What’s Up DOC?

Luis dug the project I handed in.  Only took 90 minutes to finish up the changes.  Left me with a nice buzz the whole rest of the day.  Didn’t matter that it was just a small gig with zero potential to advance my career.  I enjoyed myself and I took pride in my work – and as previously mentioned, gave me a nice buzz at the end of the day.

When I was 4 years old, I remember going to work with my dad.  He drove a truck and delivered magazines to all the stores in Regina.  He’d load up a wheeler with boxes, then sit me on top the stack, and wheel me into the store.  The girls behind the counter would always giggle, and dad would have the same joke for them at every stop, “Yup.  Got the boss with me, can’t even go for a beer after work.”  They’d always laugh and I’d smile like I knew what the hell he was talking about.  Some of my very best childhood memories came from riding on the truck with dad.

Dad moved on to other things, life changes took place, and 16 years went by.  Things came around full circle.  Dad found himself back on that job, driving a truck, delivering magazines.  This time I was old enough to drive for him – give him some time off.

First two weeks on the job were great!  I was buzzing, swimming through nostalgia, getting a workout, and feeling good about life.  Then a thought began to crystallize, sapping me of my fun.  I was in University to study film – to learn how to become a filmmaker.  What was I doing driving a truck for my dad?  This was a dead-end job with zero potential to advance my career.  The job didn’t change, but my thoughts about it did significantly.  The longer I worked it, the more miserable I became.  The truck became a symbol of how far away from my ambitions I had grown.

A similar thought process seeps into my head when I take these small gigs to pay the bills. I enjoy what I do.  I take pride in my work.  I hate the lack of potential in it.  As of late, I’ve managed to keep my ego at bay, not wrap my identity up in it, and just be.  I set my own hours, pursue my ambitions, and keep myself busy.  Why complicate things with unnecessary ego trips?

Last night I hung out with a group of documentary filmmakers.  It was an informal meet-up in a bar/coffee shop on Danforth organized by the DOC Toronto.  These were filmmakers, not producers.  Like me, they had to self-teach themselves a variety of skills to pursue their craft.  They shoot, they edit, they direct, they write, they pitch, and they handle the business end of their projects to varying degrees of success.

I felt at home with them.  Thus far, I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to hang out with these types of creatures in Toronto.  Thus far, every ‘industry’ person I’ve associated with has been a specialist in one field or another.  Last night felt like any gathering of industry folk I grew up with in my career in Regina.  We’re all ‘filmmakers’ back home.  The city’s too small to hang your hat on just one hook for the rest of your career.

When I moved to Toronto, I was advised to pick a field, and specialize in it.  Took me a long time to realize how misguided that advice was.  I took myself out of the game as a result.  Shrivelled up inside.  Writing remains the field of greatest interest (passion) to me, but as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I have much more in me.

Toronto has so many different types of people in it.  I should be like a kid in a candy store, as opposed to a writer in exile on an island somewhere, suffering for his craft.  It’s all a matter of how I frame the situation to myself.  If I keep myself open to the vasty goodness that is the potential of this city, I can keep myself happy and content with my journey through it.

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