Home » Real Talk » Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

Awe yes. The new year is just around the corner, and a new mission statement must be written. 2019 was… Well… Disappointing for me. Outside of a final sound mix currently being worked on (slowly, I didn’t pay the guy enough to rush him), The 13th Cross’s Post-Production Process is nearly complete. All we need is to submit it to film festivals and start going to see the movie with an audience. A success, yes, but I wanted the process to take half the time that it did (last Christmas my laptop was stolen and all the editing had to be done by Parker Peterson, with a slow back-and-forth note-trading process that was incredibly inefficient). 

A similar problem happened with my podcast, Ultima Final Fantasy. I wanted the show to be completely wrapped up on the 5th anniversary of the show, May 2019, and we didn’t finish those games up until November. Life, finances, and everything wanted to get in the way. 

Also, the release schedule for The Godzilla Podcast was brought to a complete halt simply due to my living situation, and my inability to find a suitable environment for recording. Turns out that living in a place with 9 people in it really adds a lot of variables to the challenge of getting everyone to shut up for 2 hours so I can talk without interruption over a movie synched up with my friend 800 miles away. Go figure, right? 

Oh, and that next script I wanted to write is also non-existent. I wrote maybe 70 pages worth of material throughout the year, stretched over 3 different projects. Some might say I’m just making excuses at this point, but on all the writing projects I’ve finished I either had near-complete control over my writing environment or I wrote them at the library where people leave you alone. Once again, 9 people in an apartment is not a great writing environment, and a bit of irrational fear kept me away from the LA public library until a week ago.

Some good stuff happened in 2019. Kaleb and I got to meet Podcast listeners at Kupocon and got to explore more of New York with friends. I also saw Joshua Tree with my friend Timo, which has inspired me to want to see all the other National Parks my new home of California has to offer.

I started regularly working out about 10 months ago, and about 4 months ago I was convinced to join a gym by a work buddy. I feel physically stronger than ever, and a lot of the detachment I started to feel a couple of months after I moved here has basically disappeared.

I think I was the most confident as a man right off the heels of finishing Production on The 13th Cross. I was more than aware that although there are many thousands of Film School graduates dreaming about making a movie (many, who like myself wanted to be filmmakers since they were in 2nd Grade), I was one of the few who actually did it. Unfortunately, a year of post-production and nothing to show for your efforts (we’ve shown the movie to, what, 8 people?), that self-confidence goes right back down, and you’re yet another of the thousands of dreamers who come to LA and have nothing to show for it. Anyway, the exercise helps. Especially since I’ve been going to the gym.

Another unlikely self-confidence booster is that I accidentally sang around the right people and was thoroughly complimented on my voice. This created a positive feedback loop that has had me going back to the days when I did musical theater and sang all the time. It’s a superpower I’ve hidden for far too long. I realize some people find folks who sing annoying, but my audience isn’t those people, my audience is the gorgeous 19-year-old Latina girl who gently puts her hands around your arm and says, slowly, in a Spanish accent, “I love it when you sing, Joseph.” 

Speaking of Spanish: The last improvement in 2019 was my language learning. I moved to LA only knowing maybe 5 words in Spanish, and I’ve drilled myself on vocabulary almost daily using Memrise and Duolingo, and practicing it on the speakers at work. Now I can have simple conversations, pick up on things people are saying around me, and I’m familiar with about 1200 words. It’s pretty awesome. I’m gonna keep this up.

You might say, “Joe, sure you were delayed in some of your loftier projects, but what’s the big deal? 2019 seems like a good year for you.” 

I think now I can talk about the one thing that has truly made 2019 a slog for me: money.

Turns out paying for the lunches on an indie film, moving to Los Angeles, paying LA’s insane rent and food prices, getting hours cut at your survival job for weeks on end, having your editing equipment stolen and slowly having to replace it, having multiple car maintenance requirements, and having an insane and pricey diet you can’t get off of or else you’ll get a migraine might be a little taxing on the ‘old wallet. I went from having about $3,000 in savings to having $9,200 of debt.

