Wednesday, May 27, 2015

San Diego to L.A.: Part 5, The Conclusion

Performing solo on tour in Vancouver, Washington
So I don't know if you've noticed yet, but this is a 5-part series about my move from San Diego to Los Angeles, we're up to the final part here, and I STILL haven't told you anything about the actual move yet.

I also haven't really told you WHY I moved to L.A.  I told you a bunch of stories about stuff that happened in San Diego and L.A. in August of 2013.

A new friend of mine here in L.A. of course knew that I had recently moved here from San Diego.  But she also recently found out that I have moved A LOT in my life.  Several times within my home state of Maine.  Maine to Washington, D.C.  Washington, D.C. back to Maine.  Then did those 2 moves each a second time.  Then Maine to Athens, Ohio.  Athens, Ohio to Cincinnati.  Cincinnati to New York City.  New York City back to Cincinnati.  Cincinnati back to New York City!  New York City to New Hampshire.  New Hampshire back to Maine.  Maine to San Diego.  And lastly San Diego to L.A. Whew!  A lotta, lotta moves.

Performing on tour with
Victor Bravo in Dayton, Ohio
So my new friend asked me four questions:

1) Why have I done so many of these big moves in my life?

2) Was it scary when I did these big moves?

3) What did I do to prepare myself for them?

4) What advice would I have for other people who wanted to do a big move, and/or were seriously considering one?

I'll give the simple answers first:

1) To follow my dreams

2) Yes

3) Not much - although I did get better at having money saved up and/or a new source of income in the new place BEFORE I did the move

4) DO IT!! (even if you're REALLY scared!)

All the stuff that happened in August 2013 was really just a bunch of awesome things echoing or reminding me of something deep inside myself.  Since I was a little kid, I had always wanted to live in Los Angeles, deep down.  I don't know exactly why.  What seemed to spark it was when I went to see Star Wars (Episode IV, the original) in the movie theater when it was first released, and I found out that a man named George Lucas did this for a living.  He made movies.  That was his job.

Performing on tour with Atomic Shotgun in Washington, D.C.
I thought Star Wars was the best thing ever made, ever.  So I decided I wanted to do that, make movies.  And I heard somewhere that everyone who made movies lived in L.A., and all the jobs for making movies were there.  And then I heard that there was a college called UCLA, and it had a film school you could go to.  You would learn about making movies, then you would live in L.A. and make movies and be very, very happy.  (I assumed for years that Lucas and Steven Spielberg had gone to film school at UCLA, years later I found out they went to USC.)

So I decided my whole plan for life.  I was going to get a summer job when I was in high school, and save all of my money.  I was going to buy my own Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, drive to L.A., go to UCLA Film School, become a filmmaker, settle in L.A., and live happily ever after.  I remember telling my Grampa Soucy this and him thinking this was really great.  He told everyone else in my family about my grand plan.  He thought it was fantastic that I had it all figured out.

Now I didn't do anything close to that plan.  As I grew up and the years went by, my heart and soul issued a bunch of different callings to me, and I answered them all by following wherever they led. I  In high school, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer or a history professor, so I went to college starting to focus on those things.

Then when I got to college, I got interested in politics, journalism, and theater.  So I ran for Student Government President and won, and became President of the College Democrats on campus.  I won an internship working in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., and worked on campaigns for people running for the state legislature and Congress.  I took a course in writing for the media and wrote articles for the campus newspaper.  I took classes on playwriting, directing plays and acting, and did all of those things.

When I was doing my internship in Washington, my heart really wanted me to get more into theater.  So I went and got a Master's degree in theater, wrote and directed more plays, and did more acting.  By the end of that program, I really wanted to focus specifically on acting.  I thought of moving to New York or L.A. and just diving in, but I wanted more experience and training before doing that.  So I went and got a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting, and got exactly what I wanted - a resume full of roles, training and experience on stage.

