I am not lucky enough to have a trust fund or a pool of cash. I am not fortunate enough to laze around all day musing about films I'm going to see, ponder, make. There are bills. There are kids. Sometimes one hears that the pursuit of lofty creative goals requires diving full in, leaving behind the constraints of daily life, and rising seemingly automatically to the station of fully-formed artist by virtue of doing so. But I've met people without day jobs or kids who aren't necessarily any more productive. (And yes some who are.) A day job gives me money and health insurance - vital w/ my backstory - but also a structure, a rock to push off from, and at times to rally against, to urge me forward creatively. Its merit lays in its implicit artlessness.
My day job has zero to do with my creative pursuits. I have an MFA in Screenwriting but I don't want to pursue teaching*. For me a day job that is related even partially to filmmaking is a trap, just close enough to what I want to do to get me stuck, to trick myself into thinking I'm doing the thing I want to do or that it somehow feeds/serves the thing I want to do but ignoring the massive time/energy demands of doing so. I don't want to teach. I don't want to make videos or commercials. I don't want to read other people's screenplays and/or guide them through a series of screenplay principles that won't necessarily impact their ability to find marketplace success. I only want to write and direct feature films. Thus far I've managed one, the black sea.
Has day job impacted my ability to put projects together? Possibly but I need it. Or at least I have up til now. It gives a rudder to propel me away from listless ocean dead zone where nothing at all would get done. Given the opportunity to do it over I would probably do the same thing.
As such I am very interested in reading how others navigate these waters. I mean, I have always been drawn to the mundane elements of the artist's daily life - negotiating bad relationships, buying groceries, paying bills, standing in line - all the seemingly meaningless tasks and endeavors that one presumes don't concern the artist. [Undergirding this is a question I haven't been able to confirm: is it possible to be a good person in life and in art or is it either/or?]
this piece from Filmmaker magazine
this interview with w/ actor and filmmaker Rebecca De Ornelas
*Note: this is only for me. Plenty of people are able to teach and do their creative work with no repercussion.