The Path of the Beam

photo // Shawn Bannon

Being a blogger makes me overly sensitive to internet trends. There is one in particular that begs discussion, one that I’ve noticed more and more recently. With the rise of entrepreneurial culture, there is this proliferation of the idea that if you pursue your dreams with vigor you will get what you want. It is The American Dream. Work hard and you shall prosper. It’s a nice idea, isn’t it? But lets get serious for a second. It’s just not true. Now let that sink in for a second. The truth is that you do have to work hard to get what you want but working hard does not guarantee anything.

First, I’m not trying to be the harbinger of bad news nor am I trying to stomp on your dreams. It just seems we all need a good dose of reality. Second, I’m not saying that you can’t live your dream in some fashion. Besides, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who actually gets exactly what you want.

Mostly I’m wondering about this idea that people have a singular life goal. How many people really have this one true passion they must follow for happiness? Is that something that comes to you in a flash of light or a dream? Is it the love you feel when you first do something new that you think you could do for the rest of your life? I personally have so many loves like that. Whenever I go on a bike ride I’m filled with a sense of elation, but that doesn’t mean I want to become a professional cyclist. There is something diminishing in turning a love into a career. This reason alone is why I’ve never turned this blog into my profession.

Very soon, I’m directing my first short film. The first since I was in college and I made “video art.” The first since I was a teenager and had to edit videos on dual VHS decks. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m terrified. Part of me has always wanted this. Part of me has always been afraid of this. I can’t tell you if my perpetual trepidation is a result of me not wanting to let go of other interests or if it is because I’m am unsure of myself and the possibility of failure. Despite the fact that I’ve produced a feature film, making this short is somehow much harder for me.

Making it in the entertainment industry is hard. That goes without saying. Of course, it’s even harder as a woman. Only 5% of the top 250 grossing films of 2011 were directed by women. I just love movies. While some have always known they want to be a writer or director, I’m not absolutely tied to any one piece of filmmaking. There are about 10 thousand different people that have a part of making a film, many of which I’d be happy doing (many I would not). My trajectory is not so much a clear path. It involves a lot of trying things out. It involves a lot of working really hard at something and realizing that it’s not what I want at all (the number of times this has happened is embarrassing).

Yet, I still have hope. I’ll admit sometime it is wavering. I believe that I will find my place, where there is actually a connection, or at least a balance, between what I do for a living and what makes me happy.

What do you think? Are you following your passion career? Do you even have one? Can you imagine yourself being happy with something else?