‘Hard Work Pays Off? So Does Creativity!’ : The Ramblings of a Third Year Film Student

So I’m currently in my final year of university in the UK. I study film production. Did I always want to work in film? No.

Whenever anybody used to ask me what I wanted to be between the ages of around 7 to 11, I’d answer “I want to be like my dad”.

“I want to be like my dad”

Why? Why is it as children we generally aspire to follow in our parents footsteps? I’m sure I’m not the only one and I know that not everyone would aspire to be like their parents, but let’s make a brief assumption and target the sector of people that this applies to.

My parents have always been hardworking individuals, much like most of the British Public. As a kid growing up, I had a stay-at-home mum who drove me insane (although I will add that I’m sure my behaviour effected her sanity too) and a dad who worked 6 day weeks at work, missing a few birthdays and school plays here and there, but worked to give me a privileged upbringing which to this day I’m incredibly thankful for.

My Dad didn’t do well in school. His story begins with him not turning up to school, not picking up his GCSE results and starting work as a petrol pump attendant. He has always had the desire to work, just not in a studio way. He is currently the director of a large UK based Car Sales company. One of the very few stories which I can take from the statement “Hard Work Pays Off”.

This hard working ethos has been installed into me since I began school. My Dad didn’t want me to have to struggle for work and effectively work my way up the chain as he did. I wasn’t the most well behaved student, in fact, I found myself in the Headmaster’s office on my first day of secondary school, probably a sign of my rebellious nature which was to come. Despite this though, I always worked hard and never received any punishment for homework or study based matters.

Now I guess you might be wondering where this brief recollection is going? Well, I was always pushed towards academic subjects, excelling in Maths, Business, Economics. Subjects like these are seen as metaphoric goldust on CV’s these days. We are told during our teenage years especially, to get a good job, these will always stand you in good stead, but for what industry? To get a well paid office job in a good company working a 9–5, 5 days a week schedule is deemed as success. Now I am by no means saying this isn’t. In society we need these people, we need hard working individuals who are good in academic work environments, hell, if I continued I’m sure by now I’d be working somewhere around here and be completely unaware of what I’m doing now.

Question is though, is this right? Is this what should happen?

Well yes and no, but all it takes is a spark to set off a new firework, one that looks completely different to the last.

In my last year of A-level studies at Sixth Form, I decided to completely redirect my attention to a subject I found the previous year to envoke my interest far more than anything else I’d ever worked towards. This was Media.

I loved the fact you didn’t have to do the same mundane tasks every day. That there was always something new and exciting to do. That projects would be constantly changing and the amount of planning involved led to a visual piece of art which is so incredibly understated by audiences, it’s beautiful to see the result.

There was always something new and exciting to do

When my decision was brought up to go to University to study film production, my parents didn’t take too kindly to it. Why am I tarnishing my years working hard to go and make films? (I will note this was brief, they came around!)

Within the school curriculum there is very little room for manoeuvre away from the list of Maths, English, Science, Technology….you see where I’m going with it.

One year of trying something new and I found myself completely repositioning what I want to do in life. It stopped me from going down a career path of doing something I’m just good at, to something that I love and enjoy. Why is it that the creative arts are not encouraged as strongly as Maths is? Why is it students sit on chairs learning Sin, Cos, Tan when they could be creating a sculpture? Or learning how to edit video files? Or learning Music Production?

I know this is available to students, but in my experience, all too briefly. I would have 11 sessions of Maths for every 1 of a creative subject.

Creativity seems like it’s being sifted out of the school curriculum. We follow theories and theorums that are already proven but creating something brand new tends to take a back step.

In my 3 years at university I have been able to make what I want, discover when things work and don’t and effectively create things which have never existed before. It’s inspiring! When I explained my experience to younger friends who were currently in school still a few years back, they get so excited at the opportunity to make something unique and special!

Now I do understand that I have used elements of my previous linear education, but more diversity has allowed me to expand and work even harder in a field I’m passionate about to. I guess with this ramble I’m saying, do not just do what you’re good at, especially if it’s the only thing you’ve known. Search, experiment and find a vocation which can get you truly inspired to get up in the mornings! I have and am currently working harder than ever with the desire to show that creativity can work as a career path and a successful one at that.

I am a few months away from leaving university and I have no idea what I’m going to end up doing but this year alone I’ve set up my own media production company (http://www.showcasemedia.co.uk) and am looking to turn it into my full time job!

I’d definitely check out this link and read some of the articles? Theres some excellent stuff!

Also check out a TED NPR Podcast called “The Source Of Creativity”, if you have an hour chilling, it’s well worth a listen!

Please work hard, but give a moment to be creative, you’ll be amazed at how much happier and easier that hard work will become!

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