amongst my people. In L.A. you learned to wear your failures like medals' of honor. Those who told  the war stories of long lost passion projects, were legendary heroes. This made me realize that being a failure was an essential part of being a professional artist. Some of them eventually became successful and showed us that there was light at the end of the tunnel for those who endured and got lucky. I found when I started telling my own war story, of Delta Zulu, it would captivate quite the audience.

The story of Delta Zulu would always start off with me trying to pitch my unfinished movie as sort of some last bastion of hope for my ego. When the conversation finally steered itself to the question of where the final product was, I always found myself telling the real story behind Delta Zulu. I didn't tell them a story about mercenaries fighting zombies and renegades in post apocalyptic Los Angeles. I told them the story about a group of aspiring filmmakers who had their dreams crushed when all odds were against them on their feature film debut. I found that the listeners of each story always preferred the story behind of the making of Delta Zulu; it was filled with much more drama and better characters than it's fictional counterpart. People seemed to love to hear the story of my failure as much as I loved talking it. It was very therapeutic. I discovered that people didn't necessarily love hearing about my failure, instead they enjoyed hearing the story of someone who tried to do something they believed in. Commonly I get the question if I would do it again if I had the chance, and the answer always is, "In a heart beat."

I have learned that being an artist is to be a failure, but one that never gives up. This is the story of one of my ultimate failures, my attempt to make a feature film called Delta Zulu with a rag tag crew of fresh faced filmmakers and a fist full of high interest credit cards. Many probably think that reliving this low point in my life probably tears away at my heart each time I tell the story, but in actuality I can't help but to laugh to myself even when I remember it privately in my day dreams.

As a writer I feel it is my duty to be as honest with you as possible. The stories I'll be telling are from my perspective and to my best recollection. The following is a real story about real people and isn't meant to portray anybody in a negative tone. I apologize if this blog ever gathers a lot of attention and those of you portrayed in this story feel like you weren't depicted honestly. I feel like the reason people are drawn to these true war stories is because they are real, gritty, and uncensored. I hope the readers of my story learn something for my mistakes, and you take those lessons from my failure with you onto your next adventure. Before I start this story from the beginning I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen as I share one of my greatest train wrecks. Enjoy.