We had the good fortune of connecting with Charlie Bellarose and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charlie, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve always been drawn to the arts whether it’s painting, drawing, graphic design, writing, acting or videography. I showed creative promise at a very young age. I had a wild imagination as kid. I would constantly come up with stories and write out comedic skits that I would perform for my family. I was quite the showman. In college I ended up studying creative writing and visual arts because I had a natural affinity for it. I’ve always had such a passion for storytelling, so when I moved out to Los Angeles a couple years ago, I decided to start my own production company, Hollywounded Productions, which allows me to combine my love of writing and cinematography.
I think my parents were secretly hoping that I would follow in my father’s footsteps and become an engineer, but I wasn’t cut out for that sort of life. I knew the typical 9 to 5 job wasn’t going to do it for me. I wanted a career where I could be my own boss and have the freedom to make my own hours, and it’s much easier to do that when you work in a creative field.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe that everyone has a unique story to tell. Everything that I write, I pull from my own personal experiences. That sets me apart because there’s only one of me, and I’m the only one who gets to live my life and have these specific experiences. That’s not to say that other people don’t have similar experiences, but they’ll never be exactly the same. I also have a particular writing style that is very raw and rooted in authenticity. The content that I create isn’t exactly PG and it may, at times be controversial, which means it might not be for everyone, but that’s okay. What matters is that I’m staying true to myself and telling the stories that I want to tell.
Another thing that sets me apart is the fact that my content has a very distinct aesthetic. All of the visuals that you see on my website, my social media and the actual “Hollywounded” series itself, are very colorful and sexy, and everything has a pop art feel to it. I’ve put in a lot of work creating all of the artwork for the show and that’s something I’m definitely proud of.
The film/entertainment industry is one of the most difficult and most competitive industries out there, so, no… it hasn’t been easy. Yes, it’s true that there are many platforms where you can showcase your content such as YouTube, Vimeo, social media etc. But these platforms are also oversaturated, so while it’s easy to post your content on the internet, it’s difficult to get the right people to see your work. That’s been the biggest challenge so far.
The second biggest challenge is finding the funds to create the content. There’s a certain aesthetic to what I make and that costs a pretty penny. For example; the first short that I made was a little under 10 minutes, but it cost 20k, which I funded with my own money. So, to say that I work a lot is an understatement. I continue to work a full-time job as a graphic designer in order to pay for my artistic endeavors. I’ve had people say to me, “Why don’t you just shoot your stuff on an iPhone? It’s cheaper and you can pump out way more content.” And that’s true. But for me, it’s not about the quantity; it’s about the quality of the content. So, I’m going to continue to work my butt off and power through it, because dedication and perseverance have played a big role in getting me to where I am today. That, and the amazing people that I have met along the way.
One of my biggest lessons on this journey is, not to let people take advantage of you. Like I said, this is a very tough industry and a lot of people aren’t who they portray themselves to be. They’ll say they want to help you, but in reality, they have ulterior motives. It’s important to stand up for yourself and surround yourself with genuine people, especially as a female trying to make it in a male-dominated industry.
Another important lesson is not to give up! It can be difficult to keep a positive attitude when it seems like all your hard work isn’t paying off the way you want it to. Rejection can be very taxing on the soul. I’ve had moments where I just wanted to say, “To hell with everything! I’m done!” But a friend of mine once told me, “Don’t give up before the magic happens.” That really resonated with me. Now, whenever I start doubting myself and whether I should keep going, I just remind myself not to give up before the magic happens. Because if you believe that you have what it takes, then eventually, others will too.
First and foremost, I just want people to know about my work! I also want people to know that it’s real. And that even though, I have a knack for turning crappy situations into comedic value, it isn’t always funny when you’re actually going through it. It’s just my way of putting a positive spin on something negative. Finally, I want people to know that I’ll be shooting more content this year. Covid kind of put filming to a bit of a halt, but things are looking up so be on the lookout.
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’s pretend for a second that Covid isn’t a thing… I love to laugh so I would take them to a comedy show either at The Laugh Factory or The Comedy Store. I’m a big fan of live music so we’d probably hit up the Troubadour in Weho and either Sound Nightclub in Hollywood or Exchange LA in Downtown if we feel like getting down to some electronic dance music. I’m pretty much done with the club scene, so I’d opt for a swanky lounge like Delilah or a speakeasy bar like No Vacancy, Black Rabbit Rose Magic, Adults Only, Break Room 86 and Two Bit Circus for some arcade fun.
As far as restaurants, I’d take them to Café Gratitude for some vegan food, Katana for sushi, Mírame for Mexican, Angelini Osteria for Italian, Akuma for ramen, Zinqué near the Pacific Design Center for some tasty French cuisine, Mama Shelter for their amazing rooftop views, and because I have a sweet tooth, Chocolate Bash for dessert.
I love the outdoors so maybe go hiking at Zuma or Solstice Canyon in Malibu. Visit the Self Realization Fellowship at Lake Shrine for some peace and quiet. Take a meditation class at The Den to get our chakras back into balance. Lord knows we could all use it after the year we’ve had. Might even do a little retreat in Joshua Tree for a couple days. Honestly, my friend might have to stay for an extra week at this rate!
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 are so many people that I want to thank, starting with my parents, for always supporting my dreams and being there for me whenever I need them. My friends, for believing in me and always being willing to lend a helping hand. Especially, my girl Frances Iacuzzi, an amazing photographer who’s helped me tremendously in creating the visual aesthetic of my brand. I’d also like to give a shoutout to all the wonderfully talented cinematographers that I have had the opportunity to work with on various projects and who’ve gone above and beyond to help bring my vision to life; Ignacio Genzon, Jay Kaufman, and Nathan Haugaard. My co-star and dear friend Jamel King, who is an incredibly talented actor and musical artist, not to mention a dope human being.