We had the good fortune of connecting with Gary Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gary, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance has always been a crazy balancing act: day job, college classes, family time. It’s a lot of time management and planning. As I’m taking on more and more projects, I’ve learned two very valuable lessons. The first is not let the workload overwhelm me and create anxiety. Set firm deadlines, but make them flexible to accommodate the rest of life. The second is to learn how to say “no” to things. Sure, I want to be creative and take on the world, but there are limits to what I can do with my time. I have overextended myself in the past and the films suffered and entire work/life balance suffered. Fortunately I have a strong support system in my family and my film colleagues are there for me whenever I need them.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I spent three years in California after graduating college getting chewed up and spat back out to Arizona. I spent a lot of time regrouping, getting life in order. After seven years I thought I was pretty much done and the dream was dead. But I made a couple of short films with my family and realized I still had a passion for it. I dove in head first, used some savings, and made a feature film. I learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes, but got stronger. Biggest mistake was making a movie about a story I wanted to do, but no thought to “what will people pay to see.” So I try to keep that in mind now: what stories do I want to tell and how to make them powerful enough or unique enough that people will want to see it. I moved on to make a sci-fi short that won a couple of awards which felt like a step up. I’m proud that I came back to my art, finished a full-length movie, and that I am still growing and expanding my skills.
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?
That’s a very tough question. I’m a classically trained introvert, so I’m not huge for going out places. Let me chill at a coffee house with a notepad and I can knock out six to seven hours writing. I do like a good dive bar where I can go watch a friend’s band play some classic rock. I also live for Spring Training baseball games. Having grown up a Cubs fan, I’ve been going to Spring Training games all my life. One of the more fun places we’ve recently discovered on the West side of town is the drive-in in Peoria. I have fond memories of the old one in Scottsdale and this keeps the tradition alive for me.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, my wife, Ruth, and entire family who let me go off and do my art thing. A lot of times the balance is not always in their favor but they are incredibly supportive. If they hadn’t encouraged me to go back into filmmaking again in 2009, I would have never followed my passion. Soon, Ruth and I will be embarking on a writing project of our own. This will be nice to even out the balance by working together. I’ve had a lot of people help and support me professionally. All of my actors from my feature film “This is Gonna Be Awesome” took a chance on me to direct them and I am forever grateful. There are a lot of fantastic filmmakers in Arizona that I’ve worked with and hope to work with someday. So many people have inspired me to think bigger and keep working hard. I have to single out Joy Ludwig and Maria Patti, two of my closest writing and production partners, as well as Scott Hall, who is an extremely reliable camera man. I’m actually very fortunate to have a lot of people in the Arizona community who have let me in their circles and allowed me the opportunities to collaborate and grow. I also have to give a special shout out to the Pangean Orchestra, run by Colin and Ceren O’donohoe. Colin is a true World Maestro and I have been working with him for almost two years as an editor. After editing over 100 short videos for the Pangean Orchestra, it has been very helpful to sharpen my skills and to know that I have a permanent professional position with a company.
Scott Hall Gary Taylor Kayla Windsor Joy Ludwig