Shitty Day Jobs for Creative Types

When I was taking video classes at a local community college, my fellow students were mostly youngsters just out of high school.  They were happily preparing themselves for their careers, or their first of many careers.  I was in the midst of my 17th or 19th mid-life crisis, wondering what my next careerFail would be.  I was incredibly curious (some rudely say I am “nosy”) and liked to ask everyone what they did for money while they were in school.  At least, it's material for screenplays, right?

Sophie, a lovely young lady willing to help on anyone's film project, with a great sense of humor but absolutely no sense of discipline…

“Sophie,” I say, “what kind of shitty student job do you have to pay your bills?”

Then I thought better of it.  I don't really want to know.  I'll just get discouraged.  I'll just start thinking that no one ever can make a living in this business.  It's too depressing.  So, I put my hands over my ears before she could voice her response.

My friend Emmy, a very talented photographer with no self-confidence, working on a drooly coffee-table book of her work, has a day job as a colorist in a photo lab.  Good choice to help her hone her eye; but lousy pay and the print industry is going into the toilet.

Justin, a one-trick pony filmmaker (all his films are about drug dealers shooting one another) lives with his father.  That's a job in itself.  Justin's dad is a perv and makes moves on all the women Justin brings home.  Hmm…rethink THAT idea.

Sweet James, he of the lush, perfect DP's eye and a budding director, too, teaches piano in high school.  His folks wanted him to have a respectable career—certainly not a filmmaking career.

“What does your Mom want you to do, Sweet James?”

“Concert pianist.”

Mom.  Noun.  Synonym for “delusional.”

Will, a skilled journeyman screenwriter, coach for other screenwriters and mentor for the entire film community in his small town in Wyoming, has a day job breaking people's knees.  Yes.  He gets hired to beat up guys who abuse their wives.  It's all very secret and lots of fun.

Joe is an attorney. It gives him enough money to produce his own work and to market it into festivals.

Marvin cleans houses to support his costume design work.  He works on set all the time; but his annual income from costume work is still so low that it doesn't allow him to live in decent housing in Chicago without the housecleaning gigs.

Verlene the composer has a rich husband.

What lessons have I learned from this brief survey of shitty day jobs for creative types?  None.


...the rich husband idea is appealing.

I will look for one who's also young, hunky, brilliant, doesn't have to work long hours, and is committed to a better world.  Oh, and he also must be able to fuck all night and he must allow me to keep my current husband on the side. Please send me anyone you know.

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