It’s a little tradition of mine to have an existential crisis after my favorite weekend of the spring semester, so I decided to use my monthly Optimist column as an opportunity to process:
The Film Fest judges are on their way home after an incredible weekend, and as always, I’m left with my mind reeling and heart swelling with a grand mix of emotions. I’ve been involved with Film Fest for the past four years, so this weekend has been especially significant to me as I look back over my college career and look ahead to life after graduation. Each year, I’ve learned something new about filmmaking, but this year I started to realize that those lessons are applicable to life in general.
- Build a team. It’s impossible to make a film by myself. But why would I want to? Filmmaking is a beautiful collaboration. I can’t make a life by myself, either. Instead, I want to surround myself with exemplary people who will help me tell a more meaningful story.
- Ask for critique. And I shouldn’t learn to just receive it gracefully; I should seek it out. Screenwriters workshop their screenplays because it’s so much cheaper to fix things on paper rather than during post-production. It’s the same with life. If I take the initiative to grow now, I’ll be better off when the next stage of life comes my way.
- Be honest. Technical aspects of production will go obsolete, but storytelling always resonates. I never want to lose the ability to be vulnerable. I didn’t win an award at Film Fest this year, but several people said my story touched them personally. In the end, honesty is what creates the individual impact that really matters.
- Don’t play it safe. Now is the time to dream big. I want to take on projects that are beyond me. I want to watch films I love and try to make better ones. I want to set impossible goals, because then I’ll go farther than I ever imagined. Why would I waste my time on predictable achievements?
It’s that last point that really strikes me. Every year at Film Fest, I’m inspired to dream bigger. But it always scares me and I end up playing it safe. Now that I’m graduating, I find myself looking for a stable job in a safe environment. I choose the realistic path for fear that my dreams won’t come true. To quote Dreamer, one of the Film Fest entries, “Being a realist is always easier than being a dreamer.” Yes, it’s terrifying to dream and the possibility of failure is real...but what’s life if not a risk?
So I’ve decided to take some steps to pursue my dreams. I’m still planning on getting a job doing Ad/PR, because that is something that I’m passionate about as well (and it pays the bills!). But I’ve decided to move to a city that has an active film community so I can continue writing and producing short films as a way to break into the business. At this point, I’m considering Austin and Nashville as possible locations.
Onwards and upwards! I can’t wait to see what’s next. (^__^)v