No idea what I’m doing with my life. Pretty typical statement coming from someone my age or any age really. It’s also an overstatement. I have ideas and I definitely know what I’m not going to do with my life. I’m not going to get addicted to meth or heroine and start prostituting myself out or pick-pocketing. I’m not making real judgement on those life choices for other people, all I’m saying is that they are not for me at this time. That said, I’m pretty against stealing. Stealing is bad. I digress.
My mother always said, “fake it ’til you make it” thus I have been projecting forward an essence of success and comfort with being some sort of an artist. I’ve even been identifying myself as a “filmmaker” when people ask what I do. This can be a challenging sequence of syllables to say as I don’t really direct films which is what people associate with that identification. However that is what I am and what I do. Sometimes I produce for people, making sure the film gets made. This is a publicly unappreciated job but probably where I excel the most. Sometimes I edit the video. Another unappreciated job. Sometimes I shoot and sometimes I direct. Sometimes I write. Then there are times I do it all. It’s what I have been doing with my life in one form or another since 1999. It’s what I love. It’s what I study. It’s just what I do. I do film stuff. I am a filmmaker.
My life is in transition at the moment. I got laid off from a job working at a documentary production company which was heart breaking. Getting the boot from a job feels a million times worse than any romantic break up. Personal break ups are bad but mostly I can find a zen moment when I realize that we were best without each other. I try to look at that relationship as a stepping stone to the next better relationship. Professional break ups feel gut-wrenching in that I am currently questioning my professional self-worth. I’m hoping to find that balanced moment where I can see it as a path to a better job. I’m just not there yet. However I do think this extreme doubt and questioning is cathartic. Maybe everyone should do this? Though I don’t wish this upon anyone.
Another obvious statement – job hunting is awful. It’s all consuming. I spend at least 4-8 hours a day, 6 days a week, looking for job postings, researching companies, tailoring my resume, writing cover letters, submitting applications and following up with applications. I also spend time staying in touch with professional contacts that may help me find my next job or gig. My thought process is that if I keep this up something has to pan out. I’ve been told that for every 100 applications one job offer will happen. Hopefully that’s some what true. I’ve disciplined myself to stick to a strict schedule that even includes time for exercise to make sure I have regular amounts of endorphins. I’m averaging about 5-10 applications a week. I’m hoping that in the next 10 weeks I can find a more permanent job that I enjoy.
I have been fortunate enough to keep freelancing through this unemployment adventure. I’m still feeling like a new kid in the Bay Area. I don’t have a lot of contacts with other filmmakers and thus I’m having to take jobs well below my rate in order to make relationships. I was hoping that moving from Texas to California would give me a professional clean slate. In my earlier 20’s I made a lot of mistakes and had many miscommunications professionally. I’m still haunted by some of my earlier flubs. I actually have nightmares about it. At what point do you out grow your earlier oversights? My brother doesn’t believe in mistakes. He believes that all choices that were made are opportunities that you learn from. I subscribe to his book of thought though it’s hard. I’m hoping to take all of my past experiences with film freelancing into a successful future. I’m dedicated to making it work. Need a video made? I’m available for hire?
I recently signed up with a temping agency. I figure why not. I’m thinking of it like office freelancing. I’m hoping that it will help supplement my lifestyle until I find other, better, work. Plus it’s temporary. It’s still new. I’ll try to write about it more later.
All of this unemployment, freelancing and general Bay Area survival has resulted in the decay of personal projects including my Yarn Graffiti Documentary. I have to spend all my waking energy finding ways to make means to continue to live in San Francisco and figure out what I’m doing with my life. My rent is cheap for my area but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a struggle to maintain. Food and bills are also very real. I’ve heard from many people who live in the Bay Area that they have to work several jobs just to keep living here and because of that they hardly have time to enjoy the actual city. It seems like a cruel joke – living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and not being able to have time to enjoy it. Moving forward I hope to get full time work in filmmaking that allows me time to enjoy the Bay Area and also time to work on my feature film.
Wish me luck.