Alchoholism, and the Myriad Benefits of a Trainwreck Persona

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
I haven't gotten a real break in ten years.

The crazy thing is that it wasn't always this way. When I was 23, I built a complex Turing test AI formula, raised the financing for it (about 3 million) and went into business.

At the time, though I did have a very good formula, I had no experience, no skills, and I was a raging alcoholic. My behavior was terrible, I had zero skills of any type other than just base intellect. I would drink a half gallon of whiskey before noon, and just scream at people on the phone until whatever resource I needed was delivered. I could barely stand up most days, had no real business plan, and often passed out drunk during the business day. I had tons of supporters, and people actively worked together to help me out. I ended up king of a small city, the talk of the town, with cars and buildings and a bank full of cash. I had a stunningly beautiful girlfriend, and everyone around me looked up to me. Groups of girls whispered to each other and adjusted their hair when I walked by.

This was at a time in my life where I was a terrible person, stupid and immature, with very little to offer the world aside from the technology I'd built. I was garbage.

Over the years I saw the error of my ways. I sobered up for good about a decade ago, with my very last investment ever recieved being during the last year that I drank. I got that investment while drunk. Every investment I ever got in my life I got while wasted drunk.

After I got sober, I improved a tremendous amount. I wasn't just a nicer person, I was more productive, better educated, more experienced. I developed a strong work ethic, and spent countless hours fully educating myself in dozens of disciplines, My business plans made sense, I kept every promise, returned every phone call. I was honest and reliable, hardworking. 14 hour work days became the norm. I often worked for 300k a year salary executives, designing their media campaigns, developing their corporate assets etc. They showed up late, left early, and stopped for a couple hours mid day to get buzzed at lunch, talking and laughing and drinking. I was often invited to join, but always declined, far too busy working myself half to death under the pressure of 20 or 30 thousand people showing up the next day to this convention or concert where my work would appear on giant signage screens. The last one I did was 250 ft wide and 22 ft tall, in downtown Las Vegas. I was treading water to survive.

So the reason I sometimes sound like I've gone insane from frustration, is that from my perspective, the better person I became, the fewer people tried to help me, or were willing to invest in me. I think I just had a lot more friends back then.

Since I got my act together, beat alcoholism and became a person worth working with, I have not recieved a single break of any kind, other than occasionally being overworked and underpaid, during the lucky stretches. I burned through my savings and now live in poverty, dust covering my Red Epic that I bought in person from Jim Jannard himself.

I guess hope springs eternal, so I'm back with a new plan that I'm working hard at, but honestly it's difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Every time I'm told I don't deserve even the smallest bit of help, I go home and turn on the TV, and there's a news story showing 30 white supremacists carrying crates full of 3500 dollar rifles into a 10 million dollar compound. As the reporters interview them, you can see dozens of friends behind them, supporting them, paying them, investing in them. They are barely able to compose sentences, and many have swastikas tattooed on their foreheads. Maybe it's unfair, but that image sticks in my head when people are telling me that my doesn't deserve a 10k loan with interest owed. To be honest, I don't believe them, and I think they are poor judges of character.

I know it's a depressing topic, but it eats away at me in a way I wish I could resolve. Has anyone else had a similar life experience? Does anyone know how the drunk people with swastika tattoos are able to garner so much more support than filmmakers that want to make the world a more interesting and vibrant place? The stupidest people I've ever seen have literally raised enough money to fund an army. I really don't even have one person helping me at this time. (Edit, I now have a few people helping me, since writing this post) Many indie filmmakers I've known are isolated and desperate. It's a shame. I think a lot of them are good people, bright inventive souls that deserved better than they got.

I just wish I understood all this in a way that made sense. Despite all this I never think about drinking again. I know I'm on the right path, and I'm pretty sure the decision to turn things around saved my life. Still, I often wonder if the things that should make a difference ever actually will.

Sorry to be a bummer, but I never grow or advance from exchanging simple pleasantries all day. Sometimes you have to talk about what's really bothering you.
 
Last edited:

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
I apologize for all the dark and crazy posts today. I'm having a bad couple of days. I was told an investemt was about to materialize, and it didn't.

But anyway it was a big disappointment, and made for kind of a depressing day today. I'm sure I'll bounce back to normal soon enough.
 
Last edited:
Hey Nate, nice story you got there!