I tried my best to manage it, even had two of my credit cards paid off sometime during the summer, but things always seemed to pop up. I’ve had to rely on others more than I ever should have to. Not having enough money to take someone to a taco stand brings with it a deep, deep feeling of shame that hasn’t been helpful to my self-worth or my productivity.

I guess this is where the 2020 goal-setting starts in this post. The crazy last-resort move I’m pulling to get my life back into my control:

Hobo Joe Joe

My plan, entitled “Hobo Joe Joe” commences on December 31st. Guess what? I’m going to be living in my car! You might be wondering why anyone would ever do such a thing. Let me be clear: even with all of my money problems, I am not being forced onto the streets. I am doing it because I want to.

Look, I’m an outdoorsy guy. I don’t mind sleeping somewhere without a mattress, and frankly, if I can live in a bunk bed in an apartment with 8 other dudes, I can live anywhere. I have a friend named Emily who traveled the country in her van once upon a time, and when I first heard from her that that was something people did, my eyes lit up. The freedom of it sounds amazing, and so does the idea that if I’m smart enough with it, I can live in Los Angeles rent-free. I can park in safe neighborhoods or on the beach, shower at my 24-hour gym, get free parking at my work in downtown, and write at the library central to all of the places I’d be frequenting. No distractions. No television. Just me, some clothes, some bedding, and my acoustic guitar. I could get so much done in such a short period. I can catch up on the writing I didn’t get done in 2019, I can work out every day, get into better shape, and most importantly, not pay rent and save a boat-load of money. If I #vanlife’d it for 6 to 8 months, I could pay off my debts in their entirety.

I’m not going to plan on doing that though. Having failed to do The Bonneville Trail as a thru-hike, alone, I know I have some emotional/psychological limits that I could be real close to pushing living a life like that. Last week, I slept out in my car for 2 days in a row and did just fine, but it still ain’t quite the commitment I’ll be having come the 31st, the day my rental contract is up. My goal is to pay off 5 small debts and expenses that should go pretty quickly (a month at most), and then I can move in with my friend, whom I’ve already coordinated all this with.

But! Let’s say I get real good at living like that. Being the clean, tidy, fit, and productive hobo that I dream of being. Let’s say I rack up that dough and I’m loving it, then my little Chevy Aveo will get traded in for a van, and I’ll allow myself the option of living fully “#vanlife”. When 13th Cross starts up the festival circuit, I’d have enough money to be able to drive all over the country and see the film with an audience, which sounds like an absolute dream. Remember, I gotta try it out for those first few weeks before I commit, but I do like the sound of it. Hobo Joe Joe is gonna be all about that jump-start in artistic hunger and productivity and will be a good reset on my finances. 

This is the daily schedule/meal plan/dress plan on a day when I have to work:

  • 7:30 am: (pre-street sweep time): Get up and study my Spanish. Eat a breakfast bar. 
  • 8:00 am: Park my car in my free parking spot in DTLA, go work out.
  • 8:45 am: Shower/Brush Teeth/Trim Beard/Get dressed
  • 9:30 am: Write
  • 2:00 pm: Lunch at Work
  • 2:30 pm: Start Shift
  • 4:30 pm: Eat last meal at work (I don’t want to have to shit in the middle of the night, gotta be done eating early)
  • 11:00 pm: Park, get changed into basketball shorts and a t-shirt and sleep.

On days when I have work off, I just plan on being at the movies, doing laundry, or doing all the crap I couldn’t afford to do when I had to pay rent. I’m going to try this for a couple of weeks and see. It’s going to take a lot of discipline. Discipline I’ve been known to have in a few aspects of my life. I will technically be a hobo, but if I start smelling like one, I’ve failed.

