I am officially a free man. I am Mr. Unemployed.
It is now over a year since I received my degree from the University of Nottingham. A year in which I have been working at J.D. Wetherspoons… ‘Spoons’… Hell, whatever you want to call it.
Whilst I mean no disrespect towards anyone who works there, as many who do are my firm friends, my prolonged occupation there has been a source of personal embarressment. It should never have been. No job should be, unless you’re a full time gabba DJ.
Nonetheless, this feeling of embarrassment arose from a force that I believe cripples much of my generation – expectation.
For example, societal expectation:
“Oh you did English at university, soooo, you’re gonna be a teacher right?” Nope.
“A journalist, then?” Nah.
At this point they run out of ideas and settle on the notion of you being a bum.
Societal expectation, the expectations of loved ones that hear you get one good school report and then imagine you buying them (well deserved but fabricated) holiday homes when you hit 30, and – most importantly – my own expectations. The middleman between my dreams and ego, of which I have plenty of both.
These expectations have left me feeling lost, empty, purposeless for much of my time since graduation. Because of that little ego I just mentioned, I have blamed a lot of this on my workplace. But what I can’t deny is that my own fears, anxieties and indecisivenesss have halted me from taking the necessary steps towards what I want to be.
So what do I want to be?
I want to be a filmmaker.
“Aw bless”… “Can you do that?”… “Oh… okay”… “*stifles snigger*”… “Good for you!”
Yeah, it’s pretty far-fetched I’ll give you that.
“So what have you made?”…. “You done anything I’ll have heard of?”
Zilch. Nuttin. Nada. Sweet fuck all.
I had this conversation with a woman at a friend’s graduation party recently. It went pretty much verbatim, except, she completely turned away from me at this point and talked to my friend for hours about his accountancy career. I mean, no offence, Oliver, but even you don’t like it.
Anyway, yeah, I’ve left my soul-destroying yet PAYING job to pursue an even more potentially soul-destroying pipe dream.
But guess how I feel right now? Fucking brilliant.
You know when you want to sneeze but your body is just denying you. But you continue pulling ugly faces for the next half an hour but that sneeze keeps eluding you. And finally, you let rip out of nowhere and spray everything in your general vicinity? Yeah, like that x1000.
I have made the first step. Without that step, nothing you want is possible to achieve. Saving up the money and building up the courage to take this step took longer than I expected, but now it is done. But the steps will get bigger and bigger and bigger and I’m a little guy with little legs. Like 5ft 9inch little.
This blog is going to be a charting of how I deal with each step, each week. A journal of sorts, a method of self reflection and a gauging of my progress towards these goals.
You may be interested, you probably won’t be, but my hope is that many people my age will be able to relate to this battle against expectations, seemingly unreachable dreams, anxieties and trying to grasp what you ACTUALLY want to do with your life.
You know what, if nothing else, this blog series may just make you feel better about your own lives, which is cool with me.
So what are my goals?
- Make movies, big or small. You see the movies. Meaning I can make more movies.
- Be happy and fulfilled, which we all know is harder than it sounds.
- See as much of the world as possible, which I will have to magic money out of my arse to achieve.
- Keep up with my screenplay goals. I have three written now. Two I did in lockdown. For context, my first took me two years whilst I was working and at uni. The schedule I’ll be enforcing on myself is: one month writing a first draft of a new screenplay, the next month rewriting an older script.
- Begin inquiring production companies, i.e. getting people to read my scripts. Firstly, I need to make sure they are ready to be read.
- Set up a YouTube channel, consisting mostly of video essays on cinema.
- Begin working with a camera and making short films.
- Getting experience working on film productions. Doing anything, most likely a runner.
- Be body confident. This one has a big impact on my mental health. I haven’t been to the gym in 6 months, haven’t been consistently for a year. So I now resemble a bruised, mushy pear with vermicelli noodles for arms.
- Pass my driving test. This means people will actually consider hiring me as a runner.
- Writing short film scripts, something I haven’t done before. It’ll be a learning curve.
- Doing Imagine-Impact’s second script prompt for Netflix – ‘Lifestyle with a Competition element’. Yikes is all I can say to that one. The first was ‘Action Adventure for All Ages’, my idea was about a Spartan trying to escape the Greek Underworld. I’ll probably hear about my rejection for that this week.
Firstly, and most importantly…
THIS WEEK’S GOALS
- Get into a proper routine. No more Wetherspoons induced 4am-11am sleeping pattern.
- Get my arse out of bed straight away. This one will be surprisingly hard.
- Eat healthy. This week I’m trying to be vegan.
- Write everyday. Professionally. Write like a writer.
A final bit of admin, every week I’m gonna include a few mini segments. These’ll be my ‘Movie Idea of the Week’, my ‘Scene of the Week’ written by yours truly, and ‘Mini-Movie Reviews’ of any new releases.
So yeah, that’s how it’s gonna go down. This post was a laying of the groundwork, it won’t always be this long and tedious but hopefully, you will join me on this ‘journey’ (cringe all you want, sunshine). What I do hope it will achieve, is that it will encourage you to take your own leaps of faith so you can share in my existential dread. At the very least, we can do ourselves justice and give our dreams a go.