We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Tetsuro Ivie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brian, why did you pursue a creative career?
It’s funny because I don’t feel like I’ve really ever had an artistic career until more recently, at least not in the way I would like to define “artistic.” Maybe that’s just my insecurities or the fact that I know a lot of people who I would call more traditionally artistic, who actually read Dostoevsky and haikus and stuff like that. I grew up in Orange County, which basically means you’ll never be an artist, not really, unless it’s like in a sarcastic way, like the way Arnold Schwarzenegger was once governor of California. Sometimes I wish I had grown up seeing terrible things (or at least difficult things) so that my art would feel more serious or something. My career, like many others, has changed over time. I’d like to think I pursued cinema because I loved it as a kid and couldn’t see myself doing without it, even when I would try to convince myself there was another way to live. For me, there just wasn’t. I had to do something with this feeling, this impulse to express my interior life in some way. I also think art is a way for you to know yourself, what you find significant, what is life’s meaning (which has been especially true in my work in documentaries). I am still pursuing an artistic career these days, though it’s hard to pin down, because I feel I have something to communicate, not merely express. I am desperately sick of my own echo. And because I feel that art is what leads others to have a more contemplative and ideally spiritual existence, which is of deep importance to me. Being admired was once part of it, but thankfully less so now.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I think the hardest part of starting out, beyond the obvious stuff like money and connections, is just realizing that you may not be good at making the kind of stuff you like. Some of that is craft, but some of that is just personality and experience. I think about Spike Lee’s work a lot and wish I had that in me, but I don’t think I do. That’s not to say that you can’t grow as a person, but you still must come to admit what you do well, and what you don’t. And this must be learned through making things, doing the labor that pushes you to the limits of what you can accomplish naturally, and what you must force into existence.

I guess what I can say about finding your voice (or your brand) is that it really does take discipline. Discipline to surround yourself with excellent art and with challenging material, so that you don’t sound naive when you create your own. Discipline to sit and watch things that aren’t easy to digest or to read books that just aren’t as fun to read. Discipline to keep your identity firmly out of your work, but in something higher. When it comes to my brand, I guess I’m hoping that all my work, whatever it is, will give people a spiritual vision for life.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is the part where you realize I’m not that interesting at all. In the first place, I rarely host because I’m not very social. But I suppose if I were forced into it, I would walk with them up the Culver stairs in the morning and do Huckleberry for breakfast. Then maybe The Last Bookstore and a movie at The Dome (it’s coming back right?). At some point we’d have a PB&J at GCM and key lime pie at Fishing With Dynamite. Oh, and then Street Food Cinema, something 80s. End at Hotel Cafe to see Noah Gundersen or The Lone Bellow.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The most obvious shout out for me is Amanda, my wife. I have absolutely no problem saying that she supported me (literally) through seasons where I made no money. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. Along the way, there were also a lot of folks who spoke life into me when I was confused or discouraged. Too many to name here. Above all, to God be the glory.

Website: www.unanimousmedia.com

Instagram: @b.ivie

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-tetsuro-ivie-51775392

Twitter: @thebrianivie

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