Week 4: Why I Dropped Out of College

A year and a half ago I dropped out of college at the beginning of my junior year to pursue a dream I had of working in the film industry.


I filed my paperwork for leaving college, quit my job, and began to figure out how to take steps toward accomplishing this dream that seemed so far away.



For the next two months I ended up shadowing my friends Kyle and Susan as they edited a film called "The Stanford Prison Experiment". For two months I watched them edit 5 days a week. It was in that editing room, at Kyle's house, that I really began to realize how much I love to tell stories and it reassured me that I was on the right path.


After the film was complete, I didn't know what I was going to do next. But jobs came along. A couple months later I made my first dollar working in the film industry on a commercial and since then it seems like anything I try to do can be possible if I'm willing to take the risk and put in the time.


My plans have greatly changed since dropping out of college. YouTube wasn't even in the plan when I decided I was going to dropout! But I am extremely grateful for this platform. The small community I have found on here is an incredible inspiration.


Thank you for watching, for your comments, and for your emails. Connecting with people is one of the most satisfying feelings I have come to know. I promise to never beg for views, likes, or subscribers because I know those are only temporary. I would so much rather work harder at telling a story about something I have gone through that will connect with someone. Because that means much more in the long run. No one will remember the video they "liked" on that old platform called YouTube back in the day.


But I have a feeling people will remember how a video made them feel, and that's what I'm going for.


And with no further adieu, here is my video on why I dropped out of college.

Week 3: Mexico, I Love You

I've been seeing Mexico in the news a lot lately.  It's a place that I love and I feel it is not being represented properly.  

The footage of Mexico in this video is from a filming job that I went on last year to Mexico city.  When I arrived I was overwhelmed by how crowded the city was so I went to bed!  I woke up the next morning at 4am, grabbed the Canon C300 we had brought with us and went out into the city to see it awaken as the day started.  

I'll always loved this footage but it didn't seem like something I could put out on it's own.  I'm really happy with how the combination of this footage from last year and the voiceover I did on Saturday combined into a film.  Back when I filmed in Mexico City filming it was only the beginning of me figuring out that I love Mexico.  


Week Two: Building a Career Working on Movies

This week I talk about my fear of hating my job when I become older.  Will working on movies every lose it's excitement? Or is it up to me to keep it exciting and fun?

The footage around LA is from a scout that I went on earlier this week.  We saw some pretty historic parts of Los Angeles.

Week One: Can I Live In The Moment?

I was listening to an episode of Serial this week and when Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl describes what it's like to be stuck in a dark room and to not know what day it is or what is happening outside the four walls you are in, it really struck me what living in the moment can really mean.  And it brought up the question "Have I ever lived fully in the moment?"

This is the first of my one a week videos! Enjoy

Thoughts From Japan: Going Home

Today I flew back to Los Angeles from Tokyo. It's been an amazing trip and a great way to end 2015. Thank you for watching my trip, I appreciate it! 

Until next time!

Thoughts From Japan: Making Assumptions

Final full day in Japan.  We went to Mt Fuji and explored a different part of Japan on a bus tour.  Today I found myself thinking a lot about making assumptions about other people.


Thoughts From Japan: Homogenized Art

I often times find it too easy to continue to create the same thing instead of pushing myself to do something different.  I have experienced that with these 10 videos I am trying to create while I am here in Japan so I thought it was only appropriate to make to a video about it.

Thoughts From Japan: Jr High

The older I get the less talking I do when I am in a group of people.  I often times I find myself sitting back and listening instead.  In this video I talk about how my desire to climb the social ladder of my peer group peaked many years ago in Jr High.  


Thoughts From Japan: U.S. Navy Base

Today we went to the United States Navy base in Yokosuka and it got me thinking about WWII and the atomic bombings in Japan that helped to end the war.

Thoughts From Japan: Tokyo

Today we went to Tokyo.  An incredible city that felt like the future.

With this short film, instead of doing a voiceover I did a cut to one of Jóhann Jóhannsson's songs from Sicario.  


Thoughts From Japan: Day 1

I am in Japan for the next 10 days and I will be documenting it through daily short films.  I have never been to Japan, let alone Asia, so I am excited to see what I learn and share it here!


Why I Film/ Flying Chartered

This past week I flew on my first charted flight, went to Las Vegas for the first time, and finished working on my third feature film.

It's Been A Successful Year

Mt. Wilson, October 2015

Mt. Wilson, October 2015

It’s been an incredible past year.   I moved out of my parents home, I went out of the country for the first time, I had my first taste of alcohol, I joined the Cinematographers Guild, I worked on my first union movie, I worked on the Warner Bros Lot, I got paid to fly on a chartered flight, I bought a van, I moved into a van, and in two weeks I’m going to Japan! 

If you read that list it sounds like an incredible successful year and it has been.  But I’ve noticed that it has all gone by so quick and there hasn’t been much time for me to think on it or to decompress what happened or what is happening.

Because of this I have decided that I am going to start doing morning pages again.  This was a practice that I did in high school and I found that it helped me decompress on a daily basis.  And even though I rarely read my old morning pages writing it is very helpful to be forced to slow down every morning and to do a ritual of writing for 30+ minutes.  

