We had the good fortune of connecting with David McAbee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Being in the entertainment business is all about risk. Unless you’re lucky enough to be born into it, this business is nothing but risk. Personally I think it would have been easier to take a more conventional route- go to school, get the ‘job’, work 9-5, rinse, repeat, retire. But for me, I wanted to take the risk. I wanted to TRY. Knowing failure and rejection are around most of the curves, I know I wanted to try. Then at some point, the rejections become far less frequent. Then someone likes a script you wrote and wants to make it. And sometimes the risks become greater and so does the payoff. Even at the end of the day, if my scripts are rejected 100 times over, I’d rather take that risk than settle for the easier path. I’ve only got one go-around on this spinning rock and I need to make the most of it. Take the risk and be prepared for whatever outcome.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Nothing in the business is easy. But if it wasn’t fun, then I wouldn’t do it. It’s hard to start with a blank page and turn it into 90 pages of something worth reading. Then, you have to get people to believe in the project enough to want to act in it, shoot it, finance it, etc. But the moment when we’re all on set and it starts to come to life, it makes it all worth it (most of the time). When it comes together in post I am always freaking out and excited at the same time.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about scratching that creative itch.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, we’d start at the Rainbow Room for dinner and drinks. Then head upstairs and continue the evening with live music and more drinks. Then, we’d sweat it out on one of many amazing hiking trails (probably Eaton Canyon). Once we got our sweat on, we’d wanna mellow out and watch a move at the New Beverly Cinema.
There would be an amazing concert we’d have to see at either The Whiskey or the Roxy.
The next night we’d wanna be a little more mellow, so we’d head over to The Comedy Store to let those maniacs make us laugh all night long.
We’d obviously have to hit the beach, so we’d head to Venice to people watch while drinking beers and eating amazing food.
Once that was done, it would be time for a nap.
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?
Well the list could go on and on. But here are a few that have definitely inspired or helped along the way. First and foremost my amazing wife. Not only has she read every script, given countless notes and been along for the journey, she also runs her own business (Fun Club). So she understands what it means and what it takes to try something out of the box. One of the first actors I got to direct was Laureen Landon. You’d know her from Maniac Cop, Hundra or Sky. She generously gave her amazing talent to a first time director (me) when we made my first short, Night Terrors. We still keep in contact and I can’t wait to work with her again.
Some other shoutouts go to my editor, Miguel Amodio, who’s cut my last three films. An amazing actor, Kelly Kula who starred in my film Nova. Talk about Grade A talent. Also, a DP who I’ve worked with for the last 10(+) years and has shot multiple projects with me, David C. Smith. Without his knowledge and willingness to share it, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this today. Lastly, an amazing friend and poet who I’ve known for almost 30 years, Luke Johnson. This man creates worlds within his poems that I can only dream to create as a filmmaker. Look him up, buy his books and be forever changed.