June 12, 2016 at 4:59PM

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Should I just quit my normal job? What should I do?

I'm a 21 year old; I think about movies 24/7, I've made quite a few shorts, I've written so many screenplays, so I badly want to get into the industry as soon as I can.

But this fucking job. It's nothing to do with filmmaking. It's so I can get some money coming in but I'm wasting 25 hours or more a week on this. I'm making so much time for my work...but I want more! I wanna go on more sets, meet more people, get runner jobs, make my own movies. I wanna get in there when I'm still young. I know I won't get there on the spot, I gotta work hard and hard for it.

I know some people but not much. I can know more. I can see more. I feel this job is just slowing shit down. Should I quit? Go through the hardships of earning shit pay and slowly (well, quicker than now) building myself up there?

Probably a very stupid question but I've been very conflicted on this lately.

18 Comments

If you can find a way to earn enough to pay the rent and food, I'd say go for it. Without a doubt. I'm in the exact same situation (22 y). My job is only 3,5 hours a day so I got plenty of time to write. But yeah, back when working 25+ hours a week there was little time and energy for really getting started on filmmaking.

June 13, 2016 at 4:31AM, Edited June 13, 4:31AM

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Emil F. Skanning
Writer, Director, Editor
148

If you want to live out of your passion it's difficult, as a filmmaker that live out of it I have to say that it's not always easy even if I get a good living out of it I can sometime have a month period without one day that pay, luckly it happens less and less but it can be very stressfull.
It is also especially difficult if you want to do your film and work on the project you like the best. It doesn't mean that it's impossible there are plenty of poeple who manage to do it but I think that you need a bit of luck (or/and the good connection). If you have opportunity that pay go for it, if not think carefully about how you are going to pay your next bill.
The best thing would be to find a full or a part time job in a tv station or in a production company so you would be cover.

June 14, 2016 at 4:40PM

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AvdS
1160

25 hours a week? That is about 3 days of office day work.
I think it is a good starting point to have some stability and being able to save, while having more than 4 workingdays a week worth of time to pursue your dream.
Go get that 'shit pay' now, while you don't have to worry about it yet. While you work your way up, you will meet a point you can quit your job without having nothing.

June 14, 2016 at 8:24PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8761

25 hours is to taxing on you? life is about working hard to get what you want and sometimes it means doing shit jobs you don't like to make the money you will need to start doing what you want. I worked as a cook until I was 27 before I got my first job in TV but I also saved for the equipment I wanted. My honest advice is deal with it, its this kind oh stuff that will give you perspective and help drive you!

June 15, 2016 at 6:18PM

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Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer
2813

First advice is stop using F word and show good manners. Second advice is to keep your job and then read a book on how to manage your free time effectively. At 21 years of age you do not really know much about life and your films will show that. Keep shooting shorts but also try to read as many books (classic books especially Dickens, Tolstoy) and study lives of other people (biography). Look for stories that have a deep meaning or a good resemblance of reality. Only very few make it in film industry and just because you love doing it won't guarantee you will be always in demand. This means you will need a plan B. As others mentioned, life is not about doing only what you like. It is quite the opposite. Take it slow and have patience. You may feel that you need to drop everything and "do what your love." But do not rush to quick decisions or trust your initial thoughts because they maybe misleading.

June 15, 2016 at 7:54PM

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ELi
48

You're stressing about your '25 hour a week' job interfering with your film dream? I am speechless.

June 16, 2016 at 6:05AM, Edited June 16, 6:05AM

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Logan Fish
Video Journalist
278

The cursing doesn't bother me, as I hear a lot of film makers cuss worse than sailors, myself included. But dude, some money is better than no money. 25hrs a week isn't much, and you're basically saying it's taking time away from your networking? But I have to ask, are you networking with the customers you're encountering? Are you online networking during your breaks? And be a realist, is the place where you currently live a place where a film maker can thrive? Guess what a lot of actors and actresses did before they made it to the silver screen...they were waiters and waitresses, working about 25hrs a week and they still found time to go to auditions. You're young, don't let making excuses for why "something isn't working" become part of your character. Good luck with your decision.

June 16, 2016 at 10:33PM, Edited June 16, 10:36PM

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Reggie Brown
Cinematographer
236

I work 50+ hours in an unrelated field and still find time to work on film.

To be honest, if you love film, and you enjoy making it, then you'll make one and you'll feel satisfied.

If you love the glam and the pat on the back from friends and strangers for being a rebel and not getting a conventional job, then stop. You're not better than a lawyer or a doctor or a businessman. They chose their passion and you chose yours, we're all in the same boat and you just happen to like film.

When I was 20, I went to school full time for an unrelated degree, worked part time and made and sold a film in Los Angeles, so yeah, it's hard, but if I had complained about wasting my time on unrelated things, I would've never made it. It's all about grit, and the greats for any profession have a ton of it.

This is just life advice: work hard on everything, even your non-film jobs and stop complaining

June 16, 2016 at 11:11PM, Edited June 16, 11:11PM

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Kevin U
21

My day: Finished an 8 hour night shift, attended rehearsals, now half way through another 8 hour evening shift. I'm about ready to drop, but I'm making a film I believe in, so I do it gladly. I'm really not trying to sound superior or condescending, but if you can't pay the rent, you can't really do anything.

