We had the good fortune of connecting with Brendan Kimmet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brendan, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I’ve found this to really be a question of mentality. You can always hope for the perfect balance, but the life part of the equation proves more difficult to predict. Upon finding myself economically independent, working a job, I knew it would be a challenge to find the right balance between my responsibilities, both in my art and in my overall life, but I was excited to explore that balance. At first it was fairly easy. Stresses were low and focus was high; I was getting work done! Overtime however, I noticed I was leaning further to one side of the scale more than the other. I noticed my writing time dwindle and my creative craze was slowing down. I was simply beat from my job, trying to hold on to any and all inspiration I had spent so much time conjuring up over the past several months. And for a while, there was no balance, just a day to day routine. While this is obviously a very depressing time for filmmakers, and, I won’t lie there were really low times, in the end I realized that the balance isn’t a set in stone equation. The time we have on this planet is a gift and it shouldn’t be procrastinated. And that’s the way I think of the balance now, as a choice. I choose to dive back down into research, I write quick short stories to keep my creativity flowing, I read books on all aspects of filmmaking to keep my knowledge of the craft strong. But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve eaten better, gotten more sleep, exercised and got out where it’s permitted and safe. It has all made me more focused and more confident. It’s still a challenge of course, but one every artist needs to welcome. The key to a healthy and productive life in this business starts with a choice. Either you want it, or you don’t.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Every artist has this moment where they stop being an admirer, and they find their signature. Did I just quote that from the Film We Are Your Friends (2015)? This is a shout out series right? I love that quote though because not only is it so true, but it harkens to an internal journey that all of us go through trying to break into the business. For me, the journey is still afoot. Not to say I don’t know what kind of stories I want to tell because I do. It’s finding my voice in those stories, the “what I want to say” of it all. I believe that’s what separates the greats from the masters. As a lover of genre, Horror specifically, I know that the best stories are deeply rooted in one’s personal views. I love art that is darkly beautiful and says something that one can ponder on and interpret to their own experiences. I have a huge list of films that emotionally challenge and inspire me in those ways. To that point, I think one big thing that sets me apart from most people is my vast film knowledge that i’ve been developing since my senses could grasp the concept of sound and picture. I’m a walking reference and I consider that a particular strength in my conceptualization of things. It’s also something i’m just proud of because I love connecting movies to everything I do in life. I’m also proud that I live in Burbank surrounded by so many likeminded people who want to create and share their stories with the world. To touch someone, I think, is probably the most honorable achievement in this industry next to winning an Oscar; or probably more than winning one. Still, it’s not a bad thing to try and strive for both of course. I got to where I am today by holding those goals high. Were there many challenges that I faced to get here? Yes. Some personal even. But as impossible as it is to admit in the moment, the challenges we face are always the things that make us stronger when we look back on them. I overcame my challenges by simply focusing on what I want. I went to seminars, I did the readings, I took as many opportunities to expand my craft as I could to prove to myself that I know my purpose. The greatest thing I ended up learning is don’t rush. Don’t. Rush. Everyone comes into their own in their own time. Becoming a great filmmaker, a great artist in general, isn’t a race. Your debut says everything about you. It’s how you introduce yourself to the world and it’s important not to waste it. I hope I can share myself with the world one day because I definitely have a lot to say. Till then, I just want people to understand that they have time, but they have to be responsible with it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Let me take you all back to a time before the dreaded COVID-19 to all of my safe places that I, and many other people, called home to get away from it all. First and foremost we’re going to the Theaters! I’m talking Arclight Cinemas, at least, it was the best theater before the pandemic forced their closing. Other theaters I love include The TCL Chinese Theater, The beautiful Egyptian Theater, and AMC Burbank 16. There are too many to name, which is one of the main reasons I love living in the area, but these four are among the absolute best when it comes to quality, experience, and all of the amazing Q&A’s! Let me tell ya, seeing Jordan Peele’s US in the historical Cinerama Dome followed by a Q&A with the man himself was insane to say the least. Amazing how I’m writing this on the Film’s 2 year anniversary too. And after the movies, I would love a good meal whether it be at The Yard House or The Smoke House, it’s a beautiful way to dine. Shout out to the many Taco Bell’s within a 10 minute radius from my apartment. But let’s be real, are you really having a good time here if you don’t go to the beach?! My favorite place is Universal Studios though, specifically during Halloween Horror Nights. COVID ruined my annual streak I started 4 years ago, but I am more than ready to get scared again. Lastly, my favorite place to hang and shop would have to be Amoeba Music, now in their new location at 6200 Hollywood Blvd. It is just a magical place of nostalgia. These are just some of my MUSTS, but anyone who’s been here for only a day knows that conquering all the hot spots in a week is impossible.
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?
I dedicated this to my Family, Friends, and every teacher I ever had the pleasure of learning from at my time in Film School.
Linkedin: Brendan Kimmet