Hello, Connected States followers. Thank you for being a part of this adventure. Some of you may have been wondering, “Where the hell are Brent and The Beast? Why haven’t we heard anything lately?” Fair questions. Here’s what's up.
Way back in June I was told that I was being considered for a TV gig. In September I was told that I had booked it, and that we’d be shooting a pilot in L.A. in the fall. If you’ve wondered why so many of my Instagram posts have been coming from Southern CA for the last few months, well, that’s why. Or that’s most of the reason.
Those who don’t know me personally may be surprised to know that before I was a journalist, I was an actor. I’d be doing it since I was a teenager and it’s what I went to grad school for. Journalism came much later. I’d always been writing, but it was mostly limited to film scripts, plays, blog posts, and God-awful poetry (I’m so deep, you just don’t get it. Lay off me, mom!). Around 2010, though, my career in journalism started taking off much faster than my acting career was, and so I decided to go where the momentum was and embrace it. The idea was that maybe, eventually, I’d be able to leverage my journalistic success back into an on-camera career, and lo and behold, that’s what’s begun to happen. Maybe.
Booking the pilot led me to two amazing managers, Brian Stern and Ken Slotnick of AGI Entertainment. Brian and Ken led me to two amazing agents, Vanessa Silverton-Peel and Hans Schiff at CAA. Never, when I was banging my head against the wall going to open-call auditions in NY, did I dream that I would one day have such powerhouses for representation, especially by diverting my career away from acting, pursuing journalism for five years, and then slipping through this strange side-door by combining my two careers, but that’s how life works. Things never happen the way you expect them to.
All that is to say that I am again trying to go with where the momentum is, and that means mostly being near enough to Southern CA that I can swoop in for a meeting or an audition during pilot season.
Let me be very clear about one thing: CONNECTED STATES IS NOT OVER. In fact, I’m still very much in the middle of it. I’m still living in the van, I’m just exploring the urban side of off-the-grid living. I have accumulated a serious backlog of stories (including the Cuba kayaking fiasco, the Northwest, the Southwest, and the City of LA), and I’m hoping to start pushing those out, soon. I’ll supposedly find out whether that pilot will become an actual show in the next month or so, and even if it does I plan on continuing to live the #vanlife while we’re shooting. I didn’t start this trip as a stunt; it’s simply the way I want to be living right now, and I don’t see any of these career developments changing that.
So that’s the story. That’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. I had to fly to NY for some meetings, and I’m currently on my way to Aspen to test some new gear and check out Periscope’s GoPro integration. Sadly, Ashley, the Beast, is not with me for these trips. Why? I still have not found a good solution for winterizing the van. I love Ashley dearly, but she is poorly insulated. See, she has a full water system (shower, sink, and toilet), and just like the hoses and pipes in your house, if Ashley’s hoses and pipes freeze they will likely crack, which would lead to thousands of dollars of damage and a mildew-pocalypse from which she may never recover.
The only solution I’ve heard offered to this is to empty the water tanks and fill them all with non-toxic RV anti-freeze, but I’m not down with this. Because I’m living in it full-time, that would mean that I wouldn’t have a way to wash dishes or clean myself, and that’s a deal-breaker. I’ve contemplated blowing foam insulation into the sidewalls and roof and then installing a more-efficient diesel heater, but I don’t trust myself with an install like that and I can really shell out to have someone else do it. Even that wouldn’t guarantee that the black and grey water tanks (which are located underneath the van, on the outside) wouldn’t freeze and crack. Still trying to figure all that out.
I have continued to make improvements, though. For starters, I recently used a tool called the Whizzy Wheel to remove the majority of the decals from the outside of the van. Not only were they already starting to peel but they looked cheesy, making my girl look more like a plain old RV, instead of the high-tech van that she is. I also installed Philips Hue color-changing Light Strips, which I’ll be showing off soon in video, but suffice to say it’s one of the best additions I’ve made. Can’t wait to show you.
So, that’s the update. I’ve been humbled by the interest that people have taken in this adventure, and I promise that I’ll have more updates very soon. You can always follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and I've finally added an option to subscribe to this blog by email. Keep following, and I promise I’ll keep it interesting for you.
As always, thank you for reading.