March seemed to fly by with anxiety and anticipation. My mind was filled every moment leading to the 19th, when Andreos Chunaco and I would fly from Nashville to Los Angeles. As soon as we began to cross the country’s airstreams, it dawned on me that what had been dormant for months in my thoughts was finally waking from its slumber and looming over my entire being. Investing so much into a single project began to take its toll on my heart. I could feel the weight of what was to come begin to sink deep into the bones of me. I should have already known that God would show His hand in my life as He always does.
A week before takeoff, Andreos (my friend and director for the project) and I took an opportunity to try filming a series of scenes at a location in Nashville we thought would suit the video, even though we planned on filming the rest in Los Angeles. Andreos reached out to another filmmaker he had met on a few occasions, Dave Altizer. Dave has had experience in low-budget, indie-style music videos of the same realm that we set out to make. He gave priceless advice as to camera selection, style choice, and gear options. Little did we know this advice would glean a much greater return than a good day’s shoot.
Andreos and I began scrambling to iron out the details of our trip to Los Angeles: itinerary, locations, gear rental, talent and extras, lodging, food, and a million other particulars that we never seemed to remember when we needed to. As days began to close in on the trip, Andreos came to me with the subject we continually wrestled with: to approach this video correctly, we needed to hire a small film crew. A director simply can’t film, and direct, and produce, while still maintaining a high quality of work. However, to stay at a budget close to that of someone who can’t even afford his own room, we were being forced to pass on elements that were going to take the video from simply being completed to actually being successful. We came to a crossroads, with only forty-eight hours until we reached Los Angeles.
That same night of our financial–practical reckoning, I happened to run into Dave at my day job. He flagged me down with a huge grin, introduced me to his wife, and we talked for a moment. He had really helped us out the week before, so I made sure to let him know how valuable his time and assistance was. Dave asked how the project was panning out, and, despite my feigned smile, I’m sure he could see through to the fear beginning to grow in my heart.
The sun began to conspire against us, as time passed faster than ever the day before we left. My phone rang at work, and a text followed that said, “Call me ASAP.” Andreos picked up and said a series of unbelievable statements: he had randomly thought of Dave that morning, so Andreos called him and asked if he was interested in going to L.A. with us. Dave told Andreos that he was actually thinking about moving out there in the future, and had been looking for an opportunity to check out the city. Dave also happened to be free for the weekend, and wanted to help out with the video for much less than what he should have charged. Sitting on my break, my head spun and something Andreos had said to me before formed over the ringing in my ears: If we were going to fly to Los Angeles to make my vision come to life, we better be sure we’re doing it right. Just like that, I bought Dave’s ticket, and he met us in Los Angeles the following night.
The filming hadn’t even begun, but we had acquired a Director of Photography that had knowledge of the camera we were to use, had gear he brought along, and experience filming videos of the same quality. The facts that I had seen him days before, that he had been wanting to check out L.A., and happened to be free for the weekend all pointed to a divine setting of the stage. It’s not normal for me to be able to see God’s work in my life, but this was too clear to ignore. Anxiety, like morning clouds burned away by midday sun, began to subside. Los Angeles held a weekend of adventure and creation.
Photo by Andreos Chunaco.