First of all: DON'T BLAME YOURSELF. We all work with the information that we have at the time, and although for some reason people love to bring up old dirty rags (I don't know if this expression exists in english), we have to focus on being assertive, learning from mistakes, and ALWAYS MOVE ON.

I personally never had the quality life that you had, so I can't fully understand what you're going through, but I really feel that "It's hard to keep myself positive".

As I said in some other post, I was raised in a religious bubble, and I was teached from a very young age to always keep my head down, do favors to literally anyone asking for them, and never saying "no".

I used to work with many spanish YouTubers and influencers that you probably don't know, and back when I was literally the only one caring about them, editing their stuff, sharing their (or better said, my own) work, and texting when I saw depressive tweets, they were always like "You're so talented, if I ever have success I'll make sure that you success, too, blah blah blah".

Nowadays, well... I got out of the religion and no one talks to me, not even my own family. I eat a plate of pasta a day, and I'm able to pay my debts because my true friends (those I was told in the religion that were only going to cause me trouble) are ALWAYS looking after me. I'm sure that you can find at least one of these kind of friends out there, and if you don't, I think you already have my email!

Regarding the YouTubers, most of them have over a million subscribers, they NEVER share or even see my movies, and some of them even unfollowed me in social media for no apparent reason.

FRUSTRATION. That's almost the only thing I've ever felt in all these years working in the audiovisual world, and probably that's what you're feeling too.

Nevertheless, I'm really happy I found indietalk, in less than a week I've met very talented people who can score, film, edit, do stop-motion, and soooo many other stuff. The thing I like the most about this site? Everybody looks to be pretty friendly and SEE my work.

It's okay to let yourself get discouraged, frustrated and angry, don't hold yourself back from expressing your feelings. People tend to think that, if someone is never angry or something like that, it's because everything in life is going ok with them, and it definitely doesn't work that way.

David Sandberg, Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson, Sylvester Stallone... they all were struggling for eating and not thinking about suicide every single day until their time arrived. Keep on fighting, keep on fighting, and KEEP ON FIGHTING. You never know what life awaits you, and I'm pretty sure that all talented people reading this are going to be a HUGE success in life, including you.

Cheer up, we found an impressive community here on indietalk, and (please, moderators, don't ban me), WE'RE GOING TO FUCKING MAKE IT.

 

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
Well, thank you for the kind words. And of course excellent selection of video. Kung Fury is a personal favorite, and I still watch this video once in a while. I'm one of those people that grew up with Knight Rider, so there's a whole other layer coming from that perspective.

It's nice to see your answer because I can tell you have a lot of mental energy. I watched some of your feature, though not the whole thing. And while I won't lie to you and say you've already arrived, There's a lot of heart and a sense of humor there, that in it's way, is more important than the technical stuff. Mainly because you can learn or just buy the technical stuff, but you can't necessarily learn those critical intangibles like heart, spark, humor, etc.

Those things matter so much because ultimately your films are a version of you. When you watch a QT movie like Pulp Fiction, you see the plot and the actors sure, but an incredibly important part is QT's personality, which somehow comes through every frame of his movies. Have you seen Cosmic Sin? There's Bruce Willis, then there's Quintin's Bruce Willis. That behind the scenes personality can make a huge difference.

If you haven't seen Cosmic Sin, you don't need to see Cosmic Sin, just know that Bruce Willis is capable of being a truly terrible actor when he has a talentless writer director behind him.

I'm from the midwestern united states, so I know all about breaking free from a society of chanting glassy eyed people wearing colorful robes.

I'm sure we'll chat soon.
 
So the reason I sometimes sound like I've gone insane from frustration, is that from my perspective, the better person I became, the fewer people tried to help me, or were willing to invest in me. I think I just had a lot more friends back then. Perhaps this is uncharitable, but I think being a drunk, lazy idiot with no skills was something my former benefactors could really identify with. They really treated me as one of their own back then

Like attracts like. Birds of a feather ... Etc. From what you've described in your recent posts, you have a Big Dream that needs Big Money, which inevitably drags you into the orbit of the people who believe in Big Money. Take away the financial aspect, and they are probably not the kind of people you need or want in your life.

This works both ways, though: if you can get yourself into a new frame of mind, you can - and will - find yourself attracted to, and attracting, a different kind of person, one who will be every bit as helpful as those others - but in a much more constructive way. The hard part is climbing out of a groove that's taking you in an unhelpful direction.

