They don't even wait for the blood to dry
Here they come.
At the start of a new year, with a film project well underway and a new job and move adding to the list of blessings and positive changes, here come the voices. Here come the demons of the past. The voices that stir doubt and insecurities. The thoughts of inadequacy that plague many artists and creative souls and I feel are always just one thought away from rushing in right when things are looking up.
But you've tried a bike company before.
Your creative pursuits are fine but ultimately a waste of energy because they never pay the bills.
What if you start and stall again?
Here you go starting another project on your own.
The world already has plenty of bike companies, what makes yours so special?
The world already has plenty of documentaries, what makes yours so special?
You still don't even live anywhere.
And of course the big one - You say you want a family but uh.. you're still single.
But you're making a $%&@# movie?!!
Right? That alone should be enough to put me on a permanently positive trajectory, flying high above my doubts like a satellite floating over the small towns of Newfoundland.
Dude why you gotta bag on Newfoundland?
More than a movie
It's true. I am making a movie, and it's way more than just a movie. If you've watched the trailer for my new film and journey "30 Bikes: The Story of Homestead Bicycles," you'll possibly remember me having said "I don't just want to find these bikes, I need a new life."
The film's "A" story is what the character wants, the "B" story is what he or she needs.
A new life
Happens not with a different spirit or attitude, although those can be helpful. No - a new life happens with new actions. To that end I started a list of things in my life that are different than they were just a few months ago.
Here's what I've been doing different:
1. I placed a Craigslist ad seeking help to make a bmx doc - which I thought of doing FOUR YEARS ago -and instead of selling or trying to sound slick I just told my story as honestly as I could.
2. That led to finally finding partners (!) - something I didn't have on the first three films I've made, as well as on countless other projects throughout my entrepreneurial and creative life.
3. I've done stand-up comedy. ??!! Ok so I'm no Jerry Seinfeld yet but the "nothing left to lose" mentality pushed me to try something I've wanted to try for years now. It's a tough racket make no mistake, but I got a few laughs and hey - I went back and did it four times!
4. My car has a bike rack on it again. Might not seem like a big deal but it's actually been 18 years since any of my cars has had a bike rack on it. Hard to ride much further than your own neighborhood without a bike rack.
5. Visited S&M Bikes here in Orange County to ask about possibly doing a new Homestead prototype. Again something I've thought of and wanted to explore for years.
6. Reconnected with friends from 20+ years ago and met a new community of bikers and ex-bikers, Homestead fans some new some old, but a community that I'll desperately need (and want) should I ride down the bike company road a second time.
7. I've gone on two dates. No nothing amazing but hey, that's two more than I've gone on in the last four years - hard to start a family when you're not dating.
8. Wrote a Homestead Bicycles Mission statement. Seriously? What am I a glutton for? Sheesh but it's like Dad would say "it's a river and I'm just flowing in it."
8. Visited the legendary Sheep Hills BMX track - only a few miles from the 405 and how many years I've just passed right by.
9. Fallen down twice on my bike and scraped and bloody never felt so good.
10. I get up earlier.
It's true. I can't explain it but I just do. I get up with purpose and a clear path, there's money to be earned, a new life to carve, a Homestead following to build, a car to get out of storage, women to date, and yes still an important film to finish.
A new generation
One thing I do when I'm feeling like everything I'm doing might fail - I go further in. It was this pattern that found me meeting none other than the youngest son of Ken Kingsley, owner of Expanse Bike Shop in Felton and the same Ken K who wanted his entire bike shop team to ride a Homestead.
Nathan wasn't even born when I lived at the bike shop off highway nine right before calling it quits on Homestead.
But he's in a band and I need music.
Yes he's Phil.
The band has a cool indie-rock vibe with a hint of classic rock. And it worked. That cool song in the opening of the 30 Bikes Trailer? Nathan's band Analogue Spirit. That I only just found one week before.
Wait there's more.
Nathan's favorite artist? Tom Petty. I don't need to tell you we connected almost instantly. I got to tell him of working at his dad's bike shop when the Wildflowers album came out, what it was like when the country was in a long recession, grunge music had made dirty hippies out of video game nerds, mtv had become a lip syncing shadow of its former self, and Tom Petty comes along with an album like Wildflowers.
Wait a second
Am I listening to myself?
Did I just explain how Tom followed his heart to create an original work at a time when on the outside it would seem the exact OPPOSITE of what people would want? Tom didn't care what people might want. Tom didn't care what was going on at the time in the world - the world of music or the world at large. Tom didn't care if he was going against every grain because his own grain is what mattered. It's all that's ever mattered to Tom and a huge reason I've always respected him.
So ok - I hear you inside voice. You're louder and clearer than the demons. Are you saying I follow my heart regardless of what's going on in the world? Are you saying I let the designs flow and see where they lead? Are you saying I finish this film even though I don't know if it's leading to more bikes or more films? That even though the world has enough bikes maybe there's still room for something different that's cool?
Are you saying...
Are you saying I create something that comes from an honest place and if only one person responds to it that's enough?
And that that one person is probably me?
I can live with that.