2016 has been an amazing year so far. When I graduated from film school I took on the risky proposition to not only attempt to make my living as a freelancer in the competitive film/video industry but also to continue to pursue a breadth of professional roles both in film and as a photographer. There is a pressure in all industries towards specialization. But particularly so in film/video. Yet I continue to hear anecdotal stories of people doing their own thing, such as directors who edit their films and others who have forged their own professional identity. In school, I had worked as a producer, a director of photography, a director, and an editor. It wasn’t until after school that I began to get hired regularly as a sound mixer. My first job was unpaid, but my second one was paid and others followed. People seemed to like my work and enjoy my personality on set and so I began to feel like maybe I had found my niche.
At the same time, I continued to pursue my other creative interests, gaining experience as a camera operator and DP on ultra low budget narrative projects, working as a one man band shooting and editing videos for local businesses and taking photographs at family events and of our unique NW environment. I have always worried and will probably continue to worry that practical career interests will compel me to focus on sound. It is the one thing I have the most experience at and the most specialized equipment for. But I continue to find that as long as you are passionate and committed to your craft, you can indeed forge your own unique path. I think it is important to young people and to those starting out in a new field, to consider what drove your interest there in the first place. We all must consider long-term financial impacts our decisions may have on our careers. But it is important also to consider what we love doing. It is that love, that passion, that will drive our careers forward. If you are charging for something, you must be very good at it. And to move forward we must continue to hone and improve our craft. By this, we reap the benefit of rare skills and unique abilities. The good money comes after we have committed ourselves to something or some “things” we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success
What I continue to find is that if you have passion and commitment for your craft, even if it is in multiple areas, you will succeed if you apply yourself seriously and continuously. If you are a young person or someone starting out in a new field, consider what drove your interest there and hold onto that above all else. I think the worsed thing you can do is to settle for doing something you don’t love, or don’t love doing all the time. A diversity of talents can lead, not only to synergy but to practical skills in communication and problem solving.
The good money will come after we have committed ourselves to become really good at doing things we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success
In 2016, (and 2015) I’ve found myself working not only as a sound mixer but also as a director, DP, camera operator, producer, editor, and photographer. My goal for 2016 is to not only advance my craft as a sound mixer but to push myself to bring my skills in other roles up to a similar level. If I can do that successfully I might add acting and screenwriting into the mix. If it stimulates me professionally I say why not. Hopefully my peers and those who hire me will feel the same way.