We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian J. Patterson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian J., what role has risk played in your life or career?
I was a risk averse person for the majority of my life, but the moment I began taking bigger risks, the doors to powerful possibilities began opening. Today, I have come to recognize that I enjoy taking risks. Because as someone named ‘CEO Skor’ once said to me (and this is paraphrasing), “The universe’s law of attraction follows the science of cause and effect. When someone invests themselves in an intelligent and passionate way, they will always get some kind of equally powerful reward!”
This large life lesson came after many years of practice and failure. Including situations where I would, over and over again ignore risks presented to me, and loose out on some enormous potential gains. It was only when I actually heeded a call to take a risk, that I would manifest rewards. Three times come to mind.
-First, leaving my home state was a risk that granted me the ability to see the world and open my mind.
-Second, moving to SF gave me the ability to find and form healthy relationships in place of unhealthy ones.
-Third, leaving my corporate job of 10 years allowed me to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a full-time working entertainer. During the years of 2008 through the end of 2018, I made a living as a performer. Highlights of my employment included being: 1) a contracted performer for SF Opera for approximately 7 seasons, 2) a principal actor in nearly 120 commercials/industrials, 3) a series regular/lead on a RevryTV network show for a season, and 4) having lead & supporting roles in over 30 films/tv roles (a couple with celebrities), and 5) over 30 stage productions which included musicals, straight plays, and one off-off Broadway production.
It was a glorious time. In 2015, I had reached a peak for that market and I knew it. I could feel the professional glass ceiling that I was hitting in both figurative and literal ways, but even in 2016 I was still too afraid to leave. Sadly, I missed my window, and by 2016’s end things began fading; Budgets were cut, work dried up, and so did my money. Even my agent of a decade retired. Although the universe was telling me that it was time to go, I instead allowed fear to grip me and I stayed inactive. In effect, 2017-2019 were some of the worst of the worst years of my life, and from who’s trauma I am still recovering. In 2019 I penned a piece called, “What Would Wonder Woman Do about depression? – Pt. 2” (https://askwwwwd.tumblr.com/
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The current state of my career, and the work I’m doing are directly linked to the challenges that I faced during the 2017-2020 years, which were pretty intense. Thankfully, I finally settled in a gorgeous place in Los Angeles in 2019’s end, which is a totally new market for me. Hence, I was feeling severely off my game. I wasn’t ‘t sure how I was going to get back on the wagon, and get my career moving again. Only a few months later we were in lockdown. It was during the lockdown that I finally realized that I had gone through a major life trauma, and needed to process. So, I took the lockdown to slow down and began focusing on engaging in healing activities. Out of this time, I finally realized the lesson that the universe was trying to impart upon me; Continue to take lovingly, calculated risks! But what risks should I be taking, and how would I do it in a brand new market?
I began reflecting upon my time up north. During my tenure in San Francisco, I was very active. I had a formula for making my living which consisted of at least 20-30 auditions a month, multiple communications with my agent each week, contacting casting directors with invitations to current projects, mixers, social events, and even other artistic endeavors. One of my artistic endeavors, was writing for Ace Of Geeks. I always knew Hollywood was where I was heading next. So I utilized the opportunity to both develop my creative outlet, and learn more about the path before me. I began reaching out to people I saw were out there doing it. I interviewed people who I wanted to emulate and who’s work I respected like Juliet Landau & Rick Worthy. I started reviewing comics to film television shows that I enjoyed and of which I wanted to be part, like Agent Carter, The Flash, & Arrow. But then I began reaching out to people that I recognized had some sort of special something about them. It landed me to a random actor with a few co-star lines that I saw on the television show, Taken.
