A number of years ago in-between movie projects, I took a job in a Call Centre to make ends meet. That’s the common vernacular for “survive.”
The Call Centre Supervisor asked me, “What did you do before coming here?” I answered him truthfully but the demeaning mocking look of disbelief he gave me in his silent reply said it all. What followed were weeks of training on how to take a call, answer questions and resolve issues.
My closest friends in the Call Centre training class were all artists of some sort. One guy was a Comic Book Artist, another was an Animator, another a Tattoo Artist and another a Musician. These guys were really talented artist all doing the same thing as me, whatever they could to survive.
While I was in the training sessions at the Call Centre, a movie I had been hired to write and direct was playing at the ARPA Film Festival in Hollywood. Photographs of the producers at the festival were sent to me. In those photographs was a picture of the producer receiving the “Best Director Award” on my behalf.
I took the photos to class to celebrate with my artist friends. The Comic Book Artist said, “What are you doing here? Are you really here doing research for a movie?” I had to confess that maybe one day this experience will serve me like that but I was here to survive and do what I needed to do.
One day, the class cleared out on break and our group of artist was left alone. We started talking about our passions, our art. For some reason the comic book superheroes that I loved as a kid came to mind and I could see the “super” talent represented in my circle of friends. I got everyone’s attention and said, “Peter Parker, Clark Kent did what they had to do by day but that was not who they really were, they were Spiderman and Superman. Let’s make an oath to each other, not to let this Call Centre job define who we are. We are, Animator, Comic Book Artist, Tattoo Artist, Musician and Filmmaker… that’s who we really are. Let’s make a pact never to forget who we really are. It’ll be our Superhero Code of Honor.” The guys agreed and for the first time since Call Centre training started we all had renewed hope.
On occasion we’d look at each other and whisper, “Superhero Code of Honor.” It got us through.
Years later, none of us are at the Call Centre. The Animator works at a prestigious animation company, the Tattoo Artist opened his own shop, the Comic Book Artist is constantly showing his work at comic book conventions and getting commissioned to do drawings, the Musician is releasing his second album and I made the feature film Trade of Innocents, starring Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney, fulfilling my passion to tell stories that make a difference. In expectation, I'm very much looking forward to making my next movie.
If you’re reading this and have a passion that burns deep within you… that passion is there for a reason. The ultimate purpose is to serve the betterment of mankind, just ask Spiderman or Superman… that’s why they do what they do. Art is much the same… it reaches in and touches the soul of a person. That’s the most powerful superhero power of all.
Purposefully I have not shared my artist friends’ names in this article. However if you see me on social media wish a Happy Birthday with a 'SCOH' you might have an idea that this super talent once worked for the Daily Bugle or the Daily Planet alongside Peter Parker, Clark Kent and me.