What do you do for Full-time work?

Construction safety manager for a large infrastructure company, national company.

What is your passion project and how long has it been in existence?

ODM Productions which is a music and video production studio built (by hand) in a shipping container. It took 5 years to finish.

Is it currently monetized?

Yes, but it’s about so much more than the music

What is your project’s origin story: Why did you start this project; what was the passion behind the project.

When COVID-19 hit a year ago, was really my launch into ODM productions and getting this thing up and running because schools closed, I couldn't go teach [in his side hustle teaching safety] and a lot of places didn't want you to.  We couldn't have large groups anymore. So I had the opportunity to say, Okay, well, I've got this place built, and now I've got time to be in it.  So let me do something with it.

The idea came from seeing a shipping container studio that wasn't as lush that somebody was renting out to musicians. And I thought, okay, we live out in the country. And maybe if I make this place nice enough, maybe I can make it like a retreat where somebody would come and maybe rent the studio space and camp out here until they got their creative ideas out. And there would be all the equipment that they needed.

But my passion project that I'm currently in stems from my love for music, I grew up playing several instruments.  When I was a kid, music was always my thing. I got into construction because it still allowed me to do shows and, you know, still be able to have money coming in while I'm going there.

I'm pursuing a career as an artist, well, that didn't work out. And at some point I had to grow up and leave that alone. And you know, I started having children and got married. Not necessarily in that order, but I had to provide. So music was always something, as a creative, it isn't something that you can put to bed, it's part of your wiring. For me it's waking up in the wee hours in the morning and, and hearing a song in my head and having to hum it into my phone so I can remember what it sounds like in the morning. And whether I do something or not, that was the only way that I could get it out of my head so I can get back to sleep. So a lot of musicians will be able to identify with the idea of having to get something out of your head and out in front of you so that you can let it go. Otherwise it takes hold. 

Even though I was working construction, even though I was providing for my family and even starting a side hustle with safety training and the safety training business. I've always been drawn to music, always kept musicians around me, always had different songs and different projects that I was involved in.  And then I got to a point here with well COVID-19 so let me backtrack. 

About five years ago, a little bit over five years ago, we bought this property out here in California with little acreage and I had this great idea of buying a 40 foot shipping container and then turning it into a music studio. Um, I don't know if you've been on my Instagram or not. There's pictures of me in the studio with all lights and my gear that's actually in the shipping container.  From the inside you can't tell, I call it the arc. Over the last five years or so, my neighbors have been watching me hauling materials up and down the hill on my back and out here, you know, having all kinds of machinery and equipment and grinding and welding to late hours of the night; building this place, basically by myself. So just like the story of Noah, right? Noah, what are you doing? Right? You're crazy.  Nobody's there, and you're just building this thing. And that's what I've been doing for five years. 

And finally, it’s really starting to get finished; it's never really finished, like all good projects. But it started bringing people in and started recording music here in my studio. And at that point, I was like, you know I'm gonna get in here, I'm gonna start doing some branding. And start to reach back out and get back in touch with the local community and making music and 

my whole idea was to be able to be the sort of person that I needed when I was a younger artist that I didn't have access to.

So that would say, more famous artists,

So that was the inception of the idea, that when I when I was in music, back younger, down here in San Diego, there really wasn't a network for me to get involved with, with music.  We had a few people that we knew they were kind of up and coming and they had outside sponsors buying them gear, and we would congregate in these different places. And, but that's all we had, you know, if you take a look at San Diego, and the music industry that is down here, you'll hear a few names come out of here and Nick Cannon's from out of here, but for most people in San Diego, we’re treated like a bedroom community of Los Angeles and, and Hollywood and everything shiny up there. 

So when people want to make it from San Diego, we generally go up to LA to make it happen. So fast forward now, you know, we've all got these computers, and we've got bedroom producers and, and there's, there's a larger network down here in San Diego, where people they want to get in, they want to make music. But being an artist and getting started off sometimes means that you don't have the means to get access to good equipment to videography, to you know, somebody maybe you know sponsoring you and vouching for you when you want to get into a location. 

