2016 was quite interesting indeed. A lot of personal evolution. A lot of advancing skillsets. And a lot of worrying too much about the future.
Entering my twelfth year in the same job position, I started this year out filled with dread. Twelve years is a long time to be working at a place that doesn’t move you. It was a cul-de-sac as Seth Godin would put it. A place, in reference to time and space, where all dreams seem to die. Of course I still had my filmmaking which I was more than aggressively searching to make something out of. But even that felt way out of arms reach.
I’m not interested in the traditional sense of filmmaking as dictated by the Hollywood system–the old-time gatekeepers of a now defunct distribution system–thanks to the reach of the internet. The meritocracy of this digital playground made it easier for me to get my work out, without the middle-men. People, in the time it takes to click on their mouse, can decide whether I’m interesting enough to follow and hopefully down the line, support, by means of some sort of financial compensation. The only hurdle then would be building an audience. And that’s where the skill comes into play.
Building an audience, the size at which I can support myself, is probably the hardest thing for me right now. I’m not a marketing expert, but I know a lot about it. I’m not a business expert, but I’ve built several in my time. The amount of cogs needed to do the things I do is massive. That, coupled with my rebellious tendency to walk away from something and choke it out gets in the way as well. With so many different mindsets and skills to learn, it’s quite surprising I haven’t just given up at this point. All skills can be learned in time in my opinion. I just don’t believe I have much time left. You can call it paranoia, and it more than likely is, but I equate it to surviving the day in a zombie apocalypse. (“Zombie Apocalypse” is obviously a metaphor for something, I just haven’t pin-pointed what exactly that is yet.)
My road trip with two of my friends opened up a sense of adventure in me. Walking the beaches of Oregon during a rain storm, visiting a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere, hiking through a hillside of thorny brush to get to broken-up land masses on the beaches with the fear of being drowned in one of them, was quite exhilarating. I felt like Bella when she just awoke from Edward turning her into a sparkly vampire.
Yeah, that’s the best comparison I can make right now. It’s also ironic that that was the movie we were watching when rained-in during the storm watch.
My trip to Seattle was just fun. I don’t get out very much. But being able to fulfill a fantasy of pretending to be Wesley Snipes in Dropzone was cool. Don’t ask why. That and Passenger 57 were my favorite movies growing up aside from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.
In April I was let go from my job. My feelings were in complete conflict.
At one end of the spectrum I couldn’t have been happier and at the other end all the familiarity I’ve had for over a decade was gone. It threw me off big time, but I was determined to utilize the time and whatever money I had left in the bank to live off of to make something out of freelancing. I’m still trying to figure out how to make something out of my current skillset.
Even with all the uncertainty I have now, I can still reaffirm my position on jobs. I’m definitely not the type to want a job. As well as being a creative, I’m a business guy; and I love building businesses (building is also creating). And I would much rather struggle and find ways to make money then to be complacent working for someone else. It’s just not in my DNA to be someone’s Yes Man.
The biggest change I’ve adopted this year: I’m not meticulously planning out my life, or for that matter, even setting goals.
I know what I want, and I have experienced more breakthroughs by working on the things directly in front of me than worrying about not being on target to reach my very specific goal. When I reflect back on previous work, then I’ll notice what things I’ve actually accomplished and what things have come along from sheer serendipity and being open to discovery. I’ll equate it to having an active road map, you have to know how to navigate when shit happens. There’s more than one way to get where I’m going.
So 2017… come at me Bro.