Into The Great Wide Open

Hey there everyone, Jordan Mears here. Welcome to my blog space. Or, as I should say, welcome to Thunderdome! Once you enter, you won't leave the same. At least, I hope. You see, with my blog, I'm going to run the gamut in terms of what I talk about when it comes to films and filmmaking. Hell, I'm also going to throw in some life philosophy for good measure, and even share some personal struggles. Fun times. So, let's get started. 

So, you're into films and filmmaking? Perfect. Me, too. In fact, I have been since before I can remember. In fact, that love has pretty much set me on the trajectory that I'm on. 

Most people who are involved with films figure out at a young age that it's what they want to do with their lives. For me, it came after watching "Ghostbusters", "Wayne's World", "Jurassic Park", and so many others. It wasn't until I got older that I realized that I could do this for a living. It was a rad (I speak in retro slang a lot) revelation. 

With most people recently graduating high school and college, burgeoning filmmakers are going to have choices as to what they are going to do next - go to college or film school, go out into the work force, or get an even higher degree like an MFA. I have been through most of these things, and I can tell you it's no picnic. But for those going through it now, maybe I can help out. Even if it's just a little bit.

So, you just graduated, what's next? This is the question that literally everyone gets asked at one point or another. And no one really likes it. But, it is important. What is next?

I remember after I graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do, other than make films. But I didn't know how to go about it or where. So, I went to the college in my hometown, majored in creative writing. And I also hated my fucking life. Okay, maybe not that much. But I used my frustrations to create. I started making short films and experimenting with them. Then, I dropped out of college and went to work on some feature films. This was the best experience of my life. And an important step in the right direction. 

After working on those films, I made a few more of my own short ones. Each trying something new and branching out within the genre I was tackling. All of this happened within the span of about 7 months. It was afterwards, that I needed to figure out what my next step was. Do I take the road to Los Angeles, or do I continue my education, albeit at a place that offers film? I chose both, in a way. I transferred to a college with a film program, where I went on to grow as an artist and make multiple short films. Meanwhile, I was also able to travel to Los Angeles over a summer and work on a feature film. That opportunity opened my eyes up as to what it is really like to work on the independent side of things out there. I loved it. 

During the rest of my college career, I continued to work on various feature films on my free time and, by the end, I had a decent resume to show for it. After I graduated college, I went through some personal problems that I allowed to set me back. I should have just shrugged and carried on with my plans. But, I had to figure some things out and see through with some stuff. Almost two years later, and I feel like I'm back to my old self and where I left off. Life takes time. Don't rush it. Am I exactly where I want to be? Far from it. But, it takes time and planning. 

There is no one way to do or go about things, you will find out. Every path is different. Mine is different than yours, as yours will be more different than someone else's. So on and so forth. If you have just graduated from high school and are struggling with whether or not to go right out into the film work force, or go to school, I say go to school, BUT while you do, work on things; grow. Then, when you graduate, you will have experience, knowledge and a resume that will set you ahead from everyone. The reason I advocate school, is because it is a safe place for you to grow, fail, fuck up, explore, and find yourself.

Don't just focus solely on films and filmmaking either. Focus on life, friends and family. These things drive us and inspire our stories. We can't make things that people identify with if we never do them. We are students of life. So, another piece of advice I would give is to just live it up and seize every opportunity that you can. Don't devote all of yourself to your art. Let it fall into place.

Don't be afraid to go out into the world and make choices. We live in a time where there are so many to choose from and it can be overwhelming. Take your time, and gauge where the work is going to be. But also think about where you want to be and what you want to do within the industry. Then, formulate a plan. But don't stick to plans fully, because those change. Again, just go with the flow. 

When you do inevitably enter the entertainment industry workforce, don't be alarmed when you work for free. That's just how it goes. I did it for YEARS, and even ended up paying out of my own pocket. But, you must build up a rapport and resume. Once you have established yourself and your work ethic, you will start getting paid. I'm lucky in that now I actually have a rate.

Another piece of advice I have for you - be tenacious. Determination is key in this business. Everyone is trying to get a piece of that pie. Everyone wants in. Starting off, there will be rough times. For years. But, it gets better. It always does. You can't give up. This business will eat you up, spit you out, and then clean you up like you never existed. It's not nice. Don't be scared to jump in, though. Just know you're about to get into a boxing match. It takes a lot of guts climbing into the ring when you know you're going to take a beating. The same can be said about life. 

You see kids, life and filmmaking are a lot alike. They are both a lot of trial and error. On set, you deal with all kinds of setbacks and have to figure out the best way to get around them in order to complete everything on the schedule for your day. It's all problem solving. Curveballs are always thrown. Just like with real life. Situations arise and it is all in how we respond to them that will make the difference. 

You've picked an interesting industry to be a part of. One that is unique and unlike any other. It truly is the best. Whether you are a director, writer, gaffer, cinematographer, or production assistant, you bring something important to the table. Go after whatever position you want. Work hard. And never give up. Just don't solely become the things you want. That's a good way to lose yourself. And when you want to stand out and be an individual, your sense of self is the thing you'll need the most. 

There are nothing but endless possibilities in this life and in this industry. Remain humble and work hard. It's all up to you. Don't follow what others are doing, instead focus on what works best for you. So, go forth and make your dreams happen. 

Until next time,

Jordan