Health and Fitness

So now that I’ve talked about the Hobo Joe Joe experiment, which will include a lot of gym time, I wanna set a health and fitness goal. The minimum I want to work out is 3 times a week. Since May 2016 I’ve lost 79 pounds, but I hope to go from the 216 I’ve managed to get to, and finally, break that 200-pound barrier. It was last year’s goal, and I ended up dropping only 9 pounds over the year (I’m only counting the low points, I tend to float a couple of pounds above), but with the added working out and my new focus on discipline, I think I can do it. I know I can, actually. Screw that, I know I WILL.

Dress

Last year, I had a vague “dress better” goal. I tried, but the money is a hindrance, and, having been a bigger man, all the old shirts are now a little too big. My nice button-ups were getting a beating at work, so now I’m back to the plain, grey t-shirt collection. This is a secondary goal, but if I pay off 3 of my 4 credit cards, and get below that 200-pound goal, I’m gonna get my costume designer friend to do my measurements, and I’m ordering some custom clothing as a reward. Jeans, button-up, and Blazer. I’m gonna look hot. So… Wanna meet me in the back of my Chevy Aveo I’ll be living in by the beach? Ladies? Anyone?

Dating

Speaking of ladies, let’s talk about my late-bloomer attempt to learn how to date at age 26/27 and how that went in 2019. I asked (are you ready for this?) three women out since moving to LA. One date, of which there weren’t any sparks, and two rejections. Eh, live and learn I guess. 

To give myself some credit, as this is something I have never brought up on the Podcasts or anything really, I was an early bloomer, and then when things didn’t work out with the girl I was planning to marry (At 19 years old. Alas, in some ways, I’m not very bright…), I was very traumatized. It took me two years to simply not be upset when I drove by my hometown. I gained weight, isolated myself from women (mostly unintentionally), and feeling shame at my weight, my lack of money, my looks, my friends, my job, my philosophical beliefs, and my weird Podcast hobby, I didn’t exactly feel comfortable putting myself out there. I tried a handful of times, but I think women can smell the trauma. When in the wake of a dalliance that happened late last year, one that left me pretty upset, I decided I was going to make a change. My goal when I moved to LA was to ask out every woman I felt attracted to, EARLY, so I wouldn’t get too crushed if I was rejected, and try, TRY to be casual about it. Also, I was to attempt to talk to every woman I came in regular contact with and try to make friends, not necessarily girlfriends. Basically, give me some exposure therapy and re-work some of that trauma. This has mostly worked to my benefit, and I’m making progress. The money problem has stopped me from going, “Hey, wanna go get some tacos after this?” a couple of times, so that’s gotta be ironed out. See what not having even just a free 20 bucks does? I want to keep up with this goal. It’s been good for me. Some growing pains, sure, but it’s been good for me.

The 13th Cross

This is where my money went! Oh man, 2019 is the year of the bottomless pit of post-production costs. There is one more cost, and that is the submission fees for the 20 or so Film Festivals I’ve selected to throw The 13th Cross into later this year. I want it seen by as many people as possible, and hopefully, we can sell the film. If not, we’ll self-distribute it.

The Next Movie

While The 13th Cross is playing at festivals, I plan on having a couple of scripts up my sleeves to show folks. I also plan on moving forward with the next project regardless of whether or not the money is there. I have no basis for this belief, but in the arts, just as in physics, an object in motion stays in motion. Our next project (and I’m already in the trenches of three scripts) will be THE OPPOSITE of The 13th Cross and Immanuel’s Song in terms of style and themes. I want to stretch myself as an artist. I gotta keep all this vague though because a script that is talked about too much is never finished. My goal is to finish 3 first drafts by May of 2020. If Hobo Joe Joe is a success, this should be no problem. When I actually sit down to write, I’m a pretty fast writer.

