We had the good fortune of connecting with Chance Calloway and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chance, how do you think about risk?
I have a no net: policy. I take the leap, whether I fly or fall. And what I mean by that is that if the net’s there, I’m more comfortable with embracing the fall because I know there’s protection before the crash landing. With no net, I start calculating all of the various ways I can engineer a result that isn’t a crash. Have I crashed before? Yes, I’ve plummeted. But the times I’ve soared, I can guarantee they would not have occurred if I had the cushion of a net waiting below. Plus, my name is synonymous with risk. It’s a part of my essence.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
[We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.] In all of my storytelling—on film and on paper—I focus on characters at the intersection of marginalization. Queer, disabled, Black, Indigenous and other people of color who deserve to be at the focus of an adventure, the center of a chronicle. I’m very passionate about holding up a mirror to the person exploring the worlds I create, allowing them to see themselves in a character that may not be an exact reflection. [How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?] I’ll always give a shoutout to my homies Dante Basco and AJ Rafael, who jointly gave me the excitement I needed to take my first leap into filmmaking. Then my friends Gerry Maravilla and Steven Yee were the first collaborators I had who believed in my art as much as I did, and that took me very far in regards to establishing some street cred, because those two are monster filmmakers. There are certain parts of the professional journey that have felt easier for the than others. The first season of my digital series Pretty Dudes was a breeze compared to the production purgatory of the second season. Some of my books flow like molten lava and other times I stare at my keyboard waiting in vain for the buildup of shit in my head to fertilize the page. My process for overcoming the challenges along the way are always comparing my need for telling this story with how I’m expressing that passion outwardly. Why is this scene important? Do the actors understand? Do they disagree, and if so, why? Why is this the novel that I’m telling right now. What is it trying to say to me about me? And as a person processing through several mental disorders, there are moments when I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take a step back. To eat some food. To watch a movie or read a book. To ask for a second opinion, or admit that the workload on a project has gotten too big for me and to ask for help. [What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?] There is no one who will champion your vision harder than you. They don’t see it, vision isn’t engineered that way. So if I know what my goal is, I have to express it with every blazing ember I have to manifest it in their minds. If they can’t see it, that’s fine. They have to believe that I see it. This goes for pitches, collaborations, for anything, really. It goes beyond believing in yourself. You have to believe in your art and your gifts just as much as you believe that you exist and that you breathe and have a heartbeat. [What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?} I’m chronically homeless. I’ve been homeless now for over three years and I’m still here, still alive, still creating, still passionate, still believing. The works I’m releasing are creations I’m passionate about and stories I feel are worthy of sharing, despite my current hardships.
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.
You’ve got to take LA location by location. Spend a day walking along the Fashion District and enjoying the shops and food and graffiti and then follow that up with a meal at Wurstküche, then some energetic conversation over drinks at Angel City Brewery and/or some arcade games nearby at Eighty Two. Spend another night with drinks at Wolf & Crane and vocal pyrotechnics at Max Karaoke. Most of my adventures would be food and drink-based, I think, because I’d have to take anyone visiting to La Estrella in Highland Park and Fishbone Seafood in Gardena, then spend several days and nights at my favorite spots in K-town. And then stop for several pictures and a few literary purchases at The Last Bookstore. Offset all of the eating with hiking Runyon and swimming out in Long Beach. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This pandemic period has been pretty rotten, so I want to thank my check-in network—the friends who message me weekly to make sure I’m still breathing steady. Gerry, Ariel, Manny, Kyle, and Joe. I thank y’all and love you.
Other: chancecalloway.com is coming soon, depending on when this goes out
Andrew Ge, Jomar Miranda, Daniel Villegas