My severe fear of being poor for the rest of my life, is prohibiting me for going after my dreams. What can I do?
I come from a very poor family. I'm the oldest of 10 kids, and both my parents work blue collar jobs. We were absolutely broke. We didn't have a working car until later in my life. They couldn't afford to pay bills. We got christmas gifts from our local church. We struggled.
Growing up, I knew that I wanted to make movies. Movies were the only thing I had. I felt like they belonged to me. Movies babysat us children.
I got into severeal prestigious film schools after HS and couldn't afford any of them. My parents were poor with bad credit. This sent me down a dark path full of addiction. I got terrible grades in community college, because I was too drunk. I'm now clean and sober, and trying to salvage the rest of my life.
I'm 21 and I have a severe fear of being poor for the rest of my life. It keeps me up at night. I can't spend money like a normal person. Bills and everyday expenses send me into an anxiety inducing headspin.
I'm someone who wants to do it all in movies. I want to direct, write, act, produce, etc...All professions that have no safety net. I could spend the next 20 years of my life poor, waiting for someone to give me a chance.
College is now out of the question. I'm currently in a 1 year EMT class, and i'm doing pretty well. I figured it would hold me over until I can see a future in film.
I have made short films. I have written screenplays. I have acted on stage and in short films. All through the past 5+ years. I have some experience. I'm just afraid.
I don't want to experience the feeling my parent's did when raising us. I wouldn't want to have kids. That's too painful.
Failure is often seen as the end; that your journey somehow ceases to exist if you’ve failed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are countless proofs throughout history for this. The most popular example is perhaps Thomas Edison. We all know him as the inventor of the light bulb. However, most don’t know that he failed 1000 times before finally inventing it. Can you imagine his grit? To be able to fail that many times and still keep going? The thing is, you have to see failures in a new light. Start viewing them as stepping stones to your success. Failures are opportunities to learn and become wiser. In fact, while commenting on his failures, Edison said, “I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Find a Mentor Tyler, pick ONE person you admire or who could serve as a role model or mentor to you. Ask them about their failures and what they've learned from them. Take note... did their accomplishments and joy in achievement outweigh the risks and potential failures? How did they develop greater depth?
Failure is learning. Failure is growth. Failure is passion.
I hope this was Helpful Tyler
John recommends the following next steps:
As cliché as it may sound, the first step is acknowledging your fears. I think you will find in life that it is not uncommon for every single person to have some sort of insecurity. This is perfectly normal and what makes us human. I have been "poor", I put parenthesis because this is defined differently by everybody, and have been perfectly happy. For example when I was in college, I could barely afford to eat but it was some of the most fun I have every had. I cannot deny that money does make life easier to a degree but I think it is very very very important that you realize at a young age that money does not equal happiness. If you stay positive and truly feel that life will work out, then I think you will find yourself attracting success. This has been my experience anyways.
If bills worry you, make a budget and live within your means. There is a really good pre-made budget spreadsheet on google sheets that I use. Bills, for the most part, are predictable. When surprises arise, handle them like you would anything else. Stay calm and understand that it is temporary. Life tends to work itself, don't fight the current.
If you don't want to live life like your parents did then don't. Make a goal and focus on that goal. Take rational steps to achieve that goal. Realize that 99.99% of people don't get rich quick or attain success quickly. It is usually done through deliberate small steps that can hardly be noticed in the moment. Enjoy the present and realize that life is a journey.
Good job asking the question. I think a big part of my financial success has come from being proactive and taking a step every day. Remember that financial success is only a piece of the puzzle. There is a lot more to life that needs to be focused on as well. If you stay positive and balanced, I think you will move in the direction you wish to go. Keep up the good work and stay positive!
I have attached a link below:
You're 21 years old with an entire life ahead of you. There are people that don't get what they envision as their "adult career" until well into their 30's. Christoph Waltz didn't make it "big" until he was 51. James Gandolfini didn't make it big until he was 38 years old. I would try and steer away from the mentality that you need to have "made it" by any certain age. I will say that if you're passionate about movies, then don't stop trying. Now, that doesn't mean that bills don't exist or will stop, because they won't. That just means that you will need to figure out paying bills as well as developing your film career (which is going to be a lot, but you can do it).
So, in the mean time I think you made a good choice with the EMT class, as that can turn into a higher paying job. I would set long-term and short-term goals. If not being "poor" is your number one goal, then you need to make sure that your short-term goals are aligning with your long term goals. So for instance, I would first address what steps you're making to increase how much you save. I understand that you are having a hard time with bills as it is, but set a goal (it's more about meeting a goal). Even if that's saving one dollar per week, that is a start. Next, decide what it is that you're saving for. In the current economy and condition of the world, traditional "college" is changing more than ever. However, I do think that you should attempt to go back to community college to get a trade skill (i.e. welding). These can yield high paying jobs and are significantly cheaper than standard 4 year colleges. If you make learning the trade your long-term goal, then you can set your short-term goal ($1 per week) towards saving for a semester of tuition.
I know that this isn't the most exciting answer, but it's important that you understand that you can get out of this. It's not going to be as easy for you as it has been for others who had their school paid for etc. but that is a decision that we all have to make. We can take the hand we are dealt, or we can deal our own hand. Keep it up, you can do this! Asking the question is the first step!