This morning was the first time that I sat down and did my morning pages in a year.  It was hard! 3 pages is a lot but after I finished I felt so good! It is such a wonderful way to start the day.  

I am going to start sharing some of my morning pages on this blog.  Even though right I only a couple hits a day I feel it will be a good practice.  It won’t be a lot but it will be thoughts from my morning pages.  

I'm Working on the Warner Bros Lot

I worked on the Warner Bros lot for the first time last month.  

Even though I had been on the lot before, this was the first time I was getting a paycheck for being there.  It was a major accomplishment on the timeline that is my life, so I made a video about it! 


I bought a van to live in

I’ve never wanted to live in a van. My parents had an RV when I was growing up and I hated it.  I just didn’t like it.  Having to live in this small space with all these people and having to be so clean, ah not for me.  


Living in Los Angeles as a young adult with a small income is hard.  It seems like most people here spend the same amount on rent as they do on coffee each month.  But here $5 cold brews seem to be the standard and nobody seems to be flinching about the price!


But I was different, standing over here drinking my home brewed Trader Joe’s coffee, flinching every time I had to write my ridiculously high rent check that wasn’t even high compared to the standard in my neighborhood.  The hard part for me was that I was only spending an average of 6 nights a month in my apartment.  All other nights I was either working or spending time on friends couches.  


Back in May I was given the opportunity to go to New Orleans to work on a movie. And hell yeah I took that opportunity!  I moved out of my West Hollywood apartment and stored all my belongings at a friends house and went to New Orleans for 3 months. 


When I got back to LA in July I didn't feel like I wanted to go back into the apartment world of one year leases. Luckily enough my friends let me stay at their house for a couple months. But soon enough it was time to move out and look for another apartment.


I began my usually practice of looking at craigslist ads and visiting local colleges to see if there were any good postings.  But like all the times before I quickly realized that at the level I want to pay I was going to have to sacrifice a lot as far as my standard of living.  


I had voiced the idea of living in a van a couple months back but it was absolutely crazy. Then one night I was at a friends and I had one of those "oh wow" moments. One of those moments where living in a van didn't sound so bad. It sounded like it would actually be fun! 


The next day I started researching it more and going to dealers to test drive vans. This was happening!


I knew generally about what I wanted. In the recent years there have been these "European style" cargo vans that have started to be sold in the US. They tend to be a little taller than the standard American cargo van and they get decent gas mileage.  They seemed like the perfect fit. 


Before I knew it I was getting rid of my belongings and I was trying to fit my entire life in a 7ft by 4 ft box that I had taped out on the floor of where I was staying. That was the size of the cargo space in one of these european cargo vans and I knew I needed to visually see all my things in a space to see if I could do it.  It was a hard challenge but I did it.  


Still at this point the van seemed like a good idea. How awesome would it be to be able to live in a different place every night and to not worry about rent and utilities and so forth? I was sold!


I ended up buying a Nissan NV200 in early September and I have moved into it.  It’s a different lifestyle than anyway I have every lived before.  It’s such a small space that it seems that even if one thing is not put away, the entire van looks messy.  


Luckily one of my friends, Ziggy, is extremely handy and really helped me in making the van livable.  To start we installed a 280w solar panel on the roof, a 1250w solar generator under the bed, a 45qt fridge by the rear doors, and we build a custom sized bed that is about as long as a tall twin but only 3 feet wide.  Let me remind you, it’s a small space.  


I don’t know how long I plan to be living in this van but I can honestly say, I love it! I might even love it too much!  But hey this is my decision and I’m living with it.  


I have a lot of time these days living in a van so expect to see a lot of my thoughts posted on here.  “Thoughts from the Van Man!” is what I see it being titled but hold on don’t let me get to far ahead of myself.  


Until next time, 



Austin: They Said Just Go to College

I would like to present the second film in my series, Friends of Spencer.  This film is about my friend Austin and his college experience as he enters his forth year of college in San Francisco.
 The footage in this video ranges from August of 2015 all the way to September of 2013.  Enjoy! 

Follow me!

Matthew Cui: Happiness

Today I give you the first video in a new series I am calling "Friends of Spencer". 

I realized a couple months ago that I have some amazing people in my life.  I wanted to figure out how I could capture them and document who they are as people.  So I decided to interview my friends and turn them into short films.  

The first one up is my friend Matt Cui.  I became friends with Matt early in college even though we had gone to high school together for 4 years.  I'm amazed by Matt's work ethic, ambition, leadership skills, and ability to connect with people.  

I am very proud of this video and I am proud that the Matt you see in this video is the Matt that I know as a friend.  It isn't a persona for the camera, it’s Matthew Cui.


Follow me!

DTLA Dinner Club

My friend, Josh, hosts a dinner club in Downtown Los Angeles every week on his rooftop.  This is a 30 second video I made about it.  Enjoy!

Follow me!

Music by:

Hippie Sabotage - "White Tiger"

Thoughts About Vlogging

Today I made a vlog about vlogging and my thoughts on what I want my youtube channel to be. Lots of talking in this one!

Follow me!