And now certainly because you know, I've had a professional career because of what I do, you know, I'm a little bit better off, I won't say that I'm rich, but you know, I've got I've got enough to be able to take care of the things that I like to do. And be able to share that with other people. I mean, that that's that's pretty much it in a nutshell, right? 

So I produce music. I'm tied in with a lot of different people, you know, the creation of music itself isn't necessarily a tangible thing. Right. So when you're dealing with the arts and dealing with artistic, left brain type people, a lot of times, like the conversations that we're having right now weird as it is, is actually making music in my head, it helps things make sense. And there's a groove and staying in touch with that, staying in touch with you, staying in touch with what makes you, you.   It helps you to thrive in other areas of your life. It makes me feel complete. 

So when you meet with other musicians, there's always that connection. And it isn't something where you're like, Okay, yeah, you're a musician, we’re gonna get along. But it's more along the lines of, Hey, I'm having you know, this conversation with this guy. And we're really clicking with each other, and then come to find out later on, this guy is also a musician.

Is there a point where you hesitated to start it?  What got you over that hump?

It was less about a hesitation to start and more about a sense that I may not finish it as it was being done during my spare time.  

Building with my own hands kept me going. Knowing that one day it would be done.

One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to starting passion projects is finding time in their already busy lives to do it.  How did you find or make time for your project?

I would have to say, looking back, I don't know, because I'm a father of five, there are seven in our family, you know, we were when I started off and getting back into music and stuff like that there are five kids still in the house at that time. One of them was an infant. And you know, the older kids are gone, now I have a 23 year old that's working on her nursing degree and also working on getting a certification so that she can become a physical trainer, Personal Trainer. And I have a 13 year old in the house. And I have to be dad all the way through this, and I have to work.

But I found time, you know, there's  a process called thin slicing that somebody spend some time with me on and it was a book that was written, I didn't actually read the book, the guy paraphrased it for me, we spent time and I would watch this guy do a lot of different things. And basically, the idea of thin slicing isn't trying to get everything done at one time. But being able to interlace little pieces of what you need to do throughout all your different activities. If I wanted to be a better musician, you know, it's just like this thing of picking up YouTube and, and watching a video here or reading a book there or spending a few minutes with my guitar. So I can learn a couple chords, and then just kind of keeping this process going on over time. And so doing that, at kind of a fundamental level, let me know that I could do more things and you know.  To work all day long, and then come back and show somebody and say, hey, look at this music video I shot over the weekend. And for them to say, Where do you get the time to do this? Sometimes I question that myself. But I know I robbed myself short asleep, sometimes, you know, I find time to get in there. I shot a music video. Last week after I got off work, the more that I do it, the quicker it gets done, I go into something, I'll create a shot list. So if I know that I'm going to shoot a music video, I've listened to the song in my spare time, maybe a couple times, I've got a concept of what I want to do, I pick up the phone, you know, when I have a minute or maybe during lunch, I'll talk it over with whoever I'm working with. I'll create a shot list. Maybe while I'm getting ready for bed, I'll write a list about ideas in my head. Or If I wake up in the middle of the night. And I've got it running through my head, I'll jot it down before I go back to sleep.

So there's just a lot of different opportunities for me to just kind of touch it. And then I'll come back to it and and then once I get to a point where I'm ready to shoot this music video, I'm getting off at three I'm meeting up with somebody at three, the sun's going down at it 4:30 and we want to catch the sunset. I'm on this strict schedule to get that done. And then after that, now that I've got all this great footage, I'm not going to sleep on it. Right. So now I'm motivated to creating something so normally I'll push that out for a time where I've got space and my head is right. Like times like now, like we're on here we're doing this interview. This is normally a time where I've set it aside as a couple hours after I've got done working on Friday. I've taken a shower, I've cleaned up and now I'm ready to sit down and change hats and be a creative. And that's what I do, I find time, I schedule time with myself for myself. Because it's important.

Another big challenge faced is fatigue.  You work 9-to-5, it takes up 95% of your energy.  And we are not even talking about family and their needs yet.  What can you share with the listeners about getting energy after all the demands of life?

