Aug 29 2009
I haven’t been able to write as much on here as I would have liked, due to the ridiculously time-consuming task of filming and editing every stop on this tour. Someone messaged me on Twitter the other day, asking what the hold up was on the videos, and I just busted out laughing. I guess it’s hard for people to understand how much time goes into making these 2-minute clips. For each one, we get about three hours of footage (that’s why all of them have been so good — we whittle away A LOT). Then we have to put that footage onto a computer, which tragically happens in real-time (i.e. another three hours). Then we get to edit it, which usually takes another few hours. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we’ll be working the entire time on this tour, even on our “days off.” Thank god Greg (the other videographer) and I get along, because we have to spend a ton of time together.
I don’t want it to seem like I’m complaining, because I’m not. The tour has been awesome and really fun so far, and I knew going into this how crazy the hours were going to be. In exchange for remaining in a perma-exhausted state, I’m getting paid to receive a film school-level education in less than six weeks. Sounds like a good deal to me.
It’s funny, because whenever I really try to explain to anyone what I do or how I got here, their eyes kind of glaze over and I can see my explanation flying straight over their head. This is probably my fault, as I haven’t found a succinct way to explain it yet, but I also think that they just never considered a path like this as being within the realm of possibility. And actually, I wouldn’t think it was possible either a few years ago.
I haven’t really talked about this before, but I’ve failed more times than I can remember. I’ve tried starting up several businesses, tried patenting inventions, tried starting up online communities, tried building several websites, tried to win contests… and failed almost every single time. But I never chalked any of them up as failures in my head, because I learned so much in the process each time. So now, when I’ve finally reached a point where things seem to fall into place with far less effort, I can’t help but think about all those times where I didn’t succeed over the course of the last eight years. And I look back in fondness, because those lessons learned are the reason I’m here. None of this stuff happened over night — in a way, I’ve been working to reach this point since I was 15.
I actually shouldn’t even call them failures, because they were really just attempts. There’s a huge difference there. Everyone has failures, but most people never attempt things just for the sake of trying out something that looks fun, interesting, or challenging. For some reason, a lot of us reach a point where we stop doing things for the hell of it.
Why do you think I’m such a huge proponent of free work? Doing work for free forces you to find jobs where you can honestly say, “I would do this even if I weren’t being paid for it.” That’s an expression I took a bit too literally, but it is spot on.
My favorite part of The Dark Knight is when the Joker is talking to Harvey Dent in the hospital, and he says: “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just DO things… I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”
And therein lies the best career advice I could possibly dispense: just DO things. Chase after the things that interest you and make you happy. Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t. No one does. You shouldn’t be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren’t real and they were created by other people, not you. There is no explicit path I’m following, and I’m not walking in anyone else’s footsteps. I’m making it up as I go.
It’s harder, for sure, and kind of scary sometimes. But it will allow you to look at yourself in the mirror and know you’re playing by your own rules.