It is a great sign that you are seeking answers about economic freedom in a forum such as this. As you continue to reach out and communicate your needs in this manner opportunities will become available throughout your life and career. I can't promise an easy path but, if you put in the work early in your career / education, then you will see opportunities become more and more abundant.
Despite the circumstances of your upbringing, the reality is that there is great upward mobility of income over the years of one's career. The storied economist Thomas Sowell says it succinctly: "Most working Americans who were initially in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent".
You, no doubt, have talents that are unique to you. Focus on strengthening those talents, inasmuch as you have passions to do so, and you will see the path to economic freedom become more and more visible.
All the best,
I agree with people that say make a budget. I also think that we have been taught that this is an unstable industry. Try to look at it like a second job. Work to support yourself, but then push yourself out side of your day to day job to continue to create. I have an actor friend who is a paramedic and one is a firefighter. They work the three days that they are least likely to have auditions and then never call in, never give them a reason to think you aren't there ready to work, and when you need to take the time off to be on set, they will support you and even play your tv shows at the firehouse.
Nothing is stable anymore. Just keep working. But you have to be always willing to pivot into other jobs, and always be prepared when your acting industry jobs come up. There will always be someone else who wants it more. I suggest you be THAT person! Keep us posted. and go get them. We need more of you in this industry.
I admire your passion and love for film - in a short time you've already done so much! I would say leverage online platforms like this to get your story out and keep doing more and more work in the area you love - filmmaking. Success will follow you - as there are many people who can relate to your story. Build your audience, work on your craft, people will notice.
You are young and still have so much life to live - you are not a victim of your past nor will that define you unless you allow it to. Keep working hard and sharing your story - we all have a superpower and ability - you have found yours - keep honing it and working on it, that's your best bet forward.
Life holds many doors don't let past mistakes or struggles define your life right now. Keep working hard!
I hope this has helped! I truly wish you the best!
I don't know much about the film industry, though I do know that there are hundreds of unions that staff many jobs in the Film business. I have a friend who joined one of these unions and is now helping to make movies in many different areas. He makes movies for HBO, Netflix and many other large networks and streaming services. He has done construction, lighting, and many other things with little to no experience, building an arsenal of talent. Now he has gotten a few 'waivers' making him eligible to act in some of these movies and series that he makes. He sits in the same room as directors and film crews, and has gotten great exposure to actors and others.
It may not be the dream job of movie producer or A-level actor, but none the less a truly exciting, rewarding job that is fun to go to everyday with a fantastic Union-style paycheck and benefits!
I wish you luck in your path ahead!
There are a lot of good answers here. Just want to add a few more points:
Sounds like you want two things...financial success, and dream fulfillment. You have options.
First off, a huge congratulations on doing well with your EMT class. You made a great step to being financially comfortable. Small steps accumulate to big things. You are getting there!!
As for financial success.....have you defined what this means to you? Is it having lots of money, or is it just having enough to pay bills and buy food? If you haven't asked this, I would say try to answer this, and maybe you can start mapping your financial goals from here on. There are finance classes you can take to learn more.
You have made it this far....you are a survivor. You've experienced things that you already know you don't want for yourself.
Regarding the entertainment industry.....(and I always tell my son this same thing) you might be able to get your foot in the industry by taking a related entry level job. Sometimes leaping into the sky can make you fall hard, instead of climbing a ladder. Think of all the openings you can step into, to get to where you want to be. Do you want to try being in the production team of a show ,cameraman, assistant, etc?.... Try researching a fitting starting role. Maybe these can help you get connections you need, or you may find these positions fulfilling in itself. You are still pretty young (probably heard this before). I'm in my mid-thirties and picking up dream hobbies that I had abandoned in my mid teens. There's a magic to life in that sometimes you don't know what you will stumble into when reaching for something else.
Hope this helps a bit!
My brother experienced a similar situation to yourself, his passion was in film however we come from a family of artists who experienced financial struggle because they chose their passion over a more stable career-path. To gain exposure to the film industry, he began working in ad-firms and gained exposure to production teams, processes, etc. After doing this for a few years, he started his own production company and is now creating ads for large tech companies globally. He uses the money he makes from his day job to then fund his own personal films and has found that doing these in parallel has allowed him to both fulfill financial needs and also his passion.
Don't give up on your passions, you can always find creative ways to achieve your dreams!
Sabrena recommends the following next steps:
Don't let fear cripple you, trust me. We worry so much when a majority of the things we worry about never end up happening. Take it one step at a time- you said you want to get into movies. Start writing. Start jotting down those ideas and harnessing the creativity. From there, as cliche as this sounds, network. Networking has a bad rep because of the name, but think of it as just meeting people. Is there any sort of improv group or theatre group in your community? Luckily too, the realm of social media gives you connections beyond your geographical location. Start talking to people who share the same interests. You could also maybe try just doing some cool shorts on YouTube or even Instagram stories to gain some traction.
Also, in the meantime with money, just work what gets you money. I think sometime we glamorize work as a society, but work doesn't always have to be your passion first. Doing a retail job or restaurant job will pay the bills while you are harnessing your creativity and working towards becoming a movie maker.
I want to leave you with one thing- your work does not define you. Your bank account does not define you. You are worthy of any opportunity, so just keep you're eye on the prize and remember you are deserving of anything you want to do. Sometimes you just need to work a little to get there. Wishing you the best of luck and sending you lots of love!