November 6, 2013

Want to Quit Your Day Job and Pursue Your Dream? Comedian Jason Horton Tells You How

Jason HortonHere at No Film School we're massive fans of the folks at Film Courage, and we share their fantastic videos frequently. Recently, our fearless leader, Ryan Koo, sat down with them to discuss various filmmaking tools and how he grew this site into what it is today. This time we've got comedian Jason Horton, who bills himself as the "world's only white male comedian." In the video, Horton talks about a subject that many of us have on our minds these days: how to quit your day job and make a living doing what you love. Check out what he had to say below.

For a little bit of background on Jason Horton, he's a comedian and actor who has managed to turn internet sketch comedy on YouTube into a bona fide living. Through creating an absolutely absurd amount of content (seriously, check out his YouTube channel), Horton has been able to define his comedic niche and carve out a solid audience for himself, therefore making it possible to monetize his comedy through the interwebs. Here's one of his funnier videos, "Phone Sex Girlfriend" which, needless to say, is definitely a bit on the NSFW side of things.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get to the nitty-gritty of quitting your day job and making a career for yourself doing what you love. Here's the Film Courage interview with Jason Horton:

Horton drops some absolute truth bombs in this interview, the most pertinent of which is the fact that making a living like this is really hard work. And it's not just a matter of working hard, it's a matter of working harder than all of the other people who are trying to do the exact same thing that you are. As he points out in the video, there certainly isn't a shortage of creative people looking to monetize their creative skill sets, and if you're not out working them, then chances are that they will be the ones getting the breaks and getting paid.

It's also a matter of doing top-notch work, Horton says. If you're constantly producing work that's legitimately good, and you're putting this work out into the world where it can be seen, then people will notice you. It may take time, and it may require that you stick with your day job for a little while longer while you build your portfolio to the point where it's ready to get you some freelance jobs. Ultimately though, the combination of working extremely hard and producing quality content will pay off.

His last tip, and one that I have personally taken to heart, is that you should do something related to your craft every single day. It's far too easy to become complacent and put your passions on the back-burner when you have a soul-sucking 9-5 job. Even if all you've got time for is to read a few NFS articles or watch some tutorials about filmmaking (or even just watch films that you find creatively inspiring), you're still engaging your brain in your creative passions, and you're keeping yourself on the right track for one day making a living doing what you love.

What do you guys think? Have any of you quit your day jobs and successfully pursued filmmaking as a career? How did you do it, and what advice could you share with the rest of the community? Share you stories with us in the comments!

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17 Comments

I was going off to bed and thought this is going to be the usual talk, inspiring but generic. And i kept on watching till the whole video. Something about it, must admit, is really.. sensibly inspiring, to put it in a way. Good one.

November 6, 2013 at 12:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Archie

I agree, Horton is really good at telling it like it is, instead of sugar-coating the whole process like others seem to do.

November 6, 2013 at 12:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4510

Ive always loved the idea of quitting my job and dedicate my full attention to what I love: filmmaking!
But Ive had my doubts about it. I started to think that if you transform your passion into work, then it wont be as fun as it used to be, because now its WORK jaja and at the begining youll have to do projects you wont like, but that you must accept for earning some money. I think that if you can administrate time then you cant loose, you can work and have fun with your creative projects. Its hard! But if you find that balance, then sir, you've reached a dreamy life!

November 6, 2013 at 1:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hi Robert, thank you for this posting!

David and I love what you and the team do here at no film school. This is the best site for filmmakers and one we visit often. To learn and be inspired.

We just posted a new video with Jason Horton entitled, "YouTube Is A Major Part Of How I Make A Living - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6pP60hBwto" where he explains in a little more detail how he makes his living without a day job. Once again, he doesn't sugar-coat the amount of energy and effort it takes to live the "dream" life. Providing the link here in the comments, because I believe it is a great follow up and relevant for anyone who enjoys your post.

Thanks again, look forward sharing your article with our readers.

November 6, 2013 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Since high school, I've been reading NFS articles like these and substituting the phrase "quit your day job" with "graduate from college." It works really well! As graduation draws nearer, wise words from people like Horton ring truer every day.

