I am Benny Wills, a 30-something actor-turned-poet and co-creator of the "conscious comedy" YouTube channel, JoyCamp. You may recognize me as this...
Some more about me (based on peer assessment, internal exploration, and self-realization):
A conspiracy theorist
A radical extremist
A paranoid, ridiculous, delusional idealist
I'm a ludicrous anarchist
I'm a pessimistic communist
I'm a woo-woo, hippy-dippy, foil-hat enthusiast
I'm an airy-fairy truther
I'm a curly headed loser
I'm a tripped out, bleeding heart, cannabis abuser
I'm a pathetic, apathetic, free-loading non-voter
I'm an empathetic, sympathetic, tree-hugging peace promoter
I'm certified organic. :)
I'm hopelessly, endlessly...
I'm enigmatic, I'm aloof
I'm charismatic, I'm a goof
I'm annoying, I'm a nuisance
I'm privileged and I'm white
I'm an opinionated SOB who don't lean left or right
I'm anti-war, anti-government, anti-fear, anti-money
Pro-love, pro-biotic, pro-fun, pro-funny
I'm awake, I'm aware, I'm unshackled and I'm free
I am man, I am beautiful
I'm a YOU
And you're another ME
That's me performing at Anarchapulco earlier this year where I received multiple standing ovations during my 40-minute set. I say that not to brag, but because, well, it's awesome. It's important to acknowledge the good stuff in life. Also, wow, I never could have guessed that this is what I'd be doing - performing poetry around the world. Who'da thunk?
As I mentioned before, I'm the co-creator of JoyCamp.
We produce content intended to awaken the masses, nurture the awakening, and soothe the already woke. In early 2012 my compadre Kevin and I embarked on this joyful journey and later that year the world didn't end. Coincidence? We think not.
Here's a quote we like:
I was born in Hollywood, USA, to actor parents and started acting at the tender age of 7. Here's me on In Living Color in 1994.
Luckily my dad got me outta there before any sleezebags could get their pervy little hands on me. Thanks, Dad.
We moved far far away from La La Land to Mary-land when I was 10 and I didn't return to "the business" until I was 25. During that time away several life-changing events occurred. I lost my virginity, fell in love with the theater, and watched the twin towers collapse (to name a few). From 2000 - 2011 I appeared in over 50 plays. Notables include: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Endgame, A Streetcar Named Desire, Twelfth Night, and The Good Woman of Szechwan.
I loved acting. I loved being on stage and the thrill of taking audiences on a journey. I loved expressing myself through the lens of a character. I loved bringing words to life and telling stories. It was my passion, and I was destined for accolades and awards, red carpets and movie premieres. There was only one small problem... a little thing I like to call "9/11" happened.
I was a senior in high school on September 11th, and outside of the tragedy and shock of the moment, there was something about that day that just felt... weird. It was pre-YouTube back then so I couldn't sufficiently satisfy my itch, but I knew something was off about what had gone down that day (no pun intended). The "official story" just didn't add up. Those (three) buildings falling to the ground was... strange. Fast-forward to Fall 2004, my first semester at San Francisco State University. The sentiment of that political season was, "anyone but Bush," and while everyone around me was seemingly on the Kerry bandwagon I was perplexed by the fact that both candidates were "Skull and Bones" members. Out of the hundreds of millions of people in this country, we had to choose between two chuckleheads who were LITERALLY in the same club? What...? That didn't sit well with me either.
Anywho, shortly after Bush won, Kevin (who's been my friend for almost 15 years now), and I happened to come across a short 5-minute video about the Pentagon that posited the idea that no plane had actually hit the building. It was a mind-blower and EXACTLY what I had been waiting for. The scratch for my itch. A rabbit hole had presented itself and I plunged down it head first, full steem (pun intended) ahead. Movies like Loose Change and Zeitgeist came along further rocking my world. I discovered David Icke and he knocked my socks off too. I was in deep, fast, and by Fall 2005 I had fully committed myself to the pursuit of "truth."
