The Los Angeles acting dream doesn't work out for most aspiring movie stars. Success and monetary gains end up in the hands of a minuscule percentage.
Michael Curtis grew up in the south bouncing around from Texas to South Carolina. Following an Air Force stint and Alaska Theatre schooling, Curtis moved to LA thinking he might be one of the privileged few.
He didn't own a car at the time. Two full-time jobs were necessities to pay for transportation and an apartment.
The hectic jobs provided Curtis little time for acting.
“I never auditioned for anything,” he said.
Though a crazy experience, Curtis picked up more monetarily advantageous skills.
“I moved to LA to become an actor and fell into editing because I needed to pay my bills,” Curtis said. “It's extremely difficult to be an actor and make any money at it.”
Combining aesthetics and technical skills learned in Hollywood, he picked up an offer to run a post-production facility at the North Carolina School of Filmmaking. From there, Curtis owned and directed an Atlanta-based post house (EditLab) with three edit suites for 15 years.
His outfit completed numerous projects for Turner Broadcasting, but a change was coming.
Curtis and his wife found Lake Sinclair as a perfect getaway from the big city and production life.
“We wanted a place we could get away on the weekends,” the filmmaker said. “We would get depressed when we had to head back to Atlanta.”
After deciding the small town lake life was a better way, Curtis downsized his EditLab business last September and officially moved the operation to a Lake Sinclair base.
The financial sacrifice was worth it.
“I was no longer willing to not be happy. I wanted to take a risk and step away completely,” Curtis said.