Growing Up Can Wait

I experience a very healthy respect for life’s unpredictability each time I think of my brother and how turbulent his job search has been. For more than five years, he went from job to school to complete unemployment to whatever job he could earn cash out of, no matter that it had nothing to do with all the things he’d studied and mastered.

This is something that scared me shitless and I was pretty sure I would not be willing to go through what he did, and initially, I was pretty sure the solution was to get a job as early as possible and start saving asap. Getting jobs you actually like is pretty tricky it turns out, and where money or a big name is involved, one is apparently expected to delay their own desires, because learning from someone more experienced is the only foolproof way to succeed.

In my third year of campus, I found this to be untrue.

During the attachment period, we had about 5 months during which we had to look for an internship somewhere(anywhere) for our film and theater studies. Some of us were lucky enough to work with film production companies and actually learn something film related, while more openings were for working at TV media houses. Sure you’d learn how to work around TV- if TV is your thing- and it really wasn’t mine.

What happened that period was that we got together with a few friends and made a 20 minute short film. We build a set from scratch, worked long hours, and multitasked on set. The end product is a film I do not regret never having taken an internship in place of.

To date, it serves as a testament to the beauty of starting your own thing rather than working under someone else. Mentorship is good and all but I prefer to make mistakes and learn from them, especially knowing some of the egos that exist in the Kenyan film scene.

There’s money in TV and for companies,but there’s lots of artistic freedom and satisfaction in going indie. Of course it will take quite some time to get to where I can shout about a film I’ve made, or perhaps pay a billboard for it, and proudly tell people they must watch my film. It will take some time but I’d rather have concentrated on that alone rather than go work for someone, shooting things I am not wholly invested in, heart mind and soul.

Many fellow filmmakers around me complain about sleeping with the devil to make ends meet and I hear and feel for them. I plan to avoid that scenario by delaying bills for as long as possible.

I don’t know how long I will rebel about growing up because that seems to be what growing up means; giving up the things you like to do the things you do not like if only to get by. My sister told me she took three years out of school (not by choice) before she landed her current job. As such, I will not be rushed to work for a TV station or for any other company; shooting stories I do not care for, if only for the money and to be associated with some big name.

I will rebel against this until I can rebel no more.

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