I rarely use this to just blog. I’m going to just blog now, so you can all just ignore this if it’s not to your liking.
Warning. Contents under pressure.
Good stuff, and I couldn’t agree more.
Forgive the navel-gazing ramble… this question is basic to anybody who works in the popular arts.
Do you want to be rich and famous, or do you want to do the work?
At the beginning of your career, many (myself included) answer this question the same way: obviously I’m in it for the work. I love making films whether it makes me rich and famous or not. “I’d be happy if they let me ______” fill in the blank with the humiliating entertainment industry job of your choice.
But then one day you wake up and you’re not in your twenties anymore, or not in your thirties anymore, and this starry-eyed bluff gets called.
Did you mean it? Did I mean it?
I still get asked the question “what is your dream job? What do you wish you were doing?” As you might imagine, it’s not great to be asked “what do you want to do when you grow up?” when you’re almost fifty.
And my answer, for years, has been “I have my dream job. My only wish is to get paid more for doing it.”
I am a freelance filmmaker who works in a variety of areas of production and post production. I wake up every morning and make movies, one way or another. Usually without what anyone could call a “boss”. Better still, I generally get to choose who I work with, and most often work with good friends and colleagues I respect.
The downside: as I work mostly on independent projects, none of this pays particularly well.
So… what is success? In 2013 I produced and edited a feature film. I directed a web series. I co-directed a couple of music videos. I shot a bunch of videos for a political media company, including an ad campaign that got a man elected to Mayor of Detroit. I sang and did some comedy in my wife’s burlesque variety show. I got elected to the Board of Directors of a charity organization that means a lot to me (A IS FOR.) I managed the roll-out of my father’s books on Amazon.com. Standing back, that sounds like a pretty good year.
On the other end of the scale: sometimes I paid the rent late, and sometimes I had to do math when I went grocery shopping. At forty-eight, that gets really, really, literally “old”.
And yet… “Success”, as a concept, doesn’t trouble me much. Should it? The bluff is called, and as long as the work keeps coming in, I’m satisfied.