Living in Pittsburgh, Local 489 grip and Director and Cinematographer for Carpio Pictures.
Exactly, everything you just said. 10,000 hours. Just put in work, never stop, never give up, and you'll close the gap.
I'm right there with you Matt. As an aspiring filmmaker there are times where I over think and doubt myself. What I have been telling myself is that if i don't take a plunge into the unknown you'll never know if you can swim or not... now with that being said I am not saying go undertake some giant project. I have a fellow up and coming filmmaker who jumps head first and has that "I'll learn as I go" personally that's not how I do things, but when asked to help on her projects it turns out I CAN do this... that it IS possible.
I work on short shorts here and there that are usually 10 minutes or less. I just shot my first short documentary recently (I have never done that before) and it came out better then I expected. I also am currently writing a short script that's at 20 pages now and still not done... am I nervous about filming it? Hell yes... But when the time comes I'll take the plunge and kick like hell to learn how to swim. Good Luck!
I'm on the same boat you are on. I went with the T3i. I bought it as kit and came with a kit lens and a telescopic zoom lens for about $600. I bought the 50mm lens (love it) a tripod and I just started shooting. I don't know exactly what your goal is but shooting as much as you can is what I would suggest. I enter as many contests as I can (gives you a deadline). From entering a contest I ended up with a RODE Smart Lav, my audio has immensely improved. My next purchases will be lights and a rig, although I am looking for a wide angle lens. I write and direct so the story is more important then the camera. Of course I want to upgrade but for now it's doing its job.