i had lunch with tom russell, one of my film professors, yesterday. talking with him over double cheeseburgers and fries at the creamery on ninth, he commented on something he often reminded us during classes; we place far too much importance on a person's profession. often that is how we are described and summarized; someone is a film maker, an accountant, a landscaper, an entrepreneur, a piano player.
on a film shoot a few years ago as a student, i learned that fulfillment does not come work; it comes from people. shooting a good script with a great crew did not bring the same joy that my friends do. this past year, as a freelance camera assistant, i have learned that work is important; it can bring purpose and a feeling of accomplishment, and that working with your hands is just as noble as working with your mind. this is especially apparent during the slow winter months.
my roommate watches tv more than i do, and i happen to see bits of whatever is on. most of the shows deal with exciting people in exciting jobs with exciting scenarios. to these characters, their work is their life. we rarely see their personal lives.
i think about the people who make those shows. writers who have to keep up on current events and the structures of the genre and the accuracies of the world they parallel; directors and producers who organize a million details in the artistic sense and have to fight for life in the profession; the 2nd a.c. who is clapping the sticks and laying marks 70 hours a week with his wife and baby at home.
i love film making. i love being on set and hauling cameras and jumping over rusted boxcars and seeing countless places i would never have the opportunity to otherwise.
but is that worth the price of 14-hour days for six days a week, of being on location for six weeks at a time, or never having a regular schedule, not knowing when i will work again?
does it get better, or does it get more demanding?
would a less-demanding profession, one where people don't say 'wow' when you tell them what you do, be worth having a [more] stable base from which to build a life with friends and family?
it certainly seems like it.
there are no choices that yield only good; every worthwhile decision carries with it the necessity of sacrifice.
sacrifice that which is good for that which is better.