June 17, 2016 at 2:48PM, Edited June 17, 2:50PM

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I went and am still going down the slow route. Started an actor, ended up a PA to then always make myself an asset on set. Ive done very small projects as a DoP but Im proud of the work I did with my team.

If you keep a steady job through your journey into film you'll be safer than if you dont. Safer isnt necessarily better. Ive had points like you that I feel like my day hours are wasted, Ive been completely passive if I got fired or just quit. Hindsight being what it is I might not have taken a full time job and kept just being part time. Kind of best of both worlds in a way. Have something to make your month in regards of what you need to survive so you can throw time away on freebie jobs that will certainly come your way as you start.

My moral advice would be to live. Even time on set can be wasteful, directing traffic and sticking with someone full of just promises. Ive gone through a few. Work for anyone and everyone but dont become a regular unless its what you want and not something you dont want but has all too little promise of more. Live first to tell the stories later, you'll have a ton to make movies about after that.

June 17, 2016 at 5:34PM

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Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer
971

I have been working in film full-time for about 3 years. Here is my advice:

Don't quit your job.

You may think that it's better to live and breathe film all the time, even if you don't make as much money. You may think that it's better to work a crummy job on a set than a crummy job at Denny's. You may think that any experience is good experience.

That's not true.

If you are not financially stable, then you will not be able to chase your dream. Instead, you will be chasing rent, and you will trade your dream for rent, and your dreams will slowly die because you can't stop paying rent, and you're discouraged that the videos/films you're working on are pedestrian and meaningless crap, and that will discourage you from doing your personal projects or making anything meaningful.

Don't go down that road. Maintain financial stability. You have plenty of off hours. Use those to practice your craft. Shoot shoot shoot. Make really good stuff. Once you have a portfolio of a few REALLY great pieces... still keep your job. Don't quit. Use your off hours to build a website, find clients, reach out to anybody and everybody you know who needs a video done; show them your stuff; you're the man! Once you have a few clients... still keep your job. Work with those clients, get more, do more good work.

The point at which you quit your job is when you genuinely do not have time for it anymore, when you have too many clients and too many videos to juggle while holding down that crummy part-time. Now you can quit, and everything will be great.

Take it from me. I jumped right into pursuing my "passion," and it takes me all strength of will I have to keep going and try to make things I believe in. I've spent too much time making crap for too little pay; I'm burning out. You don't want to burn out on your passion.

Don't quite your job.

June 17, 2016 at 7:32PM, Edited June 17, 7:32PM

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Kenneth Merrill
Director
1057

Completely right, Kenneth. I had a good belly-laugh when I read the '25hrs a week' part. If Franz Kafka could be a full-time lawyer his entire life while writing then surely we all can suck it up and make it work too. New filmmakers should consider 'a 40hr/week, non-film related job' as their first year of university; a weeding out process to see if you're in it for the long haul.

June 18, 2016 at 6:22PM

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Keep your Job! The one thing that kept me away most from making movies was not the little time I had, but the struggle to pay my rent, equipment etc.

You don't have a free mind if you always thinking about paying bills. Use your free time as best as possible and when you starting to get money from it, you can quit your job. I started with event-movies, weddings...it wasn't my passion to do these kind of films, but it paid my rent and my equipment. From the skills I learned and equipment I bought, I started to do my own films and made a Showreel out of it. Thats how I came to the kind of films I always wanted to make (music videos, shortfilms etc.)

June 19, 2016 at 11:42AM

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Michael Strahl
Director of Photography
11

This "You don't have a free mind if you always thinking about paying bills." is very very true. There is even scientific research that underlines how stress about money 'kills' 'mental bandwidth', meaning that people with money struggles make worse decisions and have less energy to be creative.

June 19, 2016 at 6:54PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8761

Would you quit your job because you bought a lottery ticket? I understand the frustration of not advancing as a filmmaker, but likely that has just as much to do with your lack of business and advertising skills as it does with lack of filmmaking skills.
There are thousands of people who like you want jobs in the industry for few jobs. There are new jobs opening up, but are you clever enough to spot them? and then prepare yourself for them? How many great short films have you made? How many of your short films get attention at festivals? My sincere advice is figure out some work that pay you well and in your spare time make great films or get your skills to a level that you are an asset to Video Production companies and learn on their nickel. If you do not have the skills to get hired or business skills to market, then stick with the day job and make killer short films and wow the world with your talent.

June 19, 2016 at 9:20PM

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My advice for you is to quit your job and start doing what you want. Time is running fast. You will not even notice how year pass by and you still hate your job and you’re unhappy. Create your portfolio to show that you have a talent and look for internship opportunities in the filmmaking industry. Use LinkedIn to get to know the right people, communicate and ask your questions. I was in a similar situation but I decided to change my life and used resume professional writers reviews to get an ideal resume. That helped me to get my dream job and I’m happy that I have made this decision.

September 22, 2016 at 1:58PM

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MaryG
1

I feel you. I got almost the same problem - I have passion over writing one book, but my job just destroying all my free time. But i can`t quit because i got a very good salary and we all need money to live. So - i just living using balance. :)

February 23, 2017 at 10:22AM

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Why do not you consider the option of getting a job, where will you be creating films? This is not so difficult, especially when you have such a passion for this business.
So quit your job and look for another. I also advise you to pay special attention to your resume. Check tips and resume services that may help at https://www.resumance.com.

August 22, 2017 at 6:24AM, Edited August 22, 6:24AM

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