Stunted Creativity in Boston

I've found it very difficult in Boston to find collaborators for video projects. I'd started to look at my old sketch folder on my computer and it got me excited to do real low budget, absurd comedy bits as economically as possible like I used to do. The last time I made a video like this was in Los Angeles, it was the Pillow Pal Infomercial. Simple, easy to shoot, and I love how that turned out.

Partly it's a matter of how much I'm working on productions. I was on sets a lot more often, for a lot longer hours, and in principle roles which made it easy, even for me, to start chatting up other actors and start talking about what else they're doing or want to be doing. In LA, everyone is doing something and often it's multiple things at once. They are going after the paid gigs and auditioning for the 3 lines or less co-star roles on TV but they generally also have a web series or short film written and ready to go or they have another type of video project in mind. In LA, the constant message for everybody is that you should be making your own material all the time. Most everyone aspiring to the industry in LA have this mindset and it's a very go-go atmosphere.

In Boston, I've talked to some potential collaborators online like through the Shapr networking app and met with a few but nothing has materialized as of yet. To protect myself, I try to compartmentalize the urge to make video content and bury myself elsewhere; I try to utilize the motivations I have to do something productive rather than waste that energy scrolling Facebook before something distracts my attention elsewhere.

I also really like low budget productions which doesn't seem to be much of a concept out here, not that I've seen anyway which is admittedly not much. It's been difficult to find anyone like minded out here, I don't have enough exposure to production sets which is where I usually met my friends in LA. Everyone I knew was pursuing some kind of creative work as their day job or in spite of it and their weekend was when they didn't have a project to work on.

Boston feels artistically deficient in this way. There's the Museum of Fine Arts and incredible buildings and architecture, some of which existed before this country was even founded, but I feel like that's the full extent of it. I feel like art is enjoyed only in a historical or commodity context here, not as a participatory activity. Art in Boston is a painting hung in a gallery, or a set of colorful sculptures in the center divider in the Seaport District, or a gorgeous church facade that's been converted into a luxury apartment building.

Creatively, I'm suffocating here. I feel surrounded by a mindset of big business and prestige academia, it's the absolute wrong place for me at this stage in my life. The alternatives to that mindset available to me seem to be avid sports fan or nightclub weekender. I don't feel like I see many hipsters here, any real fans of music and movies that aren't within the mainstream consciousness. I'll be interested to see the people that come out for Black Moth Super Rainbow in September.

Marijuana is even legal here and yet I don't really feel comfortable talking about my smoking with anyone, I don't feel comfortable posting pictures of me smoking because, despite legalization, the atmosphere still feels very prohibitive to someone like me. I don't even want to get into the whole legalized marijuana dispensary thing out here but here's a Boston Globe article.

In terms of vibe, I miss everything about LA. I want to be there again with every fiber of my being but to strangle myself into adding a $2000 a month expense solely for rent into my finances is a horrific thought to me. For the first time in my life, I know what it feels like to be making my own money to pay down my own debt. And I manage it through a job I loathe doing with the same dedication and seriousness I give to the work I do enjoy but it destroys me. It's not even the work that is so bad but just the uncertainty that's become so prevalent in our gig-based economy. Rideshare is my most stable job yet it has no actual stability and drivers are not valued assets, they're necessary tools that are just as easily replaced. With self-driving cars, the human drivers may become completely obsolete; I'm not sure what I'd do then other than hope we're living in a Waterworld by that point.

It's possible that $2000 a month can be offset by the more plentiful union background work available in LA. In Boston, the background work is good but I only get work every couple of weeks and usually it's just a single day's engagement. It surprises me how much I enjoy background work, it's dreadfully dull but it pays well if you're in the union and it's so much better than driving around all day with people that I don't know how to meaningfully engage.

I regret ever leaving Los Angeles. I do think coming here was a necessary change for me but it has given me an unrealistic and desirable comfort that can't exist for me in Los Angeles. I do hope I find the motivation, the courage, and/or the undeniable impetus to go back home. With the clearing of my credit card debt, I hope I can start accumulating a modest savings to feel some confidence about returning to LA without getting myself into a financial black hole.