The first time I moved to New York City, I got a powerful lesson in the next thing I needed to work on - getting my financial house in order.  I had been in college and grad school for years, and hadn't really learned how to take good care of my finances.  So I moved back to Cincinnati, where I had finished my Acting degree and made lots of friends, and where life was a lot less expensive!  I worked really hard for two years there, still acting and writing plays on the side...and that's when I really started to realize I could write songs, and that I really enjoyed writing songs.

Once I got my finances in great shape, I moved back to New York City - I thought at first to get back into theater.  But soon after, my passion for songwriting took over, and I started my punk rock band, Victor Bravo.  That band, as you may know, had an exciting six-year run, making records, playing New York and Boston constantly, and touring across the U.S. multiple times.  In what turned out to be the last year of Victor Bravo, I started a second band, Atomic Shotgun, which had a great couple of years together.  During that time, I lived another dream, taking four months and traveling all around the U.S. by myself, doing solo shows and experiencing many parts of the country I lived in for the first time.

After a year of regrouping, reflecting and recharging back in my home state of Maine - and the first fun-filled season of my livestreaming music show LIVE from The Basement, I at first thought I wanted to finally live the dream I had when I was a kid, and go to live in Los Angeles.  But after recently leaving the largest city in the U.S. after eight wonderful years, I just wasn't ready to move to the second largest city in the U.S.  I needed a transition period, and had heard amazing things about San Diego.

So I moved to San Diego and all the amazing things I had heard were true!  It was beautiful, calm, relaxing, and friendly.  I made lots of great friends and did a ton of performing, doing open mics all over the area.  I wrote a lot more songs and was ready for the next chapter of my life...until that weekend in L.A. with Mike.

I realized what I had experienced in L.A. that weekend was really a reminder from my heart and soul that I had at least one more great calling to fulfill in my life.  I couldn't go be an undergraduate film student at UCLA, and I bought a 2002 Honda Civic, not a 1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.  But I could definitely go build a life in the City of Angels.

With amazing help and support from many friends, both in San Diego and L.A., I moved to L.A. on October 25, 2013.  Since then, I have commenced building this exciting next chapter, making money, finding my first home here with my great housemate Kelli and my two feline friends Frankie and Mister.  I've been learning my way around, making friends, going to see some great musicians, and exploring the many things L.A. has to offer.  I did a second full season of LIVE from The Basement, and wrote many new songs which I've posted here and on my YouTube channel.

And now my next full album is written, and I am working hard on raising the money needed to bring it to a fully realized set of songs for you.  I can't wait to start recording it.

I can say quite honestly that I love my new life here in Los Angeles, and I continue to be excited about whatever happens next.  I am living proof that if you follow those inner callings from your heart and soul, you will get a fun, exciting life filled with the friends, fun and experiences you truly desire.  Nothing may go exactly as planned, and there probably will be many surprises along the way, but that's a big part of what makes this life great and worth really living.  Even if a bunch of other callings have happened, and a lot of time seems to have passed, it is never too late to go follow a dream.

I suspect my new friend who asked me the four questions above asked me because she has a dream within herself.  Something her own heart and soul is telling her to do, that might bring her great joy and fulfillment if she takes the plunge.  But she may be experiencing some fear and resistance to following this dream, as we all do.

My friends will tell you - I am a brave guy who has taken a lot of chances and done a lot of risky things, but they did not happen without fear and resistance!  I had a lot of fear about moving to New York, moving to San Diego, moving to L.A.  I had fear about getting my degree in Acting, about taking my band on stage in New York City for the first time, and then across the country.  I had fear about traveling all across the U.S. completely by myself.  But each time, I felt the fear and did it anyway.

So to my new friend who asked me those great four questions, and to you reading this right now, I say: GO!  Do that thing you dream of doing.  Take that risk.  Go for it!  Yes, you may need a reasonable amount of preparation.  But don't try to prepare perfectly, there's no way to do that.  And don't keep putting it off with the excuse, "I'm still preparing, I'm just not ready yet."  It may not go at all as you planned, but if it's a calling that comes from your heart and soul, you can't go wrong.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.


Thanks so much for visiting and reading.  I truly appreciate it more than I can express.

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