Most of my stories about CalArts involve me and a whole lot of bad behavior, but I did learn a few things while I was there. Life things. Things that have served me well, and I have no regrets about how I spent my time there. Perhaps I didn’t appreciate them until later. The thing I learned that was the most valuable to me was never to take another person for granted, no matter what role they play in your life. I could illustrate this through several relationships, but the one that stands out to me the most was with my friend Steve.
Steve was a graduate who came to the film school to make a feature length film. No easy task. Steve's mother was the head librarian so he had no tuition, could live cheaply, use all the resources of the school, and make his film. I forget how we met but we did, and we formed an instant friendship. Steve was a tall surfer who’d grown up in Ventura County and had that quiet, dark sense of humor that is particular to that specific demo. I was wild and, in short, did not give a fuck about anything. I somehow found a way to turn my partying into my work and was developing a rep. Not good or bad, but a rep for sure, and that was good enough for me.
He wrote me a note which he slipped under my studio door. I remember being angry and not returning to my studio for a few weeks, the note left unread. I was now turning avoidance into a sort of justified anger. Why is he forcing this? Why can’t he just leave me be? I never read the letter. I was too scared. Months went by. I found a larger group of equally emotionally challenged misfits to tread water with and life just rolled on.