I live in a tiny hamlet in rural France (population variable - say about 10, not including dogs and chickens). My mother can't understand why I never talk to the English guy who lives on the other side of the road (about 800m and half a dozen buildings away) because we both speak English as a native language. That's it; it's not enough of a bond for me to waste time cultivating any kind of relationship, when there are plenty of French-speaking (and other) people who share my interests and are quite happy to lend me a spanner or share a journey.

You've had a major setback this week. Perhaps this is the time to tidy away all your files, research notes and business projections, and to explore some entirely different activities - close to home, or far away, doesn't matter as long as it gives you a break from your normal background noise.
 
Last edited:

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
In a way that's what this sojourn onto Indietalk has been. I'd have come here anyway around this time, but probably would not have posted this much, or in such a mood. Before the issue with the investor this networking side trip was intended to give me a fun break from what's been a very long run of long days building a working animation pipeline that can get me the results I need, at the speed I need them.

There's no need to discontinue the project, There's more value in than lost, by far. And the investment was just a small angel investor, talking about 10-20k. Barely a scratch in the big picture as you've noted. But I'm pretty broke, and it would have allowed me to move faster. I'm really a race driver type mentality, so it hurts a bit watching that nitro canister I was about to kick in fall off the car and bounce down the street in the rear view mirror, but I'm not even considering taking my foot off the gas.

As far as your comments about the investment search commonly pairing me with people I'm not really compatible with, I think that's legitimate. Still, I'm an entrepreneur at my core, and I do understand how funding affects projects. Sometimes you do have to deal with people you don't like so you can bring home a win for the people you do like. And they aren't all bad. It sounded like you found a good mentor or investor to work with.

I do kind of wish I could take your advice and go fishing for a year. But honestly, I'm just not wired that way. I'm one of those sleep when I'm dead people. Maybe I have 40 years left to live tops. My mind is and has always been filled with so many possibilities that I want to explore, that even if I never stopped for a moment, I'd run out of time before I finished them all.
 
I'm really a race driver type mentality, so it hurts a bit watching that nitro canister I was about to kick in fall off the car and bounce down the street in the rear view mirror, but I'm not even considering taking my foot off the gas.

...

I do kind of wish I could take your advice and go fishing for a year. But honestly, I'm just not wired that way. I'm one of those sleep when I'm dead people. Maybe I have 40 years left to live tops. My mind is and has always been filled with so many possibilities that I want to explore, that even if I never stopped for a moment, I'd run out of time before I finished them all.

At the risk of upsetting at least half the membership of this site :seeya: I think that's as much a reflection of the "American" approach to creation (and Creation ⛪ ) compared to us Europeans. On this side of the Atlantic, we're surrounded by mega-projects that took literally hundreds of years to build - and not just stone-and-mortar monuments like cathedrals, but softer objectives like formal gardens where the designer knew that he would never live to see the panoramic landscape he'd laid out, because he planted trees that would take 100 years to reach maturity.

If you slow down a bit while driving over those rough roads, maybe that nitro canister won't be subject to so much vibration, it won't fall off, and when you get back on the smooth tarmac with finish line in sight, you can enjoy the thrill of the 5G acceleration as you empty the tank. 🚅
 

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
You're pretty good at writing these posts Celtic. I actually mean that. For what it's worth, I could totally get into that mindset in a world with no pressures.

I think we Americans have in general, a lot of personality flaws. Even if I wanted to grow your 100 year garden. I would be divorced, evicted, broke, and sidelined 5 years into the project. I could be patient, but those around me could not. While I planted those trees, a stock broker would snort cocaine all night long hammering away at a mouse button as various international markets opened and closed. By the time I had a seedling, his company would have assimilated my landlord like the Borg in star trek, and I would be evicted and the garden bulldozed to make way for an interstate bypass.

I fear that to some degree we are all victims of our circumstance.

In example, after your last post, began to laugh uncontrollably and had a very strong desire to spend a few hours using my pipeline to make a short animation of you peering distrustfully out of your window at the other English speaker down the road. Him perhaps ominously silhouetted in his window. Sinister music playing as storm clouds rolled across the sky of your peaceful village.

Sadly, I couldn't justify it, so much work left, so little money, so little help so far, etc. When I die prematurely from overworking myself, please have a contingent of Europeans plant a 100 year garden in my memory.
 