And my life has been a wild ride ever since...
Problem was I didn't know what to do with what I was learning, comprehending, processing and understanding. I didn't just take the red pill, I took the whole bottle. I was getting in arguments and debates that didn't get anywhere. Fights with friends and family. I was baffled by people's indifference, and irritated by their resistance. I was too invested emotionally, so I wasn't communicating optimally. I knew I had to change my tactics.
Meanwhile, and thankfully, I always had these dudes to talk shit out with.
Tony and Kevin. We've been deconstructing this silly matrix together since day one. And what a gift that is. Definitely something I don't take for granted. I got to "wake up" with my two best friends. Lucky me.
The three of us have always been able to laugh at this stuff. A quality that ultimately led to the creation of...
Kevin and I moved to LA in 2009. We knew that we wanted to contribute in some way but had no idea how. We attended some 9/11 rallies, held signs, passed out DVDs... but it didn't feel authentic. For us. There's certainly a place for that, it just wasn't our thing. Then one day, for fun, we were inspired to make a short little video called, Conspiracy Theorist, PSA. We had a blast making it and we were thrilled with the result. And in that moment of watching it back we realized we were onto something. What this movement, or whatever you want to call it, was lacking was a sense of humor. And we could fill that void! Through our combined skill sets and backgrounds in performance, writing, and film production, we set out to create content that was thoughtful, funny, and well-produced. We could provide respite for those in need of an outlet, while simultaneously offering something shareable, humorous, and bite-size for your slumbering friends to enjoy. We had discovered our niche.
And the rest is history. We currently have over 100 videos and 18k subscribers. We receive messages almost daily from people around the world thanking us for our work.
Which brings me to my next point. The most rewarding aspect of JoyCamp by far has been the people. I consider the friends I've made and the allies I've assembled these last few years to be my greatest success. I have the best international community a boy could ask for.
Max Igan @maxigan
Carey Wedler and Luke Rudowski @lukewearechange
Liam Scheff (RIP) and Robert Scott Bell
Dan Dicks @pressfortruth
Kenny Palurintano @kennyskitchen
The whole Regeneration crew
And many many more...
So... what's next?
I'm riding the waves of change and stepping into a new role. I started writing poetry a few years ago and I've slowly been going more and more public with it. My set at Anarchapulco was entirely poetic and it served as a real activation point. The response from the crowd was better than I could have imagined and I'm now poised to accept and embrace this new role of traveling speaker/poet.
I'll be using JoyCamp as my platform to express this newfound talent, and, well... we'll see what happens. We'll also continue making videos (don't worry), as well as re-launching our podcast which had a 6-week trial run late last year.
Lastly, I have a confession.
I have massive student loan debt. A contractual illusion that taunts me every day of my life. It's an ongoing, ethereal annoyance that just won't go away. And I'm sick of it. I just turned 34 and my goal is to eradicate it completely by the time I'm 35.
If you're reading this and you can help me in any way, let me know!
I "owe" $63,000 and I want to crowdsource about half of that number, roughly $31,500, through various cryoto-currencies and Patreon donations. I'll then offer that amount back as a one-time only payment, and (hopefully) free myself from this nagging issue forever.
I'll admit, I was naive when I took out those loans, thinking I'd surely be able to pay them back in short order with all of the acting money bound to come my way and all. But like so many of you, I woke up from my dream, saw a world that needed my help, and walked away from the only pursuit I'd ever known.
Luckily, the time I invested and the skills I acquired throughout my acting career are coming in handy now in the most beautiful ways. Because performing poetry and speaking in front of large crowds is the perfect coalescence of all of it. Had I NOT gone to school and trained and done all those plays, I wouldn't have the tool set necessary to do what I'm doing now.
It's all happening... exactly right. :)
Follow me, re-steem and upvote this post. Fill me full of Steem... and I'll do the same for you. That's what we do here, right...?
Help me out if you can and let's keep fighting the good fight.
Looking forward to whatever's next...
Much love to all.