We had the good fortune of connecting with Jack Morocco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jack, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I don’t think of it so much in terms of “giving up” as I consider it shedding what does not serve. It’s important to slow down and take stock of what you’re carrying; emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or even physically. Acknowledge what’s there and evaluate why, and be honest about what serves your best needs and what simply serves your ego. When I feel overwhelmed or unsure of a direction, I seek stillness and quiet. I find those mindful moments can present options my agitated mind couldn’t see. The paths we walk can and will be unpredictable – in good ways and bad – so “giving up” may not be so much an abandonment of dreams as it is a strategy shift. Letting go of things that don’t serve and being open to alternate routes can get you where you want to be, often less directly than we expect, but in a potentially more fulfilling way. And sometimes we end up in entirely unexpected places that turn out to be better than where we wanted to be in the first place. So I don’t think of it in terms of “keep going” or “give up,” I think of it as “go slow, find the flow.”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I wear a lot of hats, and have thusly adopted the catchphrase “Jack of All Spades.” I work in Art Department in the film industry, which covers everything from prop fabrication to wall painting to furniture construction. I didn’t expect to end up here; I moved out to LA a decade ago to pursue a career in acting. After 6 or so years of on-again/off-again work (mostly off-again), I started gravitating towards other aspects of the film industry. I worked with a Production Designer who gave me a chance as her Art Director, and I’ve been kicking at that ever since. I love it more than I anticipated, and I love being handy – I’m the one friends call to hang shelves or build beds. I’m also a screenwriter, and spent the last year polishing up some feature screenplays that I plan on pitching in the coming year. I’ll also be directing a short film I wrote this year. And opening up an Etsy shop to sell my wood burning pieces. Like I said – lots of hats. I wouldn’t call the journey easy, but no artist’s ever is. There were certainly challenges to overcome; finances had to stay in order, so my income was supplemented with bartending, which consequently drew time and energy away from my art. Finding that particular balance was something I struggled with for years. Professional connections had to be established and maintained, and that can simply take time. But the journey was also serendipitous, and even fortuitous at times. It’s hard to qualify it as easy or not because really, it’s been both and then some. I’ve learned over the years that the path I *think* I’m going take is usually not the way I end up going. Being open to the different avenues has led me to a lot of creative fulfillment, because I can express my creativity in different outlets, which feeds different parts of my soul. I’m learning that I really do have the capacity to create the world I want around me. We all have that power, it’s almost overwhelming, and I think a lot of folks actually shy away from it because it grasping it means we take responsibility for it. Used for good though? That could actually change the world for the better.
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.
Ah, the pre-COVID days. I miss bars and restaurants. For amazing craft cocktails, Melrose Umbrella Co. on Melrose Ave, or Library Bar in DTLA. For fun tiki-drinks and a cool atmosphere, Lono in Hollywood. Akbar is a delightful little dive in Silverlake with tons of queer charm. Brunch – an essential part of my weekends – would be at Cliff’s Edge, or Millie’s in Silverlake. I love diners, so Cafe 101 in Hollywood and Fred 62 in EaHo is a must. Find any Barney’s Beanery and you’re golden for tasty food and cold beer. Another all-around great bar spot (with unbeatable rotisserie chicken) is Birds in Franklin Village; great food & drink, good prices, fun atmosphere. It’s right next to UCB, which boasts a variety roster of comedy stylings. One of my absolute favorite eat-and-drink-by-the-beach spots is The Venice Ale House. That bad boy sits right on the boardwalk and is the best food and drink in Venice. The boardwalk itself is essential, as is the skate park, and even silly Muscle Beach. If we’re hiking, Griffith Park and the Observatory are it for those awesome views. The Melrose Flea Market would be fun for some unique shopping. Wow, do I miss this stuff. 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?
My fiancée Meg deserves an award – hell, ALL the awards – for her unending optimism and support of my artistic endeavors. She has had faith in me when I had lost it in myself. She’s supported me when I’ve taken risks – changing jobs or going without work for a few weeks – and has never disparaged me for the pursuit of my dreams. She gets genuinely excited about my work and is constantly affirming my capabilities. And this positivity is unending; she always has a kind word for me if I need bolstering.