This post has been a long time coming.
It has been 5 years since I left the film industry. The first post on my blog is titled ‘Why I quit working in the film industry’ and has over the past few years resonated with thousands of readers so I know I am not alone.
I have found leaving the film industry very hard to talk about in the past. Talking about giving up on my dream career, admitting that I failed to achieve what I set out to do. These thoughts used to fill me with guilt.
As some of you reading this will know I used to want above all things to be a film director and I lived within that dream bubble for 8 years between the ages of 15-23. Film making was all I could think about, that was all that occupied my mind and I truly believed if I kept my eye on the prize, worked hard and kept pushing that nothing would stop me.
Life is not so straightforward. The truth is that dream had nothing to do with film and was created to provide escapism. For myself being a teenager with nothing to look forward to was depressing. My brain needed something to think about a project to work towards. I have always been the type of person that liked having a ’project’ to work on, I was ambitious and creative so film making was a good fit for my brain. A project I could potentially keep working on throughout my life.
When film making became my passion, it lit up my brain with good vibes and suddenly all I could think about was that one focus. I thought this dream would take me places and it did. If it wasn’t for film I would not have met my boyfriend, made many new friends and met so many different people. Film making gave me travel opportunities and introduced me to new cultures. I have had a more diverse life experience than a lot of people. Film has done a lot of good for me.
However the dream bubble did burst. I worked on film for longer than I should have convincing myself that any doubts I had about it could not be true. I ignored the voice inside me telling me that film making was no longer a good fit. I carried on working endless 16 hour days for months on end until I finally brunt out.
You might like to read - Why I decided to be a filmmaker
I quit film for so many reasons, the long working days and the lack of creative involvement I had within my job role (Script Supervisor). I have spent the past 5 years not quite sure how to explain my decision to leave, feeling ashamed and embarrassed that I could not live up to the dream I had.
Old friends ask why I gave up, anonymous emails tell me I am a failure and society keeps pressuring me to stop working altogether and get married. It’s frustrating when you don’t have an answer. I used to feel like I let everyone down that I wasn’t strong enough or talented enough to keep going.
For some people my life looks like a failure. I am 27 years old, not married no children, I rent a house and work part time in a fast food restaurant and I have this blog. Some people look at my life head on like that and think very little of it. It has taken time for me to see the positive side of how things have turned out. Life is not a straight line to success, I am happy with how my life is right now, I am independent, capable, surviving and this blog ‘project’ has given me something to work towards.
We are told growing up that ‘giving up’ is never an option. I have been ashamed to let people know before that my dream has changed, but the truth is I am very happy right now with my life. The stress I was feeling of working in the film industry, the loneliness of my department, the limited life experience I had when I pushed myself into this industry - perhaps it could never have worked out any better.
Right now I know some people will see me as a failure. I will still get the odd spiteful message online and someone might not talk to me at a party because they think someone with an ordinary job could not possible be worth their time.
Dealing with failure has been about dealing with my own mental health and how I place a lot of my self-worth on my career. Forging a career on how interesting other people find it, how much money it makes or how it pleases strangers is not a good starting point.
I have written this post to be a lot more honest and open about my career. I will still continue to write about the film industry, with plans to interview more filmmakers and re-start my YouTube channel later this year.
You can find me via Twitter here - @amyclarkefilms