I researched the actor, found his website and contact information, and reached out to him. We had a little email exchange and I requested to interview him in person. I found out he was in Canada, and although I had flight benefits via an airline at the time (yes, I flew anywhere in the world for free), we agreed that the interview should be done virtually. This interview was by far my best one yet, and I was floored by some of the things he said. “I believe the days of waiting by the phone to get your big break are over. Instead we are seeing Hollywood ruled by people who can write stories and create their own opportunities.” I thought long and hard about that quote, my journey, my passions, and how all I wanted was the opportunity to get to work. So I went into my office, closed the door, and did just that. I got to work.
After a long four years of my own struggles which included homelessness, joblessness, debt, loss, and suicidal tendencies, I began what can only be described as a paradigm shift. Focusing on healing, I engaged in a lot of behavior which promoted wellness. Behavior that had been foreign to me for the last four years. As someone who owns approximately $25k worth of comic books, this includes reading comics. One day as I was sitting in my ‘book nook’ reading Wonder Woman Vol2 Issue 188 by Phil Jimenez, and it hit me all at once! Everything about me that was different, special, and unique, was staring right back at me on the page. I had a place to start, a place to get creative, and a place to take that actor’s advice I had interviewed back in 2015.
In Wonder Woman 188, she meets (her boyfriend) Trevor Barnes’s nephew named Bobby, at the Barnes family home in Charlotte. Bobby Barnes is a young artist of color, who idolizes Wonder Woman. A fact which becomes blatantly obvious after she sees (and we see) his bedroom. During their chat, he confesses that he is ‘so into her message about bringing peace and stuff”. He also mentions that he gets teased, by his friends who have more traditionally masculine superhero role models. I felt like I was reading a story about myself. After listening to Bobby, Wonder Woman gets an idea and says to him, “I have some special errands to run tomorrow, and I’d love for you to come with me.” And what comes next is Bobby going on a day with his idol. Riding in the invisible jet, attending the taping of a show like “The View” where Wonder Woman is a special guest (and points him out in the crowd), learning Amazonian martial arts, skateboarding with her, watching her play with a great white shark, visiting the Wonder Woman Foundation magazine headquarters, popping into the United Nations where Wonder Woman is an ambassador, and even meeting Superman. I thought it couldn’t get any better, and then came the moment of inspiration when it did.
Holding something behind her back, Wonder Woman walks up to Bobby and says, “I’ve often imagined what it would be like to have a little brother growing up on Themyscira. And if I did, I’d have liked one as loving and compassionate as you.” She then reveals what’s behind her back. A black t-shirt with her yellow WW insignia, and a red “B” painted on the side of it. She hands this to Bobby, while saying “I hope you’ll accept this gift from me. It might not keep your friends from harassing you. but it would mean the world to me if you’ll join the Amazons of Themyscira as their very first Wonder Boy.” Keep in mind DC Comics has done absolutely NOTHING with this character for nearly TWENTY YEARS!…Until now.
That day back in 2020 when I walked into my office and get to work, I decided to take the advice of that Taken actor I interviewed. I started writing my own story and creating my own opportunity. And the work I’ve been doing there is to diligently develop Bobby Barnes into Wonder Boy. Since I have so much in common with him, I’m using real traumatic events from my own life and past to inform his development. And since I absolutely LOVE television, and my own Wonder Woman fascination began with Lynda Carter, I decided to use the silver screen as my medium and essentially ‘pick up’ where the Lynda Carter “Wonder Woman” series left off. This was all decided approximately 6 months before Deadline announced CW’s development of a Wonder-Girl live action series.
At first glance this will appear to be like every other CW/Warner superhero project out there. But I think the thing that makes this project different, is the same thing that made Wonder Woman different in it’s day; the message. In July of 2020, Evan Mullican wrote, “Masculinity is often tied to physical strength in comics, so a young man whose strength is his compassion would make him stand out. Having a young African American hero whose focus is on empathy would also defy stereotypes which comics have often fed. Wonder Woman has often championed oppressed groups, so this would be perfectly in line with Diana’s character.” Mullican couldn’t have been any more spot on with this quote. This project with defy masculine ideas, stereotypes, and champion many oppressed groups. But most of all, I think it will challenge peoples idea of what they know about themselves, and the world around them by focusing on Bobby’s mission: Teaching the world how to #LeadWithLove. .
