Here’s my list of ten reasons. Take what it with your own shaker of salt and develop your own flight plan. (See Part 1 for Intro and reason I came up with this list). Feel free to send Joy your reasons.
- Band of brothers and sisters.
When you pursue a career in film, especially Hollywood, you’re joining a special group of non-conformists. This group scoffs at the question, “What’s the use of a liberal arts education?” You may have majored in art, philosophy, physics, film, or digital communications but you have a passion to work with filmed words and images that communicate with an audience. Respect yourself and pursue your choice with everything you’ve got.
- Chance to make a difference – leave an imprint
This reason is not a flight of fancy. Your work influences viewers, be they students watching a training film, an art audience changed by your documentary, a family kicking back to your comedy, or a dorm full of students hooked on your web series. Not every project will be something you want to show Mom or keep on your resume, but it will influence others and increase your skills and contacts.
- Meet a variety of people
You will interact with all sorts of sane and crazy people in the film biz. They will drive you nuts, enrage you, enrich your life, help you, and allow you to help others. Value them and know when to say, “Thanks” and “Farewell.”
- Encounter a variety of subjects
Whether you work on scripted shows (e.g. dramas and comedies) or non-scripted shows (e.g. documentaries, reality shows, or instructional videos) you’ll learn a range of subjects you’ve never imagined. You may drop these topics or follow them once the show wraps, but they will widen your horizon either way.
Being a filmmaker will land in places you’ve haven’t dreamed – that you could have possibly put on your flight plan. One day you’ll be in the doldrums, contemplating a career change, the next you’ll be flying across the country on that series you just landed: Turbulence and unexpected ports are part of the profession.
- Hold the heart of the film in your hands
If you become an editor, as you view shots and decide which frames go in out and out, you will hold the film’s heart (characters and) and heartbeat (rhythm and pace) in your hands. You will play a vital role in shaping the show’s story and message and the director or client’s vision. It will be your joy, honor, and responsibility to sculpt the best show possible from the footage, no matter how big or small the project is.
- Work with cutting edge tools
We’re in the midst of a digital revolution in which the technological territory morphs annually. This is converging work and changing relationships between preproduction, production, and postproduction. As a filmmaker, you will be a part of this change and get to use these incredible tools – editing systems, state-of-the-art plug-ins, third party software, etc. While they’re a lot to keep up with, the gratification from creating on them – and keeping employed – are worth it.
- Work a little, work a lot
You career will not always be in your control – you may work mondo hours and be desperate for time off, then find yourself with too much time off and be desperate for work. During your downtimes, lunch with colleagues and new folks, go to industry events, and polish your skills along with your resume. Time off is part of film life and brings its own set of challenges and rewards, just like the work itself. During the 90-hour weeks with no days off, remember to breathe, sleep, de-stress, kiss your beloved, and that you’re on a (hopefully) worthwhile project.
- Special moments that no other industry brings
Filmmaking is both magical and mundane: One moment you’re picking up the producer’s tuxedo, the next you’re at the Academy Awards. You’ll experience times of predictable boredom and the opposite on the job. True story: One day a producer lucky at the horse races handed $100 bills to everyone in the cutting room. The week before, on the same show, director and producers alike worked an unexpected all-nighter to re-cut the show from frame 1 because the editor – not me – turned in a subpar cut.
- You’re your own agent – even if you have an agent
You will always be your own pilot: forever networking, re-inventing, honing your skills, self promoting, and sussing out the next job. There is no one path to success in the film industry. That wedding video you edited may lead to your first feature, that feature may go nowhere and send you on unemployment, but you have to pursue every lead, follow every highway and byway, and make your own way.