The Podcasts

Podcasts for me are now very casual. Hell, I enjoy listening to Nude Clan immensely, even more so now that I’m no longer one of the co-hosts. I think a good goal is to get through FF14 for UFF this year, and hopefully the Mana games, but I need to know where and when I’ll get the time to play that stuff when I’m possibly Hobo Joe Joe for a long time. I also don’t want to get too caught up in things that’ll distract me from my movie stuff. The Godzilla Podcast is easy enough to do when I have the right environment, and I think I’m gonna end up asking a friend if I can use their apartment for 2 hours once a month. I’d like to have one Godzilla Podcast a month, and catch up on those Patreon Episodes we owe. There’s like 5 people we owe episodes to. And I gotta send out another round of stickers… This will have to wait until I figure out my living situation a bit.

Another goal is to take the old making-of episodes we put on the Getting PHAT feed and move it to my new feed called “The Joseph DeGolyer Show”. When The 13th Cross starts touring around I plan on using that feed as a fun promotional tool. And, for those interested, if I feel like talking about something on a podcast, but not so much to make a new show out of it, I’ll be dropping it on that feed.

Music

You bet your bottom dollar I’m gonna learn some more love songs on that acoustic guitar. Let’s do one a month. And I’ll post a video on Instagram to prove it. Also, if possible (too many variables in my living situation to know), I want to record that Megadeth version of “Real Emotion” for the UFF listeners. Real bummer when a hobo broke into our home and stole my Laptop last Christmas. I also had a near-complete cover of “…And Justice for All” that I was doing to stretch my guitar-playing skills. If I could re-do the lost work on that, I would.

Travel

I WILL VISIT EITHER MEXICO OR CANADA THIS YEAR. That’s it. That’s the goal. I wanna go to some National Parks in California as well, but that’s less important. Despite having 40 states under my belt, I’ve never left my home country. I have a friggin’ passport, so this needs to change.

Books

There’s far too much work to do this year for me to have a lofty reading goal (in 2017 I did 52 books in 52 weeks), but I plan on reading at least a book every other week (a total of 26 books) in 2020. This year, I’ve had two long-term reading goals that I’ve slowly chipped away at. One is my goal to read all of the Harvard Classics, of which I completed 2 more volumes of, and made good progress in Plutarch’s Lives (extremely difficult to get through, for me) and Robert Bern’s Poems (turns out old Scottish is really hard to read as well). I want to at least finish those volumes this year, and hopefully more. My other goal, a challenge I made to myself more recent, is to read a biography on every US President, in order. Today I finished a book on John Quincy Adams. Such a great reading challenge, and Ron Chernow’s George Washington: A Life is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Self-Education

I don’t know if it’s all the movies I watch or what, but I’m not much of a fiction guy anymore, so my reading goals, centered mostly around biographies and other non-fiction subjects, are also a source of continual self-education. I also read books about film and filmmakers when I’m on break at work, and I attempt to watch and study the key films of the person I’m reading about simultaneously. These are all good habits that I plan to keep up in 2020. Also, I want to complete all of the Memrise and Duolingo Courses I have on my phone this year for my Spanish studies. Currently, I’m on course 5/7 in Memrise, and course 3/6 in Duolingo.

Movies

The world’s easiest goal to keep. I’m gonna have watched about 100 movies this year (not rewatches), and considering I hold a day-job and live in incredibly distracting circumstances, that’s not too bad a number. 100 is a safe Movie watching goal, but if I get to the point where I can freelance full-time and have some control over my space, you bet that number will go back up.

Freelancing

If I can get out of debt and get $2000 in savings for emergencies, you bet your bottom dollar I’m gonna freelance full-time. How fast this happens depends on the success of Hobo Joe Joe, and other uncontrollable circumstances with the movies, but wouldn’t it be great if I could make #vanlife work and get all my freedom back? It sounds nice anyway, sleeping in the car might get old. After my current gig is finished, I plan on going back to the job applications. It took 127 job applications to land 1 video-related gig. Hopefully, it’ll get easier the more I have on my resume. 

Wrap-up

…And that, ladies and gents, is where I leave you. 2019 is where I paid for all the successes of 2018, I think. But now it’s time to get serious again. 2020 is going to be a thriving year of creativity and adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.