After leaving film school this simple phrase is most likely uttered by all aspiring filmmakers - "I'm looking for film work". As expected, it's easier said than done. Finding a job isn't exactly the problem, but finding quality, inspired, and motivating work (in any field) is a constant challenge.
Now to be clear, I feel quite lucky. My first job out of university last year was with Stream Media Inc. I'm currently still working as an editor and videographer with them on a contract basis, but since things have slowed down since the beginning of the year, that work alone doesn't pay the bills anymore. For a more steady income I took a job as a creative copywriter last month for a national wedding website. The job, while not immediately related, may be more valuable than expected as it looks like I'll be in charge of creating original video content for the site in the coming weeks - still it's not exactly what I saw myself doing. And throughout all this, I've maintained doing small video projects for extra income - promo vids, wedding vids, or even submitting my personal work to contests and festivals. So what's the problem you ask?
Well, it's not so much a problem as it's my post-uni coming of age. The idea of being in a single job for decades scares me to death - and at the same time, those lucrative film jobs aren't falling in my lap like I might of expected they would back in first year. While there's plenty of ways to infuse my creativity into the business world for the sake of making money, what I long for is the chance to do it in the creative world for the sake of making an impact. I'm not even referring to big budget Hollywood films or TV, I just mean something that I can feel passionate about.
Part of the challenge is my location, and on that front I feel like I've exceeded my expectations. The fact that I've been making money doing things that are related at all still surprises me. A bigger city is definitely part of the plan though - Calgary or Vancouver most likely. At the same time I wonder about things taking off with my current jobs. It's not out of the question that I'd stay in little Medicine Hat, Alberta if it meant making decent money and still being able to pursue my personal projects.
It's not an easy road I'm on, but I guess I was always kidding myself when I thought it might be. These challenges and experiences are clearly worth something, and at least I can hope that they'll push me to try new things. As all my former jobs have done, there's plenty of stories to draw on for material. I guess it's about finding ways to connect your own reality to what it is you want to ultimately achieve - pinpointing how the things you do now will help you out later.
Maybe that's the answer. Every student eventually has to face the reality that parts of work are simply about completing tasks, and others are about personal satisfaction. There's clearly a balance of positives and negatives to be worked out. For me, I'll just continue to chalk everything up to experience and hope that my own persistence leads me to new challenges, creative outlets, and more fulfilling opportunities. I think no matter what place I end up in, I'll always be telling myself that I'm still looking for more film work.