Pretending to Succeed (sorta rant, but need advice)

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Pretending to Succeed (sorta rant, but need advice)

Post by Guest on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:19 pm

So I'm gonna not talk about my usual topic ("oh woe is me") and try to get some advice on something else I've been dealing with lately.

Ever since April, my burgeoning film career basically hit the skids when I was fired from my job without warning. One day I was a 19 year old editor at a production company, editing commercials and promotional materials for a living and making more money than anyone else my age that I knew, the next i was abruptly told to come into the office and told to get out. They were not rude about this, they were just as nice as ever, they simply didn't feel like paying me anymore and I was gone.

So basically the year that was supposed to be my "official" beginning to my success as a filmmaker fell to shit. Since then, I have lived off of the odd video gigs I have gotten (terrible pay but no other choice) and student loans. I'm currently close to failing all of my classes in film school, I've had two suicide attempts since then, and still do not have a full time job.

Only my parents know about all of that (except the suicide attempts, being religious, they absolutely despise those who try it and hate Robin Williams for it). The rest of the year has consisted of the three of us pretending that things are still going great for me. The only part everyone knows is that I was fired. What they don't know is that I am in larger and larger amounts of debt thanks to not getting a single job offer (applications are up to forty-six at last count, most of them minimum wage). They're also the only ones who know how close I am to being kicked out of school (despite how hard i study, my best grade is a 76).

Regardless, I'm sick and tired of this year being absolute shit for me and one bad thing after the other happening. I feel like Job in the bible, who got punished on a freaking bet.

Career wise, I don't know what to do from here. I am taking every gig I can get (not much), and still nothing else happens, and I am usually never contacted again by that client. Professionally, I am up against a brick wall, and there's literally nowhere else I can go. So I have no idea what to do. I'm basically lost and screwed over. And to think that for a glittering gleaming moment, I actually thought I was somebody.

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Re: Pretending to Succeed (sorta rant, but need advice)

Post by Enail on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:59 pm

I have a friend whose first short film was a huge success (he's more of a fine arts person who does some film than a film-maker, though), festivals and galleries, even mentioned in textbooks. And then he stalled. Didn't put together another film for ages, any art he did was kind of unenthusiastic and not so well received. It's a lot of pressure being a success young.

And it sounds like that's basically where you are right now. You leaped ahead of your peers and expected that meant your career would keep going at that pace, and now you feel like that was a fluke and you're not sure what the hell to do. What helped for my friend was changing tracks for a while, stepping sideways into a different field, and then coming back to art more gradually, but something totally different might work for you. Life is rarely a straight trajectory upwards, there are always ups and downs, and sometimes you have to get to things through roundabout routes.

You want to work in a creative field. Let's be honest, that means you're going to struggle. You're going to be short on money sometimes, you're going to go through phases where you apply for a million gigs and get nothing. Talented people go through that, hardworking people go through that, total frickin' geniuses go through it, it's just a basic part of the industry. So if you want to succeed, you're going to have to find a way to handle failure without giving up on yourself. I know it's brutal on the self-esteem. But it's something you need to expect no matter how amazing you are.

In terms of jobs/money, it sounds like you're doing the right things. It is great that you are managing to get some gigs - even if they're rare and not enough to live on, it'll be good for your future employability. It never hurts to get someone else to take a glance at your resume and see if you can improve anything there (your school's career center maybe), and you might check to see if there are any grants or bursaries you can apply for. I wish I had something better to offer. I'm sure other people will have better practical suggestions.  But remember times are tough and jobs are hard to come by, and try not to despair or beat yourself up for struggling or not being where you want to be professionally.
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