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3 Years in Vegas

>Run DMZ - I Think I'll Go to North Korea Today

DMZ border of North and South Korea

Wow! Has it been three years since I landed at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas? On July 12th, 2010, I was flying back from South Korea on an ESL teaching job. I only spent 7 weeks there instead of the one year I was supposed to put in. It was a major career turn as I’m constantly seeking ways to make a living. The film business may be easy for some people, but for the majority it’s very, very hard. I used to have larger-than-life dreams about the film industry, but that’s transitioned into making a living in film. And I keep coming back to film no matter how difficult it is. I may not be a master of any one particular job such as screenwriting, directing or video editing, but I love doing them. Sacrifice is a given in this business. For various reasons, I let my first love of screenwriting sit on a shelf for many years while trying to make a living as a video editor.

Ross Directs "The Octo Circus"

Ross Directs “The Octo Circus”

Ross edits TV pilot

Ross Edits TV pilot

My thought was that I would edit film or TV by day and write at night. Directing seems to come with inspiration when I’m totally broke. In 2009, when I was struggling to make a living as an editor, I made a $400 short film, “The Octo Circus” inspired by the Octo Mom. I only entered a handful of film festivals as they’re expensive. The film did not get into any festivals, but has been getting a steady stream of You Tube hits.

At the end of 2009, I took a course in teaching ESL or English as a Second Language course. At the end of May 2009, I boarded a plane from Las Vegas (where my parents live) to Seoul, South Korea. When the director informed me after a few weeks that I wouldn’t be teaching for more than a month, I spent every weekend touring all over Seoul and taking in everything; museums, palaces, tourist traps, the DMZ. It was a great experience.

Viva Las Vegas!

Ross hikes in Red Rock

Ross at Red Rock Cyn.

What am I going to do here? Re-Inventing myself was a topic I spoke on in 2012 at a Delivering Happiness Inspire event. I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve made here in Las Vegas. Although work has not been consistent, I’ve had some opportunities I might not have had in LA.

Ross writes about Duran Duran for Vegas 7 Magazine.

Ross writes about Duran Duran for Vegas 7 Magazine.

  • Wrote a first person article about my experience attending TribeFest, a gathering of Jewish Federations from all over North America for David Magazine
  • Had a 4 page story about my career in David Magazine
  • Became a RAW Artist as a filmmaker at first RAW event in Las Vegas with “The Octo Circus”
  • Have written and still write concert reviews periodically for Vegas Seven Magazine; Scott Weiland, ZZ Top, Tesla, Matisyahu, Crosby and Nash
  • Have been an active member of the LV Screenwriting Group
  • Incorporated my production company, In Your Head Productions, LLC
  • Founded and was the Festival Director for Social Media Film Festival that took place at The Mirage in 2012
  • Interviewed on various radio stations including the Las Vegas Social Media Show
  • Been involved with various TV pilots as an editor and other film and video projects
Rianne, Rayna & Ross at RAW

Rianne, Rayna & Ross at RAW

SMFF Crew @ Royal House

SMFF Crew @ Royal House

What’s next? Where will I be in the years to come?

Social Media Film Festival was a success, but not the type of success I was hoping for even in its first year. Some more sponsorship and money would be needed the next time around. I do hope to put SMFF on again some day. Currently, I’m teaching myself Avid Media Composer in hopes of making that technical skill and system how I make a living. Either I will find work on TV or film projects back in Los Angeles or some other skill will help me find more work here in Las Vegas. I’m prepping to soon direct a no-budget short film comedy about genetically modified foods. In addition, I am working on a new screenplay. It simply feels good to be writing again and working on a new idea instead of beating my head against the wall re-writing old screenplays.

There are some really cool people here in Las Vegas and I hope to stay in touch whether my work and/or career brings me back to LA or not. We are a little bit passed the half-way mark of 2013. I feel inspired and motivated to make things happen.

Ross Picalum Pose

Ross Picalum Pose

Some Days

Mandalay Bay View 1

My view from a catered lunch at the Convention Center

When I’m working as a film or video editor, most of the time I’m working my ass off for decent or not so decent pay. Yesterday, I worked on a corporate job with a team of editors mostly from out-of-town. I was called in through a reference as the team was behind in finishing the videos and showreels for an upcoming convention by a large corporation. The company had been very slow in getting material to the editing team. I spent half or most of my time waiting for footage. And then when I got the footage, it took no time at all to string or assemble the clips on a timeline. Hurry up & wait! I had worked on a team-building video before years ago. This was somewhat similar. This company was having their employees make their own videos. Ugh!

What was projected to be a two or three-day gig ended up only being one very long day, 14 hours to be exact. I got paid very well with some time and a half. So, no complaints. Well, except on! During the 14 hours, we were freezing our butts off.

Mandalay Bay View 2

My view from my catered lunch at the Convention Center

Apparently, the casino keeps the AC switched to NORTH POLE! One side of the room was slightly cold. I was in the frozen tundra! At least I got a really nice catered meal for lunch. And the view was not too shabby either! All in a day’s work.

This was the highest I had ever been paid in one day. With freelance work, some days are better than others.


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