SEASON 1 – EpiBLOG 16:
“Day jobs.” Usually a phrase associated with some starving artist. The starving artist wants nothing more than to make it “big” by doing what they love for a living, but in the interim is forced to take crap jobs that they don’t like, otherwise known as “day jobs.” See, “Day jobs” keep the spouses and parents of the starving artists quiet and at bay because the responsible family members don’t have to carry or finance the artists’ endeavors. This is a good scenario for all involved. It keeps the artist from taking advantage of supportive family members and gives the artist a sense of urgency to make something happen so that they can have more time to CREATE what they love.
It can be challenging to balance paying bills and creating the next oil painting, video game character, screenplay, song, sculpture, dance, novel, or… movie. People will remind you that your dream won’t pay Verizon or for the Sushi you feel like eating on a Saturday night. That may be temporarily true. However, when you pay your bills with money that you’ve earned from your art, I have to tell you, it’s the most empowering feeling – equal only to passing a fellow competitor on the track in the 100 meter dash. ☺
My situation is a little different. Yes, I’m an artist, but I’m also an educator. Teaching isn’t my “day job.” It’s what I love doing. Likewise, my love for film/screenwriting equals my love for teaching, which is why I chose to have a dual career. Trust me, I’ve had enough jobs in college that I’ve quit because I hated the work that I was doing. Money alone doesn’t motivate me to do work. Teaching and Filmmaking have been the most fulfilling endeavors I’ve ever pursued. The only professional endeavors that have mattered. Although, I’ve experienced disappointments in both industries, I wouldn’t trade one for the other. I can’t. It’s physically impossible to trade, to walk away from one, or to give up on one altogether.
I believe that there are 3 types of artists, and all artists fall into one of these categories. There is “the Mooch.” This artist doesn’t care about getting money for her song, movie, or graphic design work. It’s all about the art and living each day as if it’s her last. The Mooch is always sleeping on somebody’s couch, usually a friend that feels sorry for her or she’s in her own bed as an adult, living with Mommy and Daddy. The Mooch has no desire to get a job because money is of no value to this artist; after all, she doesn’t even care if she makes money off of her artwork. She’s fine with eating Top Ramen and anything that someone is willing to give her. Obviously, she isn’t materialistic, so buying a home, new clothes, or having a nice car doesn’t matter to her either. She can bum a ride from a friend or some unsuspecting stranger. The Mooch is basically annoying to everyone around her, except herself. She usually considers herself misunderstood by the masses as she explains this misconception to the people that are paying her bills.
The next artist is called “the Balancer.” She may have a High School diploma, an Associate’s, or a Bachelor’s degree, but may or may not use it. She always has her bills paid, but rarely has any money left over after they are paid. She usually takes temp jobs working in an office, substitute teaching (if she has her BA), or waiting tables so that she can have time to go on her auditions at odd hours or write that song in the wee-hours of the night. She doesn’t ask anyone for anything, and is there for her friends when she needs to be. She lives modestly in a one-bedroom apartment. Second-hand furniture fills the entire space. And at the end of the month, there are a few days where she has to stretch her money so she eats Mac n’ Cheese 5 nights in a row for dinner. She doesn’t care about “making it big.” She loves her art because it fulfills her and it touches people’s lives when they see her perform on the stage. She would prefer to have a little extra money and to eliminate at least one of her credit cards. But honestly, she is pretty happy with her paid off Honda Civic or Ford Focus. As long as she’s creating, touching people’s lives, and her bills are paid, she is comfortable with life.
The next artist is “the Achiever.” Yes, you’ve guessed it. This is me. Not only do I have to impact people’s lives in the most spectacular of ways through my art, but I strive to make a living doing what I love and can’t imagine having a “day job” for longer than needed. The Achiever desires the same success that doctors, lawyers, and engineers experience in their respective fields. The Achiever artist desires to impact a multitude of people, all while being able to enjoy the comforts of a nice home, healthy foods, investments, and paid off vehicles. The Achiever respects the money that she has because she’s earned every penny of it. She’s wise and cautious, but enjoys the life that she has been rewarded for her hard work. Oftentimes, fame is important to the Achiever. However, personally, I don’t care about fame. I enjoy the idea of making a living doing what I LOVE waking up in the morning to do. Standing in front of the classroom to inspire a group of young and eager minds that they can achieve what they want as filmmakers is exciting to me. Sitting in front of my iPad writing my latest screenplay fulfills me to no end. The Achiever seeks to work towards a goal and to achieve what is rightfully earned.
Obviously, there are artists that exemplify variations of each of these 3 types/categories. However, what I found to be true is that each artist tends to be dominate in at least one of these areas. This whole blog started with the words “Dreams don’t pay bills…” However, I know from first-hand experience that they can. I’ve experienced making money as a screenwriter, filmmaker, and educator, and it feels great.
Dreams exist because we create them in our minds. It temporarily removes us out of the sometimes harsh realities of life, causing us to smile and ask the question, “What if…?” The issue is that if you are the type of person that only dreams, and you never set goals followed by creating a plan to achieve those goals, then your dreams are nothing more than thoughts that make you feel good. And that’s okay if that’s what you want. But if you want more, figure out a way to ensure that your dreams do indeed pay your bills.
Today’s LESSON is to always remember to dream, even when you’re not asleep.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Go to a quiet place in your home and do nothing but DREAM for 15 minutes. Write down some of the thoughts that popped in your head.