Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thrust Head-First into Reality

Two weeks ago, I graduated from Syracuse University.  I am no longer a college student.

The transition was a bit delayed since I didn't actually move out of my apartment until last Friday, and then zipped off to Albany with Christine for the weekend.  I returned to Pittsburgh monday night, and am only now starting to get settled back into the house it no longer feels appropriate to call "home."

So now I'm on my own.  A college-educated, presently unemployed, adult living in his parents' house.  It's a perfectly expected and nigh-inevitable situation, but a sobering one nonetheless.

I have no idea why I'm writing this so formally.  I guess I just have some need to make it sound as important/scary as it feels right now.

In any case, here I am, trying to figure out how to make the transition and find some sort of job in my desired field, nebulously-defined as that is right now.  I have a few possibilities:
  1. Leverage my old contacts from my internship last summer to try getting more PA / low-level production work.
  2. Try to get into a post-production / visual effects house in Pittsburgh.  I've found a handful online, and this is definitely more what I'd like to do.  But I have no idea if I'm qualified enough, and I definitely don't have any "ins" anywhere.
  3. Start my own shop or do freelance videography.  I've thus far been unsuccessful in using my past unpaid and not-for-profit work with WDUQ and the LWV to springboard into additional work, and all conventional wisdom suggests that trying to start up a post house without first having experience working in one is a bad, bad idea.  (Not to mention, I obviously don't really have the capital to do it properly right now.)
  4. Throw my hands up in the air and just try to get any kind of job.  Best Buy, GameStop, Arbys... something, anything with a paycheck.
Of course, the other option I haven't mentioned yet is looking outside of this city for work.  Particularly, the standard-operating-procedure for my peers in my major to make a pilgrimage to New York, or especially Los Angeles.  For one thing, I'm not really enamored with the popular idea of moving to a very expensive city with the one-in-a-million hope of landing a fortune once you get there.  I'm also unsure I'm comfortable with the amped-up professional politics that seems to go hand-in-hand with working in either city.

But there's no denying the other reason.  It's true that my short-term life goals are now no longer just about finding a good job.  I want to find a job that not only allows me to enjoy myself, make a living, and start my own life... I also do not want to go on living about 500 miles (or more) from Christine.  She has a job in Massachusetts lined up for the summer, but come September her future is as uncertain as my own.  Pittsburgh is a city we both like, and has a relatively strong showing now in both film production (for me) and theater (for her).  It seems to be our "best bet" at the moment.

So that's where I stand.  I still haven't decided which of those bullet points is the best option at the moment, so right now, I'm going to try working on things that I need to do for any of them.  For now, that includes doing the necessary "phone interviews" with the Newhouse career center to complete their job search program and gain access to the alumni database, taking advantage of as many non-paying production stuff as falls my way so I can build my "professional" experience, continuing to do post work on my own to gain more familiarity with the tools (before graduating I picked up Lightwave 3D with my academic discount, so I can get back into that), and probably most importantly:  finish my demo reel(s) and my website, as they are liable to be my calling cards for most anything I might do.

I don't know where I'm going, but I need to get there soon...