30 Under 30: Ales Kot, Writer

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photo by Clayton Cubitt

Today marks the release of our sister publication, The L Magazine‘s “30 Under 30″ feature and we thought we’d highlight a few of the people featured by running Q&As with them. One of these people is writer is Ales Kot. Born in the Czech Republic, Kot came to writing as a career as one usually does—after a particularly powerful acid trip. That was in 2008, and following a move to America (Los Angeles, first, for love, and then New York in 2013, also for love), Kot has built an incredibly impressive career as a writer for films, TV, and comics (he’s currently working on a television adaptation of his sci-fi work Zero and also helms Marvel’s excellent new comic series Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier). 

How old are you?

Tell me a little bit about the path that took you to where you are today—both in your career, and just, you know, in Brooklyn.
I mostly grew up in a rather industrial and poor part of Czech Republic. I decided to make money via writing the morning after I dropped four blotters of acid, met a ghost, saw and explored some other spectacular occurrences and realized I probably had a life worth writing about, worth writing from. I was contemplating suicide before, simply because it all came down to the question of is that all there is?, and the decidedly therapeutic application of various ideas such as transpersonal psychology and psychomagic paired up with a rather intense altering of perception (which perhaps at a deep enough level equals reality) helped me see that all there is is actually a rather huge thing I have not even started exploring properly. Never once I have contemplated suicide since, and that’s…seven years now? Just about, yeah. 2008.

I came to Los Angeles a year later because of love. I wrote and loved and eventually started releasing comics via Image Comics. I left Los Angeles, traveled, realized I came back to New York again and again, discovered more synchronicities pointing me in its direction, decided to move in mid-2013 because of love, but this time, at the core of things, it was about loving myself first so I could love the rest of the universe as well.

I met a pair of film producers who loved my work and proceeded to write a pilot script based on one of my comics, ZERO. Hollywood came calling, I signed with WME and 3 Arts. I’m writing more films and comics. I’m developing new art forms. I’m learning. I’m focusing on becoming the best creator (and human being) I can be while utilizing my privilege and resources to help those in need and our community in general, and I’m with the best woman I ever met in my life. Not that I believe in better/worse when it comes to people—I don’t, I’m pretty much a communist, our acts matter but our core value is the same—but when it comes to Fiona [Duncan, also an amazing writer], words stop being enough.

Did you always know what you wanted to do?
Not at all. I wanted to be a garbage truck driver, a paleontologist—and eventually I just wanted to have a life worth living. Writing every day became a need first and only later something I chose as my (currently) primary art. I am constantly evolving and my interest is in transcending limits, not in putting myself in boxes, so classifying myself as a “writer” would be… unnecessary at best. I write. I do many more things. What I do doesn’t encompass the entirety of who or what I am.

Has it ever been challenging to be taken seriously because of your age?
Yes. I chose to not pay attention. I also chose to use the rage I felt—at the concept of ageism as well as people who utilized it—in a positive, creative manner. You don’t believe in me? Tough shit. I believe in everyone, and that includes myself and you. Your limited perception is just another wood thrown into the fire of my creative mission, which can be described as positively contributing to personal and universal evolution. Utilizing that approach helped, and continues to help now.

What advice do you have for people who feel like they don’t have enough experience/aren’t old enough to go after their career dreams?
I don’t really give advice to other people because I’m not them, so I don’t want to assume I know anything about what they should do. I don’t. So what I do when asked for advice is I give the advice I wish I got or gave myself when wondering about the same questions. In this case, it would be: if you feel you don’t have enough experience, have a life. You are not just your job and/or your art. You are everything. So get to know everything. See the universe with awe and transcend walls in pursuit of raw experience. Don’t believe in anything unless it feels right. And don’t be afraid of the darkness, or be, but jump into it regardless when it feels right — it is chaos, and from chaos things are born, as well as they are born from order. Have a life that will encompass the paradox of existence where black and white are only two colors of a much wider color scale created by beings who can still only see a very limited amount of the electromagnetic spectrum. Widen your perception.

Thankfully, I listened to my advice, and I listen to it still.

As for not being old enough—well, again, have a life. Educate yourself. Everything is research. And don’t obey rules you don’t believe in.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
My imagination is a multiverse channel. I see myself everywhere and nowhere. But I am now.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


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