I get started because it is a passion project. It doesn't take too much to get this thing going. I'll come down to my studio. And I'll turn all the lights on. You know when I get my music equipment going and I've got a whole bunch of blinking lights on here and I've got an arsenal of different instruments or it might my guitar plugged in my electric guitar plugged in and I'll sit down and I'll put the guitar in my lap and I'll strum a couple chords. Or I'll have a video documentary about somebody making music or something like that on Netflix, because I know if I watch this for a few minutes and be like Forget that I'm gonna get mine

I have heard about passion projects providing renewed confidence and new skills when it comes to people’s day jobs.  How has your passion project impacted the way you show up at your day job?

so let me take a look right here and phrase this correctly. This is one of those areas where you can get me talking.  What I do is uniquely me. And it is absolutely juxtaposed to the position that I hold at work. When I'm at work, I'm about safety, I'm talking to people about what needs to be done, people have a certain perception of me as being a safety cop. But really, that's not what I do. But at the same time, there's a certain seriousness that I have to have when I'm at work, and being creative and letting that all hang out and being totally different is something that I keep in the back of my head, like I'm a creator, and I do stuff that I'm sure somebody else at work is doing it. But in my head, I'm the best in what I'm doing right now with me. Not saying that I'm better than other people, I'm saying I'm, for me, this, this this place that I'm at with my life. Somebody can't challenge that. So when I get to work, and you know, there's pressure on, there's a lot of different things that are going on, I have to remind myself that, okay, I'm good at something, I'm good at something that it's just me. And, and you can't take that away from me. And it gives me a certain amount of confidence, it gives me a certain amount of energy, it gives me a certain amount of strength.

To be able to recognize that I mean, and regardless of whatever's going on in the world that I have something; so I don't know if that answers the question. But you know, it does, it puts a little more pep in my step. When I was younger you know, I can express this in a way that when I was younger.  When I used to go out and I used to rap and stuff like that and I was doing shows and things like that and and then coming back and then still haven't work during the day in construction people get after you and people always hollering at you and you have to get this done and you never do anything good enough and that's just part of the culture sometimes. I would never really let them back me into a corner because I'm saying to myself, well, that's cool. You know how to do this. But I bet you can't do what I do.

mature and it's not so much of a dig in. It's not so much of a you know, but I've got something that I can relax and lay back on like, hey, whatever you're talking about. I love it. I respect it. You know, I'm all part of it. I'm for you.  You know we're gonna get this thing done. But This ain't the whole world right now. This ain't my whole world.

There is someone out there listening to this recording who has something they are passionate about but they are on-the-fence when it comes to starting.  What bit of guidance would you provide to them?

To somebody that might be on the fence that is thinking, you know what, there's got to be more than this, I would encourage that person to live out their identity. There's so much going on in the world, there's so much that’s part of our history, where people have always told us who we have to be, where we have to be, how we have to do it. And there's always been something inside of us that wanted to get out. Because we're so much more, I would say find it. 

If you got a piece of it in you let it out, live it out. Because it's gonna feed you in a way that you couldn't even imagine. That's why at the end of the day for me is this not about money. And yeah, it'd be great to make more money doing it. But right now, it is born out of passion. This is something that completes me. And I will encourage somebody to find something like that in their life. So that when things are getting heavy, the whole world is working against you and say ends aren't meeting you have something that’s in you that has been given to you that can fulfill you. 

And it just it takes a little bit of energy to get started. But the ends justifies the means. Go out there and spend that energy, find out who you are, what really makes you thrive. And to the best of your ability, feed it, even if it's just a little because once it gets a life of its own, you're up and running and there's no limit. And there's no stopping point. There's no limit to where it is that you can take this, and you'll never have any idea of how far it'll go If you don't get started. That's what I would say.

Where can the people learn more about your passion project and the dope work you are putting out into the world. 

I just went through this whole branding thing, and I'm still working on it. But I've got everything synchronized to ODM underscore productions. So whether it's my Facebook, or whether it's my Instagram, whether it's my Twitter, or my YouTube, you can find me under ODM underscore productions. I'm down in San Diego, I'm always looking for people to collaborate with.  I got a lot of different things that are going on that are in the works. And basically, I want to create, I want to create, I want to be there when the magic happens. I wouldn't market myself as somebody that's inexpensive, so hit me up. But if you've got something that I can sink my teeth into something that moves me that I'm in alignment with then let's do that.