Gilbert author and filmmaker Beau Yotty sees himself as a cowboy.
That’s not to say he dons a hat, stuffs a pistol in the holster and rides a horse over town, or even lives in a ranch.
The “cowboy” is a concept in Yotty’s mind. “Cowboys are a set of principles more than anything else, nowadays,” he said.
The principals acted out on screen through characters portrayed by Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Silvester Stallone inspired him and his creative work. He believes they provide the ideal even to those living in the 21st Century.
Yotty enshrines these morals in his new book, “Modern Cowboy: Quotes and Poems of Life and Love in Today’s World,” an 80-paged, hard cover collection of poetry with photos.
In it, there’s love, romance, grit and determination.
“I wanted to put down something like a code – a cowboy code for modern men and women,” he said.
“Chivalry is not dead. I’m a gentleman and I don’t know if I’m a dying breed,” he added. “A lot of people, they don’t see those little things like opening the door for someone, or your word is your bond: they don’t see those things. For me, those are pretty common. They seem to be gone.”
Yotty wrote the book in poetry form because he thought the attention span might not be available for a self-help book with a lot of prose. He wanted to write something in point form, which may be flipped through or easily stopped and resumed later.
“It’s my thoughts on what the world needs more of. Love can exist, emotions are real, if you’re a man it doesn’t mean you’re less manly, you can be a gentleman and be nice and still make it in the world and at least have a positive impact on someone,” he said.
This is Yotty’s first crack at writing a whole book on poetry, although he has written some while in college. Also, when he writes screenplays, he includes characters that quote poetry.
Is he a natural poet?
“I don’t even know. It was easy for me; I didn’t have any problem writing any of it. So, I guess you could say that,” he said.
His goal is for the reader to have an emotional reaction to one of the passages.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” he admits. “It’s kind of like a diary that’s out there because I actually lived all this stuff. My real emotions and thoughts are in those poems, but I’m happy it’s out there, now that I did it. It takes some guts.”
Chivalry can’t be dead, and people are interested in the concept, if only judging by book sales during his public events.
A recent such event at Half Price Books in Mesa was successful and Yotty sold all the 40 books that he took along.
Yotty’s other passion is filmmaking through his company, Lone Gunslinger Pictures. “For the Reward,” is the latest movie, due to be released soon, for which he wrote the screenplay, acted and directed the 46-member cast.
It features a cattle baron who runs a town corruptly. The plot came to him after he created the two main characters – male and female bounty hunters – and developed their personalities, codes and intentions,
“I created the two bounty hunters, and I dropped them in a situation. With the main characters on paper, and knowing how they would react, the plot unfolded as the writing took place,” he said, adding, “I didn’t have a specific ending in mind at the outset. I was taken on the adventure as I wrote.”
The film was shot mainly at the Gammon’s Gulch movie set in Benson, with a few scenes made in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon.
With the closing of Old Tucson Studios, the ghost town of Gammon’s Gulch is a newer venue in Arizona where Old West scenes may be filmed. The dusty desert town has a barbershop, saloon, Sheriff’s jail, an old mine shaft and a wash that runs through.
“It feels like you’ve dropped back in the Old West,” Yotty said, “They have added electricity for filming, but for the most part, everything is of the time and of the era.”
When he’s not writing or filming, Yotty works in commercial acting through an agency in Scottsdale. The most high-profile assignment he has done so far is the national advertisement for Sunny Delight soft drinks.
Yotty moved to Gilbert from Miami, Florida about five years ago to join family. His great- grandfather had a house and property in the area.
“I really liked the small-town feel Gilbert had when I moved from Florida. I especially identified with, and enjoyed the American cowboy history, and the proximity to historical sites that made the West,” he said.
Nowadays, that small-town flavor is fast disappearing: his home used to be surrounded by cornfields, but are now replaced by buildings.
“I think it still has Western traditions. Even in the five years that I’ve been here, it’s kind of lost that small town feel,” he said.
Beau Yotty will visit local resort communities through summer, and the Superstition Mountain Museum in the fall to present his new book. He is also participating in an annual lecture series that features experts on the lore and history of the Superstition Mountains region, in January.