The more time I spend creating the show, the more people want to jump in. I have so many talented artists that have already contributed much to this project: veteran cinematographer Don Starnes, actor Christopher Gannon, Mandalorian actor Barry Lowin, Transformers voice talent Linsay Rousseau, Wonder Woman expert Andy Mangels, artist Dan Hayes, CW Supergirl & Black Panther costumer A.J. Catalano, Journalist of the Year Award winner Jase Peeples, rapper KVNFX, sound engineer Michael Edward Burke, & original voice of Google Laurie Burke just to name a few. This doesn’t include the surprise celebrity guests (yes plural) that have expressed a willingness to contribute their time and talents. Not to mention the multiple aspects I currently have in the works for this project. This includes other scripts, an opening credits song, an animated video, a few behind the scenes videos, a mini-episode, a mini-comic, and most importantly, a proof of concept trailer of the show. I’m happy to say that we have already shot the trailer and the footage is with an editor. The trailer was shot on the weekend of September 4th, 2021. Coincidentally, that’s the same weekend that Marvel’s Shang Chi was released, but I prefer to see it as a sign of things to come. Because the Taken actor that I interviewed in 2015 was none other than Simu Liu aka Shang Chi himself.
After a few years of turmoil and a successfully healing lockdown, my original intention was to create a project to give me footage that would allow me to get to know Los Angeles casting directors and get in the rotation to get my career back on track. However, creating “The New Adventures of Wonder Boy” has evolved to something bigger. Life has begun to mimic art, and a lifetime of being “so into her message about bringing peace and stuff” has given me a new mission. It’s Bobby’s mission: Teach the world how to #LeadWithLove. My hope is that this project gives our modern day culture newfound access to Dr. Marston’s original message of love, and teach the world how to make compassion a strength. So no matter if it sells to The CW or just becomes an online viral sensation, I feel like I’m winning, and can see nothing but good things. Because as a truly wonderful person once said, “The universe’s law of attraction follows the science of cause and effect. When someone invests themselves in an intelligent and passionate way, they will always get some kind of equally powerful reward.” So, I’m looking forward to taking this risk. I’m proud and excited to be putting my love into “The New Adventures of Wonder Boy”. And I’m curious to meet all of these wonderful (pun intended) people in this brand new market with this brand new story, and begin my own New Adventures. I hope that you’ll all join me, and check out the WonderBoy website at: www.WonderBoyTV.com, and also follow the WonderBoy social media:
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend were visiting, I would take them to every single neighborhood possible: Santa Clarita & Six Flags, the Burbank/North Hollywood shops and restaurants, Hollywood Walk of Fame & the Hollywood sign, West Hollywood nightlife including SkyBar, Beverly Hills shopping on Rodeo Drive, enjoying the beach in Santa Monica & Malibu, and then soul food eating in Compton at E&J’s & Sistah’s Soul Food.
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?
There is one organization who’s praises I continually tout. That is the LGBT center. When I lost everything, I didn’t have any kind of benefits, had little to no income, and was gripped with fear. I wasn’t sure where to go, or who to ask for help. When a friend (and ex co-workers from San Francisco Opera) requested that I seek counseling, this was his suggestion. Going to the LGBT Center was the best decision I’ve ever made. Although the process of getting into the rotation was long, it was worth it. I was able to get the exact kind of helpful boost I needed to get back on my feet.
I truly admire the work that they do and services they provide at all the LGBT Centers across the country. I also often recommend them to people who are in need of a boost or a service and don’t know where to go. Like most community centers, they provide assistance in a multitude of areas: legal, health, mental health, housing and recreational. All you have to do is google “local LGBT Center” to find one near you! 🙂
Photo by John A Sutton Wonder Woman Illustration by Phil Jimenez