Passion vs. Pay

I was asked last night, in a conversation about pay vs. passion, what the selection process is like for me, since I’m not a full-time editor and I really base all of my projects on “passion”.

I unfortunately have to base my day job on pay, I do have a family to feed, after all.  That isn’t really different in my eyes than editing something I’m not passionate about, like a lot of working editors do.  What benefit are you getting then, other than a pay check?  That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me either.  But having a job just makes my “free” time even that more valuable to me.  That is the time I have to spend with my kids, my wife or my friends.  You almost can’t pay me enough to give up any of that time.  Fortunately, with my current job, I have a decent amount of that time.

As an artistic type, I am drawn to create.  I am passionate about what I do and I want to spend endless amounts of time doing that.  It’s just a part of me. I can’t stop it without there being a price of unhappiness.

The time I spend away from my son and daughter, kills me too, even more so.  It’s a balance between getting enough time into all of my passions in life so I don’t sink into a depressive pit of despair.  With the limited time and ALL of the things I want to do, it’s almost an unwinable battle. Time is my worst enemy.  As I’ve tweeted, “So, my main problem to solve is how to squeeze 268 hours into a 168 hour week.” You’d think as an editor, controlling time would be an easy feat.  I guess I gotta get better!

So, my process of selection goes like this: I have the following criteria, 1) Do I want to do it? i.e. Do I care about the project or the people involved in it?  2) Is it worth missing out on time with my kids?  This is a big one.  If I want to do it, then maybe we can work something out, IF, 3) Is there enough time for me to spread it out over enough of a period of time that I don’t feel like I’m missing out of #2 above.

I feel that I don’t have to work inside the box or work my way up in the business the standard way.  I feel that I can find more than enough projects to build my skills that will take me where I want to go, through contacts, friends, etc.  I also feel, there is some power in creating your own projects to work on.  I have a few of those up my sleeve.

I am a firm believer in doing what you love.  I don’t think it’ll be that long until I can do that “full-time”, either.  The opportunities keep broadening for me.  I’m happy with the progress I’m making.

I was also asked if I considered myself a hobbyist, you know, just doing it as a hobby.  No, definitely not a hobby.  I spend so much time organizing events for others to be able to do and learn about filmmaking, putting together training for others to learn filmmaking and editing, doing projects and just proselytizing about the subject in general that it’s much more than a hobby.  And note, I do make money doing what I do.  Not a lot, yet, but I refuse to work for free and I refuse to pass on work to others unless there’s pay involved.  I’ve long passed the point of doing free work.  But I understand why some may do it.  There’s more to pay than “pay”!  There’s experience, being recognized, other forms of exchange and barter.  These are all valid reasons to take on projects.

As long as you’re happy doing the project, then it’s okay.  Do it, I say.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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