We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Lovan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
In 2017, I was reading an interview with American retired naval SEAL Jocko Willink, and he said, “Discipline equals freedom.” Meaning, by routinely showing up to daily exercise – one will overcome weakness, procrastination, and even fear, improving oneself and achieving one’s goals. I’ve re-appropriated the mantra for my own life and have found value in applying this creatively. By putting into daily practice time and energy to make a film, I ultimately ended up writing a film by the end of 2017 and filming it four months later.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve only ever wanted to make movies. As I approached adulthood, I felt the immense pressure of my dreams weighing on my heart, and felt like I was watching the potential pass me by. I was crippled with questions. How on earth was I going to make movies? Who is going to give me my shot? Have I already wasted my life? I was at my favorite film festival in September of 2017 – Fantastic Fest – and surrounded by these amazing creative minds who had put into motion whatever it took to tell the stories they wanted to tell. And it hit me, coming out of one of the movies that, “Hey, why the fuck am I waiting for anyone to come along and help me?” And so I told myself, “Whatever it takes, I’m going to make a movie.” From that point, every day, I set out to achieve some goals that would inch me towards making a movie. I would produce it myself. I would direct it myself. I would wear every hat if I had to do it. Yet, without an end date to my daily checklists, I was just absorbing knowledge. I was growing more confident, but I wasn’t actually any closer to making a movie. Then the best thing happened: my wife and I found out she was pregnant in December, with a baby due in August. And this was exactly what we needed: I refused to let a movie take me away from being a father, and I didn’t want to be absent during the later stages of pregnancy. So my wife and I set a goal: make the movie in April. With that target in mind, my focus became very clear, and my room for fear and doubt literally disappeared. There wasn’t time to worry and I had no space in my heart for fear. I needed a company? I made a company. I needed money? I pulled out some loans. I needed production design? I had an army of creative friends that could help me achieve this. Before I knew it, I was on set, filming my first shot with an entirely assembled cast & crew on April 2, 2018. What’s incredible about achieving things that you believe to be impossible, is that you can do it again. Whether someone gives me the opportunity for the next movie will forevermore be besides the point, because I’ll just do it myself.
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?
I really love walking; I find movement to be a great facilitator of dialogue, and would take frequent one-on-one walks with the cast & crew during the filming of my movie. It kept the momentum of dialogue flowing. When I have had people come stay with me, whether it’s for a day or a week, I like to prioritize activities that exercise that practice. Morning walks around the block, a hike up a nearby hill, a bike ride to an expansive cemetery – the adventures are plentiful when you’re in motion and the scenery inspires conversation. We never necessarily need to do something that’s categorically adventurous if our minds are wondering together.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My partner, wife, and mother to our child – Amy – has been the single most influential person on my creativity and champion of my dreams. Were it not for her, I’d have continued peddling self-doubt, squatted on an unmoving stump that yields no fruit, let alone prospers into something resembling the dreams I’ve always longed for. She’s helped me to think critically about my choices, to go deeper with my ideas, and to put into action the work it would take to improve not only my odds of advancing, but improving my character and self-worth.