Jake Oelman has directed action-sports videos, music videos, feature films, and most recently a full-feature documentary, released to sold-out audiences at SXSW 2016.
The film follows his father, Robert Oelman, who, at the age 52, left his successful psychotherapy practice to move to Colombia and become a photographer. No friends. No command of the language. No idea of what the future would hold.
But somehow, he found the courage to completely reinvent his life. At the middle of his life.
He buys property; learns a new craft; And along the way, discovers the magic world of rare insects, deep within the Amazon forests.
It’s the kind of story you rarely encounter in real-life, and it reminds you that while life is short, it’s long enough to make it what you choose. The kind of story that Jake is drawn to.
Jake grew up on skateboards and snowboards. And it was this influence that provided a foundation of taking risks and not following the traditional path.
In this interview he talks about how he first started making money with his films;
How networking, and basically being a friendly guy, helped him find a job in the industry;
Some cool facts about the process of how a music video idea gets selected;
How he launched a successful kickstarter campaign to fund the beginning of his latest movie;
Plus nuggets of wisdom, such as, commitment to your project is more important that the few rules you might need to break in order to make it a reality. (I kind of summarized there)
In the end Jake is a guy that put his vocation above comfort, above consumption, and above simple distraction. He wanted to make films. He set up his life to make it possible. Perhaps this conviction was influenced by the brave leap he saw his father take?
Regardless of where the inspiration comes from, when you listen to Jake, you’ll feel less worried about whether or not you should follow your dream, and, instead, you’ll ask if you’re willing to do what it takes to get it.
Sometimes that may be as extreme as moving to the jungle and learning a new skill.
Or it may be as simple as reducing your expenses, moving-in with a relative, and working your tail off so you can meet the right people at the right time.
No matter what path you choose, your true vocation will require work. It will require determination. It will require action. But from what I can tell, it will be worth it. And it will be meaningful. And it will even be fun.
I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Links mentioned in this episode: