Me: Hello, my name is Donovan, and I am a… (lowers voice for dramatic, “radio announcer” effect) Casual Professional.
Them: Hi Donovan!

I love that I can call TV and Radio stations and ask for the owners and managers by first name. The receptionists’ slightly skeptical (and completely normal) response is often, “Um, what’s this regarding?”, then I tell them who I am, what’s up and get right through. Not a brag really, just evidence that I’ve earned a reputation for being reliable and creative, plus I’m so comfortable with people from all walks of life, that I don’t make any pretense about an imaginary hierarchy. Respect and courtesy are two-way streets, and I aim to work with others as equals. I’m VERY thankful that the people I work with in Oregon are down to earth, caring and helpful. On the rare occasions that they’re not, it’s fun to mess with them a little (but always with good humor and a humbly-wise teaching style, of course hehe).

I met a TV station owner the other day in a busy restaurant. He was super-nice, but I couldn’t hear him when he said his name, cuz the place was noisy. My response was a quizzical “Whoozy-What’s-It?!?”, then we laughed and he repeated what he said with a smile. I like that. I wouldn’t have been that comfortable in the past, and the people sitting next to him laughed as well. It’s nice to lighten things up for business folk at their lunch meeting, and I was just passing by 🙂

I remember sitting in office meetings (before my work in broadcasting) with people who were afraid to speak up, or who played roles according to their assigned “pecking order”. I completely understand the fear of losing your job/home/etc., but it wasn’t cool for me. I don’t mean to sound judgemental, it’s just not something I can deal with very well since I’ve learned to speak up (I gotta big mouth sometimes, but my intentions are good!). I have a hard time being quiet when people are mistreated and talked down to in meetings; in life.

So, I’m very thankful that I left my regular job in 1998. It wasn’t planned. I had a major anxiety attack on the way to work one morning, and decided I need to “get out”. I gave my two-week notice that day. I quickly lost my apartment and scrambled to find very basic shelter. I lived in a 200-square foot space with a bathroom/shower down the hall for 11-years; by choice. It was a very inexpensive way to live, and it helped me to slow down and do my life on purpose. It gave me the time and energy to perform in (and promote) TONS of local theater and music. I prioritized learning, spiritual growth, being authentic and creative, instead of auto-pilot-responding to the exhausting, unfulfilling “need” to make more money and acquire stuff (I’m still living really basic to this day. Ah, freedom) 🙂

Soon after my early unpaid “retirement”, I started out on my own by producing commercials for six local non-profit theaters on the Southern Oregon Coast. They needed advertising help, so I knocked on doors and made phone calls to solicit sponsorships from local businesses. These sponsors got a nice mention at the end of the commercials, and the theater got tons of advertising for free, or at very little cost. I produced TV and Radio commercials for 45-theatrical productions (now I’m definitely bragging lol). Over a few years, I applied for, and received, four separate grants to support the arts in the area. The grant money was used for promotion, new theater lighting, video production equipment and more. I also made great connections with account executives from cable and broadcast stations, who helped me enter the business side of video production. I became an independent producer, with my work running on Comcast Cable TV and local networks (Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC).

All of this was on faith, and I couldn’t have planned some of the amazing opportunities that came my way. Plus, I did all of this with (sometimes paralyzing) anxiety. Why? How? Cuz I was doing what I loved and money was not the priority. It wasn’t easy, and I keep thinking of that poem about the “path less taken”, but I’m glad I listened to my instincts, because everything fell into place so perfectly. (Hint: I believe this applies to everyone).

Anywho, I’m very thankful for the freedom I gained by taking some courageous and illogical (to some) steps in the past. And I couldn’t have done it without some amazing people in the local media and businesses 🙂

Have a great day,

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