“I love what I do. I love everything I’m involved in. I don’t believe in doing anything that you don’t love. That’s stupid. You have one life.”
For many people, the idea of chasing dreams and doing what truly makes them happy can be a frightening thought. It’s not always the safer choice. We have school, bills, high expectations from family and peers— none of which are necessarily secure if we leave a nine to five behind in order to build something from the ground up. This week’s Aspire to Inspire guest, Videographer/Tour Manager, Joseph Larkin has faced this exact struggle.
From a young age Joseph knew that he was destined to be involved in the entertainment business in some capacity.
“I always knew that I wanted to entertain people in some way and it wasn’t until high school that my friends and I started making little quirky videos. They were really just for our own enjoyment…no one else…ya know. My family didn’t even know what half the jokes meant, but we all had our inside jokes that we thought were so hilarious. It kind of just took off from there. I started taking filmmaking workshops and then worked in TV after I graduated college. I did pretty well with TV for the time that I was there. I worked on shows like The X Factor and America’s Got Talent, which was dope. Then I was the Associate Casting Producer for American Ninja Warrior, which was a really fun time. I got to travel with them and help cast the show and stuff like that.”
While balancing an intense workload in the world of television, Larkin and his friends often attended Control at Avalon in Los Angeles to unwind and have a good time. The more he and his friends saw press coverage of the events they attended, or lack there of, the more interested they became in creating their own.
“In May of 2014 I talked to my buddy James about really doing something about it. We both loved EDM and everything about the scene. At the time I didn’t really know how to work a camera, but he was already doing a ton of stuff so he was the one to really help and teach/mold my film style. From there I started working. I messaged probably a hundred people telling them what we wanted to do and we actually got some pretty good responses. People like Heroes and Villains hit us back up and thought it was cool and wanted to work on projects. There were also Anna Lunoe, Slander, NGHTMRE, and Party Favor. While we received a great response, only a handful of these artists actually worked with us.”
Before Joseph knew it, he was working his very first gig with Party Favor at none other than EDC Las Vegas. Laying the groundwork for what would blossom into a fully booked career at one of his favorite festivals was an experience second to none. From there, Larkin has gone on to work at other major events like Ultra Music Festival, which he grew up attending, as well as touring with close friends, Boombox Cartel, in Australia. Since then he has been to Australia four times most recently with Flosstradamus and NGHTMRE — an experience he refers to as the high point of his career so far.
But when it comes to Joseph’s inspiration and what has pushed him to keep building his career, it’s a matter of work ethic. Sometimes living out our dreams and building them into a career means devoting more time and effort than we knew we could, but that may go unnoticed if it’s something we truly love.
“I guess this might be cliché and I don’t want to be the cliché guy, but if you just try your hardest, you’re not going to fail. There’s no way. People all the time will come up to me from high school and say stuff like ‘I love what you’re doing. I wish I was doing what you’re doing or I wish I was at the level that you are’ and I’m like…dude, I’m not even big at all, I’m just the guy that likes to make videos. It’s like when people say I wish I had your life. They can, they just need to work hard at whatever it is that they want to do. Just give it your all, don’t say no to anything, and it will happen.
I had a job at Insomniac, which was super hard to get and it was so cool. I was with Pasquale and the other directors almost every night just going over different projects. I would literally work American Ninja Warrior during the day, have an hour break to walk my dog, drive down to Beverly Hills to the Insomniac office, edit until eleven or twelve at night, and then I would go home and do my own videos until like 2am. Every day I would wake up at 8am to do it all over again. That was my life for like two months straight until I started touring. I was literally working three jobs. But the thing is I wasn’t doing that because I wasn’t making enough money, it was because it was so cool and I loved being a part of it. Those were the festivals and events that I loved so much. And then to have Pasquale post a picture of us working together in the office was awesome. It was so cool to meet him and show him my work too.”
More recently, Joseph has been touring with Shaun Frank and Grammy-award winning artist, Cedric Gervais, as both his tour manager and videographer. This week Joseph will be continuing his adventures with both artists at Miami Music Week/Ultra. He says it will be nice to be home for a bit until his next international gig at the end of next month.
At the end of the day, it’s all about taking the extra chance. As Joseph says, making a career for yourself out of something you love is all about not being afraid to take the extra shot at something. Truly pursue it. When Joseph found himself having to make a decision between his freelance creative position and a consistent paycheck, it wasn’t an easy choice. That being said, it has changed his life for the better.
“I used to go see a lot of these DJs in the crowd and listen to their music just because they were dope and I loved their music. It’s just super cool and I’m so appreciative now that I can call most of them my friends and that I get to work with the people who make my favorite music.”