Filmmaking is for Warriors: How to afford the good life

Filmmaking is for Warriors 3_2

“Why don’t you have Internet?”

I get that question a lot. I mean, I guess it’s valid here in the US. We act as though we’d die tomorrow without wifi. Gotta stay connected.

Let’s talk about dreams, then.

I decided to go to school for film. I did that knowing I probably would never make good money on it. I knew that. It didn’t bother me. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money and I didn’t yet understand what it’s truly like to live as an artist.

When you’re an adult, it’s all well and good to say “I’m an artist.” But when you go to the store to buy groceries for the week or when you get that inevitable rent payment reminder looming from the coffee table you have a choice: work hard and still do art, or live at home/with someone else and mooch for the rest of your life.

I don’t believe the latter choice is an option.

So. What do I do to be an artist and still live?

I work. First I worked in food service. Then in a gardening place. Then in retail. Then last year I found my current job – business writing – which utilizes all of the craft I’ve built up in writing for the past 15 years. I love my job. There’s no complaints about my job. I need this job to pay the bills.

But my job is not art.

Last year I pushed myself to create a film every month. I succeeded in making 11 films, 2 of which are sadly still in post. You can read about why I didn’t succeed in 12 films here.

I didn’t have the ability to pay anybody, I don’t have my own sound equipment, I didn’t always have access to real actors and we mostly made up our own lighting. On top of that; almost every single crew member and actor was either full-time in school or full time working or a mixture of both.

But we all made the time to create art.

How did we afford this good life?

We work hard. We make time. We pay our bills. We create good, solid relationships with other human beings who often help us out along the way.

But this post started with a very specific question – why my husband and I don’t have Internet at home.

A while back this thing happened called college. A decision was made to take out loans to pay for this good schooling. Those loans were a decision, made in full awareness that they would eventually be paid off, even if it took several years. There was never, nor should there be, any expectation that these loans would be paid by someone else or just randomly disappear. You don’t pay for a car and then expect to get the money back. You don’t pay for a Starbucks coffee and expect it for free, not if the coffee makes it to your hand.
A service was rendered, and that service had a price.

In our effort to pay off these loans and the new car that my husband chose, we have dialed back our lifestyle considerably. We’re attempting to continue dialing it back in the near future as well.

Here’s what we already do to save money:

  1. We live in a studio apartment. That’s one room and a restroom.
  2. We do not have Internet or TV at home.
  3. We are part of my family’s phone plan. I use an iPhone 4 that I got for $0.99 when I upgraded my plan in 2013, and my husband downgraded to an iPhone 3 over a year ago (I have no idea how it still works, blame good engineering).
  4. We don’t buy new clothes, or really any clothes, unless something is ripped, stained or necessary for work.
  5. We shop at Aldi. Although I should interject here that I have extensive, debilitating food allergies that prevent me from ingesting gluten, dairy, corn, most soy and some preservatives. If I eat these things I get very sick and am unable to work or function. Because of this we often shop at HyVee and Natural Grocers, which is expensive. I don’t recommend shopping like this if you want to save money and have the ability to eat normal foods (not talking about eating completely unhealthily, please don’t think that I want anyone to make bad food choices).
  6. I have the bare minimum health insurance and car insurance.
  7. My husband leads the way in donating money. This seems like a contradictory statement, but I’ve discovered that the more money you share, the more you suddenly have.

By doing these things, and probably some others I am forgetting, we are able to save a huge portion of our checks every month and work toward paying off debt. Because of these things we can afford to (over) spend on activities with our friends. Because of these things we can afford the good life, which is the artist’s life.

We don’t expect things to be free. We don’t expect things to be easy.

And those two pieces of wisdom, combined with a deep faith in an unfailing God, give me an artist life, the life that I always wanted since before college.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, questions or projects of your own!

A Special Report from an Internet Reader Near You: The Inevitable Generalizations

I will post a film by the end of this month.  It just isn’t gonna be posted today.

Today I have some words, and I apologize ahead of time for the swearing in the following meme.  I didn’t write it.  But I would like to comment on it.  Bear with me?

First impression: that’s so funny that autocorrect made that happen!  Now that kid doesn’t have a computer, haha!

My impression: Wow, what a dad who assumes his son a) got a girlfriend pregnant that fast and then told him through a text message and b) jumps to the conclusion that the girl is a “slut” instead of that maybe his son is a “slut.”

1.  This guy obviously doesn’t know his son well enough to even call and see if that’s the truth–

2.  AND/OR he knew his son was sexually active, but he hoped that his son used “protection.”  If the latter, then he shouldn’t have jumped to the conclusion that the girl was the “slut.”  And who’s he calling a “slut” anyway?  Why didn’t he call his son that, since his son is equally responsible in the creation of a baby?

Now let’s talk about “slut,” a term applied to a woman when she acts like a man.  Why does the girl get it?  Because she obviously corrupted the son into doing things that led to pregnancy?  If the dad thinks that what they did needs a derogatory term, why didn’t he call them both sluts?

Because he believes his son to be a “good” boy, even though he obviously doesn’t know him well enough or care about him enough to call when he got the crazy text.

That’s sad.

Next:

Or cupcakes that are better educated than other people, which may lead to uncomfortable situations.

The generalizations about homeschoolers are stupider than the generalizations about men and women.  There are some homeschoolers that are uncomfortable around other people.  There are some public schoolers that are uncomfortable around other people.  There are some homeschoolers who only socialize with people older or younger than they are.  There are some public schoolers that only socialize with people who are older or younger.

When I was in high school I was involved in 2 homeschool co-ops, a nationwide theater organization, I worked and I attended community college.  In middle school I was involved in 4 homeschool co-ops, choir, theater, art classes and soccer.  In elementary school I was involved with at 2 homeschool co-ops, choir, and art.  Even introverted as I am now, I liked being around people in most contexts.

Generalizations are often just the result of ignorance and unmerited superiority.  A father assumes his son is “better” than a woman and so bestows a derogatory term on her.

That and the need for everyone to be the same.  American media assumes that people who don’t get crammed into a stuffy building with a ton of other people their own age every day are less socially inclined.  Cause that makes sense.

We are not superior.  And we are not the same.