We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul J. Meredith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul J., is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite quote is more of a story told by actor/comedian Jim Carrey that ends with the quote, “it is better to fail at what you love than fail at what you don’t.” He tells the story of his father side-lining his dreams of being an entertainer to pursue a more stable career, only to get fired from that job and face failure regardless. I heard this story at a young age and it stuck with me ever since. You may fail at doing something you don’t love, so why not pursue what you do love?
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I decided at a young age I wanted to work for myself & make films for a living, but of course that’s easier said than done. So I spent about 5 years working dead-end jobs, saving up to buy a minimal amount of camera gear, & most importantly learning. I strongly believe filmmaking is not just a talent or creativity you’re born with but a craft that needs to be learned. So instead of going to bars or hanging with friends, I spent the majority of my nights scouring the Internet for resources to better learn my craft. Blogs, YouTube videos, articles, interviews, & eventually receiving a degree in screenwriting, I made sure to leave no stone unturned when attempting to learn what I consider the most complex of art forms. I took the risk of quitting my job & pursuing filmmaking about 8 years ago. It hasn’t been easy, but I have no regrets in taking that leap. The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is that originality trumps everything else. You don’t need the best camera equipment, you don’t need a degree, you don’t need famous actors or a million dollar budget. Whether it’s telling a story or painting a picture, everything else is secondary to originality. What’s the point in creating a piece of art that someone else has already created?
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.
Like I mentioned, I spend the majority of my time on my craft & career, so I may not be the best tour guide of LA. But you can’t go wrong with a burger at Lauren Tavern or the Mac & Cheese at Garden Cafe in Studio City. As far as sight seeing, the incredible art installations at The Getty or diving into outer space at Griffith Observatory are always enlightening. For hangout spots, the Downtown Arts District seems to be evolving into a hip place to spend time, maybe ending the night with some karaoke in Little Tokyo. 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?
Mom & dad