We all know that the business of life is more of an endurance sport than a sprint. At least, anyone who has collapsed onto the couch at the end of the day too tired to do anything besides stare at the television for an hour before going to bed knows it. When we spend so much energy just trying to get through the essentials of life how can we ever expect to accomplish anything? This is a dilemma that we all face, but it is especially true for an independent filmmaker whose main body of work provides no paycheck, keeps no house, and doesn't keep proper nine-to-five hours.
"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did": Newt Gingrich said it and even though he isn't strictly a filmmaker he did make a film called "Nine Days that Changed the World", so we'll give credit where it's due.
Ever wondered if you've got what it takes to make something of yourself? Here are 10 questions you should be asking yourself.
10: Do you have a dream?
Before you can do anything with your life you need to know what you want to get done. You can't go in every direction at once. Lets say that you do have a dream and (for instance) you want to direct films. Well done: you have the thing you need to be successful.
9: Are you all talk?
Ok, so you know that you want to direct films. In fact, EVERYBODY knows you want to direct films because you've told them this Every. Chance. You. Get. But is that all you ever do? Talk about it? Maybe you have a day-job to pay the bills, that's fine, but are you also taking classes or doing projects on your own? Having a dream is nice but no one really wants to hear you talk about your dreams.
8: How do you introduce yourself?
Here in America we identify ourselves by our jobs. For example, if I wanted to tell you about myself in ten words or less I might say: "Hi, I'm Gwydhar, I'm a blogger." It's short. It's sweet. It tells you something about me; but if my dream is to direct films then every time I introduce myself as a blogger I'm telling you the wrong thing about me.
7: Do you consider it 'work'?
Actually "work" is a misleading word that has different meanings for everyone: I call everything work even when I do it for fun. For example "I'm working on making ice cream right now". What you should be asking yourself is: is this something that I put energy into or is this something that is taking energy out of me. Whatever your dream is; if you can do it for hours and feel great afterwards then you're doing it right. If you do it for hours and afterwards just want to stare at the television and eat chips off your chest you're doing it wrong.
6: Are you working at it?
If you can't answer Question #7 because you've never worked on your dream for hours on end then you're not working at it. You should start. Anytime would be good.
5: Are you getting paid for it?
The difference between an amateur and a professional is that one does it for the love of it (that's what 'amateur' means) and one gets paid for it. Really, though, this question should be "Are you getting compensated for it?" because not all dreams can pay off in cold hard cash *koff* filmmaking *ahem*. Making money is important, but so is making contacts, gaining recognition, and building up credit. When someone else recognizes you as "Hey- you're a filmmaker" then you have been paid.
4: Does anyone know what you do?
Maybe you don't toot your own horn (Question #9 was a breeze for you, wasn't it?). Well ask yourself this: does anyone know you have this dream? If you're spending hours making brilliant and complex cinematic masterpieces in your basement but everyone around you is worried that you're stockpiling nuclear warheads you might want to clear that up. No one can do it alone. No one can help you if you don't tell them what you're trying to do.
3: Are you working at it?
Just like the Tyrannosaurus in "Jurassic Park" the Magical Opportunity Fairy can't see stationary objects. Opportunities aren't like trick-or-treaters coming door to door, they're more like the scummy teenagers trying to steal your pumpkins and it doesn't hurt to have a good running start when trying to catch them. You should start. Anytime would be good.
2: Why you?
Everyone else has dreams; what makes you so special? Well, everyone else has feet, too, but not everyone can finish a marathon. You have to know that you are different from everyone else. Embrace it. Believe it. Make it so.
1: Why are you reading this in the first place?
If you don't think you have what it takes then you're right, and if you DO think you have what it takes to be successful then it's time to stop thinking about it and start doing whatever it is you do. Anytime would be good.