North Carolina native Spencer Tucker moved into the heart of Hollywood in later Summer 2010. Like many in the entertainment industry, Spencer moved here to further his career as a cinematographer. He drips with Southern Hospitality, yet without any trace of a southern accent. Like the place he now calls home, Spencer is delightfully unique.
Like so many in his field, Spencer is freelancing while seeking a permanent position with a local company. Spencer admits the job market is tight and that many entertainment-related businesses have closed shop or moved to other states, lured by lucrative cash incentives–one of the main culprits of runaway production. Spencer works from his apartment just off Hollywood Blvd., not far from the Kodak Theater. Spencer is now part of the storied tradition of ambitious Americans who decided to leave home and try their luck in Hollywood. It may sound like an old cliché, but Spencer is proof that quintessential American dream of going to Hollywood is alive and well.
What sets Spencer apart from many of his new friends and neighbors is, in his words, “an extreme fascination with psychology”. Spencer has turned this interest into a remarkable hobby and engaging story that would have otherwise gone untold but for a chance encounter with Film Works staff. Spencer feels a connection to Hollywood’s homeless population. “Since homeless people are usually very lonely and willing to talk, they require no social ice breaker,” Spencer said. It “does not take a lot to get them talking,” according to Spencer, and it doesn’t take much “to get them to completely open up to you.” This allows Spencer to apply his interest in psychology, as he is “very curious in each individual’s story and how they became homeless.” And this is how Spencer came to know Odin.
While taking a morning jog through Hollywood, Spencer spotted Odin, a homeless man in his late fifties or early sixties. Something about Odin’s face struck Spencer, so he offered to buy Odin some donuts “which,” Spencer said, “bought me a ticket to conversation.” Odin told Spencer he came to Hollywood over 30 years ago with dreams of becoming an actor and a desire to flee a troubled upbringing. Whatever his upbringing was like, it was not enough to extinguish love for his family and a longing to reach out and reconnect. But this is easier said than done. Each year, Odin purchases a Christmas card for his family and each year he throws it out, too embarrassed to send it. Until, that is, he met Spencer. Spencer learned that Odin’s career as an aspiring actor never got much traction because he was so penniless he was unable to afford head shots. After a few hours of conversation and a hot cooked breakfast prepared by Spencer and his roommates, Spencer decides to make Odin a deal.
Spencer agreed to take, prepare and print head-shots of Odin in his home office (complete with a green screen) all free of charge. In exchange, Spencer only asked that Odin send a Christmas card to his family and a promise, this time, to send it. Spencer prepared a custom Christmas card using headshots of Odin and even provided the paper, pen, envelope and postage. The act of charity overwhelmed Odin, who allowed tears of heartfelt joy to flow down his stoic, weathered face. While so many others ignore the homeless, Spencer takes time to know them and, if he can, meaningfully help them with breakfasts, head-shots and promises rather than the loose change in his pocket–quickly dispensed, quickly forgotten about.
Spencer is helping the homeless population in Hollywood and, in the process, redefining the notion of what Hollywood’s values are and proving that Film Works in the Los Angels region.