November 6, 2013 at 1:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I went full time since 2005 and loving what I do, granted at times $ is tight. But now I do what I love and when I want, and be creative. :)

November 6, 2013 at 4:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Johnny Wu

i work at some stupid corporate office during the day and edit / have production meetings overnight,

November 6, 2013 at 4:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

My situation is a little different. I actually work in production now around talented people and an environment
as close to doing what I'm good at as I've ever had the opportunity of working. I used to work in a warehouse
for 9 years that paid great, yet the people were all negative, the stress was awful with the constant dangling of your job hanging in the balance over your head, and I had nothing in common with anyone. I quit/got fired...(whichever came first, lol). Now I hold a Production Director position for an awesome church. Every week is a challenge, but the weekend services are something to see. Now a caveat of this, (especially since ministry makes you have to put self gratification in its corner quite often) - is how much of a part you'll be able to play I what you're good at. Mine is creativity, yet I'm not on the creative team and I always have ideas. This can be torture being right there in the mix, but constantly being told to concentrate on your other responsibilities. Which for me, involve more organization than creativity. You do not want to grow bitter and lose heart. You always hear stories about parking cars, getting coffee, putting in face time and working your way up before they helmed a movie. The point here is that there are environments all over the place that involve production, filmmaking, etc that you can find yourself in. Just make sure it is an environment that doesn't encourage being idle. Drive is such an important part of getting where you want to be, and there are plenty of situations that maySEEM to be a stepping stone, but put you right back in that red zone of "comfortable." Your go-getter looks at that steady income and now it's back to reliance. Don't SETTLE!!!!

November 6, 2013 at 9:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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XML

I did in fact quit my day job (Okay, I got laid off.....twice in three years during the real estate collapse). I tried a few different things, which all had one thing in common; self-employment. Here's a very good piece of advice I received from someone, "Work hard for your dreams, or someone else will pay you to work for theirs".

Most of those things didn't work out as planned, and I returned to college and pursued a film degree. Since this is posted on NFS, I will state that when that bill comes in I will second guess some decisions, but the bottom line is that it kept me motivated to pursue a passion. Now, i'm ready to graduate in the spring, already have a very successful wedding cinematography business that funds my other activities and provides for my family, and my thesis film is getting ready to fly in to production with ambitions that I don't think I ever imagined to be possible.

Shameless plug here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inzi/american-son

November 6, 2013 at 10:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Inzitari

Hey Daniel, thanks for sharing your story. I really love the premise of American Son, and I hope the project goes well for you guys. I chipped a few bucks.

November 7, 2013 at 1:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4510

Robert,

This is is actually inspired by a true story, (it was a personal vs. marketing decision to leave it out from kickstarter). Just a quick thank you to respect the original thread... i'll be sending you a note through the kickstarter.....

November 7, 2013 at 7:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel Inzitari

Just before reading this, I ran I into who I think is his mother while working in NYC (She told me her son is a comedian who is trying to break into my business. I remember her last name was Horton). She was telling me about the connections she had with upper level talent as she strolled away with some older gentleman with a small pecker and a big bank account. If so, this guy comes from a wealthy Manhattanite background and can do whatever he damn well pleases.

November 7, 2013 at 7:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anonymous

It´s not just a matter of working hard, it’s a matter of working harder than all of the other people who are trying to do the exact same thing that you are. That is so true. If you want to be a real success it requires you to work harder than everyone around you. Love it.

November 7, 2013 at 10:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Absolutely true. A case can be made for 90% of the shallow, soul-less, bubblegum crap being barfed out on your radio based on that principal alone. Obviously there is enough technology available to cover for your talent shortcomings, lol. It won't come to you though. So you have to acknowledge that while you're trying to understand how the hell anyone that sings something that probably took 30 minutes to write, produce, record, and distribute like "Dy-No-Mite" is living the dream... It's because they worked their ass off to do it. There is so much amazing talent in the world we'll never experience because it will stay in a warehouse or an assembly line somewhere where it doesn't belong. Which is a damn shame really... because the public is left with no choice but to lower their standards.

November 7, 2013 at 10:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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xml

Great interview, thanks for posting Rob. Quit my job as university professor which included 5 months paid vacation. Sold all my stuff and moved the UK. Now attending film school here. I love it, best move ever.

November 7, 2013 at 10:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I think a great balance is to create a scenario where you can work part-time. Perhaps not possible if you have family commitments. I moved to three days per week a year ago and it just about covers living costs, but gives me lots of time and clear headspace to focus on creative pursuits. It does, however, remove the final excuse that you don't have time to make your film, finish your album, etc and quickly underlines issues with commitment and discipline. And it forces you to confront whether you really want to achieve something, or just like imagining the achievement.

November 7, 2013 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ben Johnston

Well, said, time to face the void!

November 8, 2013 at 3:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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