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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.

Does anyone have any advice? #career #film #director #screenwriter #entertainment #fear

I believe you can find a 'safe' job in the field close to movie making to pay your bills and pursue your dream in your spare time. There are so many opportunities for content makers on YouTube now and it's free! You just need to find something close to you that can also be interesting to thousands of other viewers. Don't do everything. Be the best in 1 or 2 things - that should be enough. And remember that for many people their job is a trade-off of what they adore and what they want to make. Denis V.

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Subject: Career question for you
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13 answers

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John’s Answer

Fear can be a gripping emotion and as such, it can be a terribly limiting factor in our lives. Fear of failure, for instance, can stop us from giving something a shot even though we might feel like we would be really good at it. How many stories have gone unwritten just because fear stopped people dead in their tracks? I am guessing, too many to count! Although fear is a natural emotion that has its uses in certain situations, it shouldn’t become a hindrance to your happiness and success. As the old saying goes, “The only thing you should fear is fear itself.” One of the easiest things that you can do to ensure that you never let fear hold you back from this point moving forward is to feel the fear and do the task anyways. As soon as you feel the fear, take action and get moving as quickly as possible. Unlike what a lot of people think, you don't need to have everything figured out and know every little detail before you get moving. It's great to prepare and have a plan, but once you do everything in your power to put yourself in a position to win, the next step is to become obsessed with taking action.

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:

One of the easiest things that you can do to ensure that you never let fear hold you back from this point moving forward is to feel the fear and do the task anyways. As soon as you feel the fear, take action and get moving as quickly as possible. Unlike what a lot of people think, you don't need to have everything figured out and know every little detail before you get moving. It's great to prepare and have a plan, but once you do everything in your power to put yourself in a position to win, the next step is to become obsessed with taking action.
Most of the time, “fear of failure” is actually “fear of the unknown” in disguise. Think about it, when you want to try something new, your mind immediately starts thinking about the “how”. When you lose sight over the reason you wanted to try it in the first place, fear takes over. Obviously, when you want to travel into unfamiliar terrains, you will come across… unfamiliar terrains! And yes, the thought of doing so can be scary. But, if you analyze in advance all the possible outcomes of your action, the fear will become substantially lower. The motto with this one is simple. Remove the unknown and fear is removed on its own. Also, when you’re debating in your mind, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” You’ll realize that in most cases, the worst is not as bad as fear had made it seem.
It is in our nature to want to be in total control of every situation. Of course, this is simply not possible. Life is dynamic and situations can change at the drop of the hat. This is also why many people have this fear of failure. Failure would mean exposing yourself to utter uncertainty. So, if you have a backup plan in case you do fail, you’ll remove fear from the equation altogether. You’ll go in with confidence thinking that even if the worst happens, you will have an alternative route to take. In fact, this is very strategic and if decisions involving finances and career are involved, it should be your default modus operandi. Always have a plan B.

Thank You Markus. FEAR has two meanings: 'Forget Everything And Run' or 'Face Everything And Rise.' The choice is ours. – Zig Ziglar John Frick

Thank You Clifton. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. – Mark Twain John Frick

Thank You Elizabeth. “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” – Erma Bombeck John Frick

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Markus’s Answer

Hey Tyler,

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:


Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. John Frick

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Blake’s Answer

Hey Tyler,

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!


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Eric’s Answer

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,

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Chris’s Answer

First off, fear is normal. It is what you do with that fear that will determine where you go next in life. You say your parents were "poor." It is quite a burden to take care of one child, never mind 10! Now that you recognize that, keep your eye on the prize. If this industry is what you want, then go for it. You will have to sacrifice some things. What are you willing to sacrifice? Not going out and drinking with friends here and there in order to make sure you have enough money to buy headshots, or take a day off for auditions? These are the types of decisions you will have to make.

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.

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Apurva’s Answer

Thank you for having the vulnerability to share your life story here. It takes courage and you have taken a great first step.

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.

Good luck!