In example, after your last post, began to laugh uncontrollably and had a very strong desire to spend a few hours using my pipeline to make a short animation of you peering distrustfully out of your window at the other English speaker down the road. Him perhaps ominously silhouetted in his window. Sinister music playing as storm clouds rolled across the sky of your peaceful village.

Congratulations: you've discovered your inner Irishman! ☘️ That's a near-perfect description of The Valley of the Squinting Windows, and a theme that crops up quite frequently in other Irish literature from (or set in) the late 19th/early 20th century! :D

Alas, the only distrustful peering out of windows I did today was with a view to ambushing the TNT delivery guy before he had time to zap a "sorry I missed you" note into the letter box. (Mission accomplished)
 

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
Speed reading comes in handy. I read the entire wiki entry on the novel. What was fascinating to me, was that the reaction to that book so completely validated the authors premise. He painted those people as suspicious, hostile, and vindictive, and then they immediately proved him right, doubtless unaware that they were doing so.
 
Last edited:
I've really appreciated reading this thread - thank you Nate North - as an English/English screenwriter, would be movie director in Miami who is frustrated as hell at not having funds to start making my movies yet.

Don't have anything too constructive to say except - good luck mate!
 
Last edited:

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Sounds like the normal path of life...

Young people have lots of friends
Old people are sad and lonely

As for the hate group part here is something from True Blood for you to ponder.

"thats what people dont get. hate groups is about more than hate.
course if people start calling them love groups nobody would want to be part of them anymore."

 
Last edited:

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
I actually love True Blood. Watched the whole series maybe 4 times over the years.

Not sure I'm old yet, but I suppose all old people say that, lol. I remember one of the guys at the Deathworld mansion kept calling me old and out of touch. I was 30. He was 25. Everything's relative I suppose. I'll go post a picture of my bowl of ice cream on instagram and see if that does anything to make me younger, lol.
 
SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is my model for what goals can be achieved. Andy used a small rock chisel to carve through a huge swath of concrete, in 20 years. The X factor was "Time."

This is how I look at my day job; I don't make much, but I can save a bit here and there. Once in a while, I get side tips. I put those in a stash and consider those separate from my income. Over years, the stash builds up. I had a camera break, so I used the stash to get a Blackmagic 6K Pro. I just shot a feature with it. "Time" allowed it to happen.

We've covered "Time," now lets cover "Goals," or rather the loftiness of goals. I've had investors drop, left and right. Investors dropped out of both TERRARIUM and EXILE. I ended up paying for them, 50K, each. I used home equity for the 2nd one. Point being, I wasn't going to plan a project that an investor could break. I planned doable projects.

I don't spend money like that, anymore. Recently, I took on EVIL DWELLS WITHIN. I'm doing it for free, so I'm a partner on it. It's a gamble, but a cheap one. "Time" has allowed that. While it's not finished, the social media hype of making it led to being given a 7K production budget for DRONE DOWN. (Tiny, I know, but not my money.) We just wrapped after 9 days of shooting. My goal is feature filmmaking, so how do I make 7K doable? Shoot mostly in the day time (no lights), keep the crew small, and keep the days and locations to a minimum. Done. Now, I have 2 simultaneous hype machines, and I've been offered some bigger projects. A rolling snowball starts small. Hopefully it doesn't hit a tree. :lol:

I know you have a huge infrastructure and world to build with SAVE POINT. I probably would have done some smaller projects, first. Something finished that investors can see. You don't build a stairway all at once. You start with the first step, then the second. People see those first two steps, and they believe that you can go higher. I know you're probably in too deep to think about smaller things, but the beauty is that you can keep the lofty dream. You may need a few steps to fill in, first.
 
You don't build a stairway all at once. You start with the first step, then the second. People see those first two steps, and they believe that you can go higher.
:secret: Probably not the best metaphor, because you do, in fact, build a staircase "all at once" :cool:

What Nate's doing is exactly how you build a staircase - first define how high you want it to reach, decide whether it goes up in a straight line or with twists and turns, choose the materials you'll use for the supports, the steps, the side rails and bannisters so that you know how each needs to be cut and fitted together. Then build the support structure, and only when you've done just about all of the less visible work do you add any steps, at which point you must fit the rest or it will be too unstable to use.

The only flaw in Nate's plan is that he's building a stairway to the 115th floor, but hasn't invested enough in the ground-floor showroom that should be selling us the desire to leap over the roped-off entry to the stairwell and start climbing.
 
Top