Did you ever ask yourself how to get to the (creative) spot you want to reach but you could not find a route to this spot? I have asked myself the same question over and over again for the last 20 years. Here is something I´ve learnt so far:
I grew up with the idea, that – one day – I would do something great, something big. I always knew, that I wanted to do stuff. So I did what I thought would be necessary to do big stuff: Following the well known route everyone with dreams and ambitions would follow, which was: Going to school, being a good student (since I was 10 years old, I’ve always been the best pupil, teachers who came to our class to act as a substitute for a sick teacher always asked where this “Brito boy” was sitting). I went to university, because I thought, that it is something you have to do to be successfull. I got my grade and became a freelancer. I thought, that if I worked hard enough, success would come by itself. And success meant for me: Either make a living as a painter or – daring even more – a filmmaker.
Maybe I should say, that been born and raised in middle Europe, where the filmbusiness practically is non-existent, with not a single connection to anybody in the filmbusiness abroad nor having rich parents – for me, as a kid – making films was as realistic as buying a ticket to the moon with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the pilot.
But still, I thought it would be enough to be an A-class student and someday, somehow, I would reach my beforementioned goal(s).
Guess what, I was wrong. That’s not the way it works.
Very often, there are no routes you can follow which guarantee you to get to where you want to get to. Ok, maybe if you where born in or near L.A. and have rich parents who would pay film school and you would grow into an existing business, like working your way up from a set runner, to a production assistant, to a first AD or camera man and then, after 15 years, get hired as a director.
If this road exists in your region, you are a lucky person and I’d really recommend going that route. You will meet a ton of people, you will make friends and allies and learn a lot from them. 15 years is not a long time, if you want to reach your dreams.
But in most cases you won’t have these life circumstances.
So you would have to make a step back, analyze your situation. Think about the steps you need to take to get where you want to get to and …build your own road. Because – as stupid as it might sound – if a road is not presented, then there is no given road you can follow. You can either leave the place you live in and try in another place or you build your own road:
- You look for people who are like you, who want to create stuff.
- You build a workflow that works for you, considering your talents and your ressources and
- you build the infrastructure that you need to get the things done you want to do.
I do not want to lie to you. This is a hard road. It takes a ton of energy, a lot of planning ahead, a huge amount of self discipline, it will cost you nearly all of your friends (because you won´t have very much of a social life any more), and maybe, even a bit of your health. And, even then, you might fail. But if you got the feeling, that you got no other choice, than following your dreams, than I think, it is worth it.
Because: If you don’t try, just because you are afraid to fail, you have already failed.
By the way: The credit for
If a road is not presented, you build one.
goes to one of the screenwriting teachers of Guillermo del Toro. I forgot his name, but I´ll update if I find the name again. 🙂
That’s a terrific article! Thanks for putting it in perspective John- 15 years really isn’t that long when you’re striving to reach a dream!
yes, I think so, too. 15 years is not that long compared to a today’s lifetime 🙂
This is so very true, so very hard and so satisfyingly worth it in the end, even if you never get to the end, at least you’ve tread your own path getting to that point 🙂
I think so, too, Megan. You only have this live, so you have to make it count -or a least try :)))
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