We had the good fortune of connecting with Gavin Michael Booth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gavin Michael, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is everything in life and career. Taking the plunge to ask the girl of my dreams on that first date, deciding “I’m going to make my first film”, reaching out to someone that could change your life even if there’s a good chance they’ll say no. As they say without risk there is no reward. It is absolutely true. I would be nowhere in my personal life and my career without taking huge swings. It is always risky but what do you have to lose? You at least will know you tried and can never be haunted by the What If demons down the road. One example in my career is that I used to sneak into concerts with a fake media pass. This was back home, when I lived next to Detroit. I only really did it to meet the bands I liked and try to see the concert for free (funny timing, that band just came on the radio as I type this – Third Eye Blind). It ended up with me being hired to produce projects for the band – a relationship that exists to this day. It also took me on my first trip to Los Angeles where I now live. It started the foundation of a career in the “professional” filmmaking and music business as well as giving me to confidence that my creativity was worthy at that level. Most recently I directed a single-take movie. No hidden cuts in the entire film. Nearly everyone told us not to make the film. That’s hard to hear from your colleagues and friends but we made it anyways because why no? No risk no… you get the idea. We did it. We did it well. We have a film now that is reviewed with excellence and wonder at our accomplishment. Anyone can make a movie but you should take risks to make your movie. Take those shots. End of the day, most of the time you’ll hear a no and just move on to take the shots somewhere else.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Telling bold stories. I don’t pull punches with my work and I don’t like to compromise. I’d rather not do a project than do what I consider a watered down or sanitized version of a project. You need to the the type of storyteller your heart is telling you. I like raw cinema. I like stories that if they have dark subject matter they go there – the dive into that subject no matter how uncomfortable. That’s me in a nutshell – I’m going to punch you in the face with the subject matter and use cinema to evoke a reaction – good or bad. That combined with the mentality of “F*ck it! Let’s do it, budget be damned.” Don’t let Hollywood or producers tell you you can’t do something. You can always do something another way. There is no one way of thinking about reaching your goal. Find new people to surround yourself with. Find collaborators that share your vision. Find a cheaper way. Just get it done at any cost. That has served me well time and time again. Money will always come, inspiration is fleeting. Always be creating, that’s the biggest lesson. Not having money, access to big movie studios, etc. are excuses, they are not actually preventing you from being what you claim to be – a filmmaker. It definitely isn’t an easy career. There is no one set path to take. You don’t go to school, apply for a job and then work your way up a ladder of promotions until you retire. It is rejection constantly. Rejection to the point you are numb to it. Rejection feels the same as a coffee shop telling me they are out of lids today – it means nothing. You develop thick skin and just keep going with your day. The more you find your tribe, find your people to collaborate with, the less concerned you are with waiting for the big studios to say yes. You learn that there are many levels to create on and many outlets to “filmmaking”, it isn’t just making narrative feature films. If you develop yourself in a few areas like I have, you have fulfilment and creative opportunities more often. My story has been about taking all of the biggest risks and doing what everyone else tells me I can’t do. I can do anything. Maybe not right away but if I work at it – ANYTHING. You can to.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Salsa and Beer in North Hollywood is where we eat. I’ve yet to have out of towners or even folks who live here not be dazzled by the food. The Venice beach strip and the walk to Santa Monica is magic. I never tire of it. So much activity, so much live, so much sun and beauty. You have to drive the coast and make a stop there. If it’s coffee, then it’s Romancing The Bean in Burbank. As a movie fanatic, NoHo Laemmle 7 is the spot on Thursday night for their throwback series. A chance to see so many classics I’ve never seen in a cinema before.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Mimetic Entertainment Inc.