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Juggling a Day Job

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TL;DR: Figuring out the best way to accomplish your dreams while earning a living is one of the most difficult tasks a filmmaker must conquer. Here are some steps that we take to do so.

It's Not Ideal

It’s a filmmaker’s dilemma. How does one juggle a day job while pursuing the Hollywood dream?

Trevor and I have been extremely lucky to land ourselves a decent day job that is within the industry, but that wasn’t always the case.

Prior to working on Larry King Now, Trevor was working at USC and I was freelancing around as a designer and videographer, having just left a job at an international sales agency.

So we feel pretty lucky to have wound up in our current position. That being said, it’s not our goal to make talk shows or reality television. We find ourselves constantly talking about “getting out” and moving on to the next thing and having to work late nights and weekends on our own projects.

This can be really tough when you have a wife or significant other.

So What's the Secret?

The truth is, we don’t know. But here’s some of the best stuff we’ve come up with to help keep us motivated and in line.

Find a partner.

It can be extremely beneficial to find someone who shares your same perspective on filmmaking to work with. That way you can keep each other motivated and work through problems together, knowing that you aren’t going at it alone.

Make a set schedule.

One of the biggest difficulties for me as a person with an irregular schedule is making the time for things. I’ve always been a big proponent of having a ritual and a schedule. But, when your day job is completely flexible and could have you working at any time of the day, any day of the week, that can be hard.

So, find a consistent time or day to work. For us, it’s Tuesdays and Thursdays from whenever we get off work to about 10pm.

We choose to work later knowing that some days we won’t get into the office until about 4pm.

Set goals.

This is something you hear all the time in those productivity books and what not. Set realistic goals.

That’s fine and dandy, but when everything is up in the air and you have shiny object syndrome, how do you ever complete the goals that you set?

One thing that has helped me is journaling. I started journaling after I heard about it on a podcast and came across this cool journal company called BestSelf. It allows you to plan out specific goals and give yourself a reasonable timeline to do so.

By getting in the habit of writing in the journal, I have also gotten in the habit of completing the goals that I put in the journal. Strange how that works, huh?

Think about the big picture.

Sometimes we get so caught up with what is right in front of us that we lose sight of the big picture.

This is a lesson I learned years ago when taking a drawing class. If you get so zoned in, you can think that you are getting a lot done and doing amazing work, but when you finally step back you may realize that what you did doesn’t actually fit with the rest of the image.


So it’s important to step back often and make sure that you are focused in on the right things and creating a well-rounded picture of your ideal outcome.

Keep At It

The biggest dividing factor between those who make it and those who don’t is quite simply perseverance. 

Some will tell you it’s all about who you know. That foot in the door will only get you so far. If you don’t have what it takes to keep on keeping on, you won’t get anywhere.

So keep at it. We are with you.

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About Us

Alex Darke

Alex Darke

Alex Darke is best known for his work as the Director of Photography for the Emmy-nominated television series "Larry King Now" and "Politicking with Larry King" as well as numerous other television and digital projects. Prior to that, Alex worked in distribution and international sales, attempting to uncover the secrets to making money in the film industry. Realizing that the industry is crumbling under the pressure of New Media, he has turned to Cinema Summit to explore alternative options for achieving his goals as a filmmaker.

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