As we get older, we tend to become more serious about life due to financial obligations, parental duties, etc. We define our lives by the career paths we've chosen and feel that it would be a little foolish and not financially viable to make a change at this point in our lives. And we feel all this despite the fact that we have other dreams and aspirations that go unfulfilled. "Dreams are for young people without anything to tie them down," we say. "I have too much to lose if I fail."
Well, as a 45-year old father of three, I can tell you that all of this is true...in your own mind. In reality, however, it just isn't the case. People in your life want you to be happy. They want you to succeed at something you love. And all people love to see risk takers make a go of it. You'd be surprised how much your friends and loved ones will be willing to help and sacrifice to see you reach your dreams, and in turn, you'll inspire others to do the same.
Two years ago, I started a journey to become a cinematographer, photographer and digital artist, and I've certainly seen my share of ups and downs financially and emotionally, but the journey continues despite the setbacks. Why? Because being happy isn't always about succeeding. Sometimes it's about failing, learning and trying again. It's about realizing your potential and doing something that you truly love.
Have I hit the jackpot with my endeavors yet? Nope. But that's OK. It's not about that. Yes, that's right, I said, "It's not about getting rich!" It's about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and discovering what you're truly capable of. It's about the thrill of trying new things and finding a way to make a living doing it. And, if you persist and focus on continuously getting better at your craft, you might find someone willing to pay you a lot of money to do it. If not, so be it. You're making a living doing something you love! If it doesn't afford you the biggest house or newest, nicest cars, who cares? That doesn't matter. Your perspective is so different when you wake up in the morning and realize that people pay you to do something you think is fun!
I've been fortunate to have great clients and friends that I've worked with over the years, who believe in me. And my wife and kids have been nothing but supportive, making suggestions, helping on shoots, and in the case of my oldest son, making it his life's ambition to work in film. My younger son was introduced to music through some of the work I've done with musicians and local events, and now he plays the drum set like a beast. My daughter is very creative and wants to be a model. So as you can see, my journey is having an amazing effect on my kids' lives, too!
So two years into it, here are some cool things I've been able to do:
Became a certified drone pilot to shoot aerial video and photos - At this point, I could take flight lessons and get a recreational pilot's license...it's not easy to pass the commercial drone pilot test!
Shoot photos of war planes, pit crews, molten steel, and lots of other badass guy stuff - absolutely love getting to film/photograph cool stuff!
Create a short film with some amazing parkour athletes - Check it out.
Work on a film festival comedy short film with some great young creative people - As an "old" guy, it was great to work with young creative people that have such passion and idealism for the craft. It's motivational.
Shoot model portfolio photos - this type of photography really pushes you to try new ways of lighting and artistic ideas, but it was also way out of my comfort zone. I'm expected to know how to make the model look their best and bring creative ideas to the table.
Shoot photos and video of firefighters at controlled burns and firefighter training centers - Can't say enough about firefighters...haven't met one yet that I didn't like.
Shoot video 175 feet up under the Oakland Bay Bridge
Shoot video in giant tunnel under construction
Create a moving mini-documentary about my son with cerebral palsy - Watch it here.
Travel to Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Denver, Tuscaloosa, Kansas City, and Mississippi to shoot video - It's not easy to travel with a bunch of gear, but getting paid to do it makes it worth my while!
Shoot video from a paddle board - way out of my comfort zone, but I got the shot!
Shoot aerial video of a wake surfer over Lake Norman - 10 feet off the water and half a mile off shore - also out of my comfort zone, but it was worth it. Check out the final video.
Shoot my first band promo video - Turned out great! Check it out! And I'm going to be shooting a rap video soon with a talented up and coming artist with big vision - I'll have to channel my high school/college self for this project. :)
I'm probably forgetting some things, but as you can see, a lot has happened because I went looking for it and wasn't afraid to try something new. Each new endeavor builds confidence for the next one, and with all of the great "how to" info on the Internet, you can literally become an expert by watching videos, reading articles and getting out there and doing it!
If you truly have a passion and an aptitude for something, don't look back and regret that you never tried it. Figure out a way to make it happen.