Jun 5, 2007

Film Student?

You can't get this far into a university degree, let alone a film degree, and not wonder what you're going to do after or to an extent, if it has even been worth it. I feel like I've been questioned so many times, "so what are you going to do when you graduate" and unsure all I can ever say is, "find a job?".
The decision to be here was an easy one. To be honest I don't remember thinking about it all that hard, and as things had been up to then it's easy to say that I was just moving with the current. I looked up a few schools, decided Regina was a decent choice and after a few months and papers signed I was sitting in class. The reality of what I'm doing has only really sunk in within the last year. It's tough to be carefree and lost in the experience as you start planning for completion; worrying about taking the first real unknown step on your own. 

All of this has left me questioning things more than ever, and as I try to put everything into perspective and context I'm wondering if the dream career in film is really possible (or more respectively, a job that I'm not going to hate).

Yes, these are largely natural growing pains. Everyone must go through this, right? But, as
I've understood that I can be overly nostalgic about things, I hate to think about losing this part of my life. I don't want to be trapped for anything; it's half the appeal of the filmmaker life style, the variety and project to project jobs (see the similarity to being in university?). 

Being a film student, especially here, has been full of contradictions and confusion.  Like a university experience should be though, it's also been full of self discovery. I've learned a lot, but it's cultural in nature and doesn't feel like hard proof of what I'm capable of. I've developed a nice portfolio of work, although much of what I pride myself on was created outside of school. If I could package my whole experience, I'm not sure it would point to anything specific and at best just asserts, "Yes, I like making movies". Is that really enough?

These are a large collection of thoughts that sit in the back of my mind, and generally I just let them wash over. In so many ways things just find their place . . . at least it seems to be the thing we all tell ourselves. Overall, I guess I break it down to one thing: to be a film student is to have a legitimate and acceptable badge to accompany the work I do and support the reason why I am where I am.

My fear is not so much about taking a step into the unknown, but it's about being the guy who is struggling to make it (the university struggle is more socially acceptable). I decided at 12 this is what I wanted, and I can't think of anything that could make me turn that desire off. Sometimes I think
I'm setting myself up for disappointment, and at the same time, when a project goes well or a festival accepts it's the greatest high. It seems like more of a risk than other degrees perhaps, and maybe the reward or potential could be greater because of it, but really, no answer will satisfy my own curiosity or convince me that doing all this wasn't the right choice to begin with. So am i scared? I guess enough to just keep at it. It's the best conclusion I can come to, and with that, maybe it's just enough to bring out my optimism and believe things can only get better.

I doubt this will be the last post like this as my university days fade, but hopefully you can relate in some way, and maybe support or deny my thoughts on this slow transition.

I made the photo collage below last year as a simple gift to give to friends who were finishing/or very near finishing their degrees. It shows the various locations of the university, and as I mentioned to those I gave it to, it will probably gain a lot more meaning years down the road as things change and you want to remember what it looked like then. For those of you who haven't been it's probably just a bunch of buildings, but I can attest from my time here, that this place has started to symbolize a whole lot more.

Photo Collage: University of Regina (Spring 2006)


Dave G said...

Oh God man, not to trivialize your feelings on this understandably concerning subject, but you really do have nothing to fear. You'll find, at the very least, a J-O-B with even a bit of effort and searching once your degree is done Luke. Let's add up all the factors here:

1) You have a wide ranging previous job history, including both cognitive-side customer service and physical-side industrial labor.

2) You're in the top ten percentile of your fellow graduates in terms of talent and portfolio.

3) Previous films of yours have had considerable success at festivals and contests, etc.

4) You're not Tyler (haha just kidding Tyler....hehe :S)

5) You have extensive skills and experience in every field of film, not just one facet, but editing, writing, computer skills, camera work, set labor, etc.

6) A degree is a degree

There are others, but my point is, even if you don't find a fully funded, fully empowered creative auteur position right at age 24, you're still a set above all the other peers and candidates out there for all the other jobs that ARE out there, allowing you to gain real world industry experience and money in the meantime. The industry is growing both locally and abroad, North America is becoming more of a service economy with entertainment being in increasing demand, and you have realistic expectations and trustworthy instincts. You have nothing to fear.

Editing Luke said...

geez dave, people are going to think i paid you to say that, haha, but i appreciate the reasoning. and i guess it's not so much doubting myself as it's doubting the world outside this bubble i've been living in. after school i always pictured moving to a bigger city, and having a real place of my own (goodbye residence life). thinking about all the changes that will happen so rapidly after grad gets me stressed out. but as i touched on in my blog, and as you re-asserted in your comment, it's pointless to get down about this stuff (especially without being there yet). thanks for making me feel better about it dave.

Anonymous said...

Hey Luke, I enjoyed your U of R photo collage. I am also enjoying your bloggins'.



Anonymous said...

Hey Luke, I'm a little late reading this, but here's my 2 cents having gone through art school and the trouble of what the hell to do with a degree in visual arts.

School, for me, taught me how to figure things out, made me love to learn, and showed me that I can make my own path in anything I choose.

What I finally ended up doing for money (web design) was not what I went to school for (photography), but design grew naturally out of photography and the skills I learned in school I still use everyday, but often in different ways than I was taught. School is simply the beginning and it sets you on a path that is completely undefined until it's done.

A creative career is something that evolves as you learn more about the industries and about yourself. I learned 10 times more in jobs after school than I did in the same amount of time in school.

My best advice is to recognize great opportunities, take lots of risks right out of school (it gets harder the further out you get) and if you don't know how to do something in the job description, explain to them how much you will enjoy learning something new.

Also, as someone who has hired other people to work for me, I can tell you that what I looked for was not a skill set, but a good personality match with the team and a demonstrated ability to learn and take initiative. Have a huge amount of confidence in what you can bring to the job, whatever it is, and you'll succeed.

Saskboy said...

Looks like you've got a cool blog here. Interested in adding it to the SaskBlogs Aggregator? http://saskblogs.catprint.ca/ give Lance an email and he can add your blog to the site.