The Top Of The Ladder?by David Brownstein
Lights, Camera, Action
There's an amazing all encompassing high that occurs when we're working on a show.
I think especially on that bizarre journey called production i.e. being on the set and shooting something, where we enter this altered state and it's all about getting the shot, making the day and wrapping early enough to get some sleep before the next crazy, exciting, stressful, magical day.
It can happen in a great development job, editing job, writing job or the launch of a company or a network or whatever.
but Then It’s Over and What Now?
Looking for that next job? That next creative inspiration?
Even for those of us who've been on a roll. Had a hit, or more.
A success whether commercial or critical or just a good gig where we couldn't wait to be back to work the next day, tired as we were.
We in the entertainment industry are always wondering "What's next?"
What's around the corner?
What's going to sell in the current market?
Have I made enough money to get out of the business? Have I made enough money to get INTO the business? Have I written a good enough project to sell? Have I written a good enough project to direct it? Have I made amassed enough power to make a project I really truly love?
And to the Outsider…
And to people outside the business it might seem like we've really made it. "Civilians" (as Viki King calls them) look at us and say "oh, you're living your dream," or "oh you get to meet and work with the beautiful and powerful people."
And while both are true, at times, that in itself is rarely a comfort.
Our inner monologue might go "Yeah, but I don't know what my next job is" or "but you wouldn't believe what that person's like when the camera isn't rolling."
It's A Strange Dilemma
We ARE living our dreams and lives of our own intentional creation, but in total it may not feel like we wanted it to feel.
We might be standing next to so and so with a clipboard or a script or a contract but it doesn't have the superficial romantic coolness of what it may look like to civilians.
And the rich and famous and powerful and successful likely have their moments too.
It looks and sounds great to be able to green light a picture but it may not feel like they thought it would feel either.
Maybe they're wishing they could spend more time with their family, or more time creating a family or more time doing who knows what.
Yoga? Sleeping Late?
Drinking a coffee and reading the newspaper?
There's always a hunger and divine UN-satisfaction that keeps us moving, wondering, striving and on the look out for the next thing.
We can go two directions with that and both are good.
ONE is learn to appreciate the little things, breathe a bit slower and more deeply, even in stressful situations.
Find the humor and divine comedy in the absurdity. Recognize that for better or worse in this moment…
"This is What My Life Looks Like"
"This is the experience I've created and this is my emotional response to it and the people around me."
"This is what the outside world sees and thinks and this is how I feel about what's really going on."
Remember to love and appreciate your career journey no matter how bizarre. And remember to learn from it as well.
The Other Direction
…is to use the dis-satisfaction as a motivator. See the hunger for something else as also divinely inspired.
Feel and use the force, Luke.
Recognize that if you've reached a success in something once, you can likely do it again.
The Top Of The Ladder?
There's a quote from Robert Johnson's book "Transformation" in which he speaks of people unsatisfied in their career who feel as if they'd "reached the top of the ladder, but leaned it against the wrong wall."
I think that's great. And the gift of reaching that top of the ladder, whichever wall it's against, is that we've both learned to climb (an important skill in itself) and that now we have a different view.
We can see higher, better, further and we know what it's like to have climbed. And we also know what it's like to have climbed and climbed and reached the top and found it both wonderful, and lacking at the same time.
Enjoy The View
Learn to enjoy the climb, and the new view from the top, and get familiar with the joy, fear and uncertainty of charting a new course have succeeded in one important leg of our quest.
What have you learned from where you are on your journey?
What's your next mountain to climb?
What new challenge is calling to you?