Life Balance Found in Taos


Brandon Schmid just wanted to be alone. A hard-working lawyer from Seattle, WA, he escaped to the rugged landscape in Taos, New Mexico, in the middle of winter. A rugged outdoorsman, he decided winter camping might be just the thing. Sad thing was, he forgot the matches…Read on to find out what he discovered about himself, his life, and his filmmaking abilities…

Humanity isn’t about efficiency and accountability, but a balance of that with empathy and community.

CLH: Can you tell us what happened to turn your life around?

Brandon: I went snow camping outside of Taos, New Mexico, without any matches or a lighter (I forgot), and while freezing to death (not literally – but it was sub-zero in the negative teens and I was considering hiking back out) I had a vision for a movie — not just any vision, but a complete vision complete with characters, story, beginning, middle and end, what happens, why it happens, themes and everything in vivid detail — all in a matter of moments.  For the past five years, I had been working as a business associate in a couple prestigious law firms in Seattle — Heller and Ehrman,* and Perkins and Coie — working my tail off, long hours, etc. billing and recording every six minutes of every working day for various clients.  I had been to Taos several times in a row over a series of months back in 1999.  But this time, I stayed for a whole week, as I had recently decided to switch firms and take two weeks in between to unwind.  On the way down to Taos, I was reading Tuesdays with Morrie on the plane and couldn’t stop crying — the walls and boundaries I had built up in order to function and succeed in such a highly competitive and demanding profession over the past 5 tuesdaysyears came crumbling down. I realized how mechanistic and attuned to efficiency and accountability I had become — very inhumane in the sense that humanity isn’t about efficiency and accountability, but a balance of that with empathy and community, right?  

CLH: What advice do you have for workaholics whose lives are off kilter? 
Brandon:  I’d say take an inventory of what you have and cut out the excess to get down to what you really enjoy and need — and then adjust your work accordingly.

CLH: Have you developed a more positive relationship with time, and if yes, in what way? 

Brandon: Once you throw it all away once – in this case to make a feature film – you get a better perspective on how you have been spending your time in the past — which helps you decide how you want to spend that time in the future.  but, unfortunately, the best teacher for developing a more positive relationship with time is time itself.

CLH:  You are currently on the film festival circuit, showing your movie, Toas. When can viewers enjoy your film in theaters?

Brandon: As soon as a distributor is willing to pick it up and pay my publicist to market it! 🙂 The film was a self-financed production. I guess those long hours slugging away at the clock paid off (just kidding!).

CLH: I appreciate your taking a moment to answer these questions.

Brandon: Thank you! 

*Heller and Ehrman dissolved in October 2008.

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