The Road goes ever on and on…
I don’t really post a whole lot of “personal” stuff to this blog; I try to keep it movie-centric so that there’s some consistency with the content (whenever I actually get around to posting content). Today, the second day of the year 2012, has ended a little strangely for me because I realize how different the beginning of this year is compared to 2011. Last year was an exciting year for me: new opportunities, new experiences, etc., etc. This year has the potential for all those things, but none of it is certain.
To start, as I write this I’m unemployed, and have been for about six months. The job market where I live (the San Francisco Bay Area) sucks and new opportunities to do anything beyond serving food or ringing up a purchase are hard to come by. Not that there isn’t work, there’s just not a whole lot and, more importantly, finding full-time work is even more rare. But this isn’t some sob story of how my life sucks or anything. My being unemployed was mostly my choice, having left a really cool job where I basically played videogames all day. I did it to continue pursuing my passion: film. I moved across to country and earned a Master’s Degree so I could explore cinema, and maybe do it for a living. My year working in the videogame industry was amazing, but there were more than a few times where I questioned what I was doing and where I was headed.
A year ago, the company I worked for was moving offices and had also downsized in staff. That meant more responsibility for everyone, and that was OK by me. I was itching to do more than what I originally signed up for, and they let me expand my horizons a little. I had my core responsibilities and I also got to do some video stuff on the side. This was fine for a few months, but that itch to do even more started again in the back of my head. By the summer, I was contemplating a break from my day-to-day. I had talked it over with some friends and we were all considering a trip to New York to shoot a short film. We didn’t really have a plan (or even a script), but it didn’t matter. I had been away from my passion for too long and “winging it” was all the plan I needed.
Then my work life got a little more complicated. Long story short, the option was on the table for me to try for a new position with different responsibilities, or not do it at all. I wasn’t being fired, and this wasn’t some sort of ultimatum, but that’s just how it was. I decided to not pursue this “new position” and take my chances back out in the world. I was nervous (being unemployed in an expensive city like San Francisco will make anyone nervous), but I was also excited. I didn’t want to get stuck in a job, no matter how good it sounded on paper, only to dislike it down the road and realize I’m too old to pursue my dream.
I wanted to direct again. I wanted to be slaving away over pages of scripts with my trusty red and green pens in hand, making notes and crossing things out. I wanted to be on the set, discussing lens choices with a DP, or at rehearsal arguing with actors over choices and stakes and all that pretentious-sounding film stuff. All that stuff I spent the previous three years doing, I wanted it back. That’s why I came out here. That’s why I left my old life behind and started a new one.
As 2012 begins I’m only a little more closer to getting back to all that. My first priority has to be survival – SF is an expensive place and making a living somehow is what I’ve been focusing on. I think about what I’ve done since I moved, what I’ve accomplished. I haven’t won any awards or become famous or anything, but I feel like I’ve done a lot. I’ve met new people, tried new things. 2011 felt like a transition year, a test year. A year that tested me to see if I had in my heart to really do what it is I wanted to do. Fate dangled something nice in front of me, but I struggle to look beyond that, to see what lies ahead. To quote J.R.R. Tolkien,
“All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost…”
I feel like I’ve been wandering the desert these past few months, and at times it seemed as if I lost my way. But I was just finding myself. I’m hoping 2012 is going to be a fantastic year. I’ve already got some things (hopefully) lined up that will not only take care of my need for survival (i.e. paying rent) and my passion. So here’s my raising my proverbial glass to the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.
“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”
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