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Mosammot saima sadia’s Answer

Thank you for sharing . I think you should keep a job beside study. meantime you can follow your passion through using Internet also you can take part any local opportunity. you can makes content what you want to work .makes a routine for it such as you can make 1 content within 1 week . do slowly but do regularly . Hope this will be helpful to you. Wish you all the best .All will be OK.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Tyler! First thanks for sharing your story with us, I remember your previous question as well so it's great to hear back on more! I think many of us are actually in fear, in fear of failing, maybe living the struggles our parents did, therefore it's normal to feel this way. Fear will always be part of us however it can also be the motive to drive us further as well; if we can overcome our fear we can do wonderful things! When I read your story it reminded me of Jim Carrey, his family was also very poor but today he is known as a very successful actor! He probably also had fears as well but he definitely kept going! Right now the fact that you are growing as an individual is amazing; I think being an EMT is excellent so definitely keep pursuing the class! Times may be tough but believe that things will get better! Don't give up on your dreams, if you become an EMT you can definitely earn money and start saving too, then with time you can return to college. It seems you have a very inspirational story and by not giving up I hope that one day you can tell the world how much you have striven. As for kids, of course it is your choice, but don't let your past or your fears dictate everything at this point, give yourself time because your feelings may change later on. I think this holds true for your fear of being poor as well, I know that sometimes it may seem you are going to live out your parents' life but this is not true; at the end of the day it isn't where we begin, it's where we end up. You have time Tyler, much of it, you are young and you are working hard and this will work off; I know that you may seem to fall into a learned helplessness as if your situation is not going to change but this if far from true. I would recommend to write things down about yourself that you are happy about, proud of or grateful for. This can lead to positivity in your life as you reflect each day on a positive experience you have-even though it may be a small one! From what I've read I have two things that you can include: 1).Even though you may not have been able to afford the schools you received acceptance too, you got into them and they were prestigious. That is a huge effort and one I'm sure required a lot of work. These committees have recognized your talents in your portfolio/application to admit you therefore you hold that talent and should not let it slide under the rug. Keep making movies and keep pursuing your dream even if it's little by little. Many successful directors, writers, and actors start small and in these small experiences they learn a lot! 2). You stated that you are clean and are in an EMT class and that is amazing. I also had a friend who struggled a lot and she didn't have support either but she has done so many beautiful things in her life. It seemed small to her but in my eyes it was wonderful. Sometimes we can't see the amazing people we are, or the wonderful things we do in our own eyes, but in the eyes of others this is evident. I'm sure that many are proud of you and how far you've come and the fact that you are still working hard.

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!

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Darlene’s Answer

Thanks for sharing your story! Knowing your challenges and limitations early on will be key to your ability to change course or jump on a different path, so kuddos!

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!

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nirma’s Answer

I can relate to some elements of your story.

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!

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Mona’s Answer

Your fears are perfectly valid, especially given the background that you have. While it’s probably very difficult to conceptualize given your experiences, a lot of people end up following “the money” and ultimately end up finding that they’re FAR from fulfilled from a dreams/career perspective. Your passion and desire to work in a certain industry/field shouldn’t be tied to the idea of financial prosperity. There are a lot of resources such as local scholarships, grants, etc. that you can research based on your demographic to help fund your passions and education. Should you want to pursue film school after all, there are certainly programs and supplemental support paths that schools offer, and although it can be daunting to ask the question and share your story, it is absolutely worth trying because there are people who want to help those in your situation.

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!

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Sabrena’s Answer

As others have mentioned there is plenty of opportunity to showcase your talent without emptying your bank account or leaving your job. Utilize YouTube and other online resources. Study what makes them profitable. Many people have their job that supports them financially while they pursue their dreams. Reach out to get some counseling on your fears. There is nothing wrong with talking through your concerns with someone that can help coach you through them. You don't want your fears to cripple you or restrict you from enjoying your life. If you feel that they are, it's ok to get help with that. Talking them through with someone can give you a different perspective. Even if you are not making a lot of money currently it's always good to get with someone to help you set up a budget. There are a lot of free resources to help with that. Once you have a budget that you are confident in, you will know what you can comfortably afford to spend your money on. It will also help you in determining how much you should save. Focus less on what you don't want to be and turn your attention on the path you want to take. You'll just stand still otherwise. It seems like you are already on a different path than the ones your parents took.

Sabrena recommends the following next steps:

Set up a budget.
Set some attainable goals towards your passion, for example, sign up for a Youtube channel within 30 days, post your first video using your phone in 60 days.

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Son’s Answer

Hi Tyler, first off thank you for sharing your story. Know that although you may look around and it seems like everyone has their lives together, that is never the case. Everyone has a different path and yours is uniquely yours. As you continue to grow professionally, you'll find that those hard times you had to endure ended up better equipping you for what challenges life brings you. Although I've had different challenges, I realize now that those tough times really are what helped me get to where I am today.

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!