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Thread: How do people handle life after graduation?

  1. #1

    Unhappy How do people handle life after graduation?

    Hi everybody, sorry for this very long post. But I'm kind of lost and scared and need to vent. Advice is also appreciated.

    So I graduated from college back in May with a BA in visual arts with a concentration in film (please don't ask why I didn't go for a more useful degree), and surprise surprise, I still don't have a job...
    I've been searching and had a couple interviews this week and landed an internship with a local production company... But I decided not to go with it since they weren't going to pay me and I live 45 minutes away. I would lose money working for them. So now I feel like I'm stuck. One of my interviews resulted in some part-time or freelance basis work, and I have no idea what's going to come out of the other interview I had. Honestly, I hate not knowing what's going to happen! And over the past 2 days it all hit me like a ton of bricks. Last night I finally broke down and cried.

    A breakdown of all my thoughts from last night:
    - To get a good job, I need experience in my field. But in order to get experience, I need to get a job.
    - The only people that seem to really like my work are people who have started their own small production companies. While I support local businesses, working for one of these "companies" means inconsistent hours... which means inconsistent paychecks. I learned this during my internship last semester.
    - My school only taught me how to shoot with a DSLR. Fun fact: a lot of professionals shoot with much more expensive cameras.
    - My school also didn't teach me any editing software. I use Premiere Pro, only because that's what I learned in community college. Most of the places I've applied to use AVID or Final Cut 7.
    - So far only one major company in DC has an interest in me... Unfortunately they're also interested in my best friend. We both had interviews there this week.
    - What if I get this job in DC? I'm both excited and terrified to move out on my own.
    - School was my safety net, and it's gone.
    - I don't understand a lot of adult things. Being asexual, I don't get the appeal of sex... I don't get the appeal of alcohol. It makes me sleepy and turns a bunch of people into temporary idiots. I really don't get how people can BS their way into a job. I'm not a good liar, and I hate when people try to make themselves out to be something they're not. I like to retain as much innocence as I can and don't understand why so many people like to do "adult things."
    - Relating to the previous point. A guy that still goes to my school got a paid internship in NY with MTV. He likes to show off a lot and make it seem like everything he does is super great. I've seen a bunch of his videos, they're no better than what anyone else in the film program has put out.
    - A bunch of my friends are back at school with their scheduled weeks, knowing what's going to happen next, getting to create whatever they want with access to school equipment. And I'm here at home... on the internet... looking for work... not having an actual plan.

    Are any of you out there going though something similar to this? Or have you in the past? How do you deal with it? I'm specifically asking the ADISC community because its my inner toddler thats so freaked out about all this uncertainty and confusion.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piplup View Post
    But I decided not to go with it since they weren't going to pay me and I live 45 minutes away. I would lose money working for them.
    Sometimes a foot in the door and some resume-grade experience is worth it, not to mention a chance to show your stuff. Look at it as a continued education expense. Connections are also very important. Just having someone who knows who you are and the quality of work you do is a big thing.

    I got my first real job as a direct result of an (unpaid) co-op term I had done a year before graduating. Different industry (software), but I imagine same principle.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoundCoder View Post
    Sometimes a foot in the door and some resume-grade experience is worth it, not to mention a chance to show your stuff. Look at it as a continued education expense. Connections are also very important. Just having someone who knows who you are and the quality of work you do is a big thing.

    I got my first real job as a direct result of an (unpaid) co-op term I had done a year before graduating. Different industry (software), but I imagine same principle.
    I actually did have that thought process when I first started looking for internships after graduation. I can't really explain it, but something in the back of my mind kept telling me it wasn't worth it.

  4. #4

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    But I decided not to go with it since they weren't going to pay me and I live 45 minutes away. I would lose money working for them.
    I agree this was a mistake getting your foot over the threshold is half the battle. A lot of the time most companies will hire their interns if they turn up and do something useful. If at all possible I would urge you to take internships like this, you could try mentioning travel costs to the company if these are an issue.

    A couple of points:
    - Have a plan. It's very easy when your unemployed to loose focus and drift (I should know!). So sit down and decide what you want, what jobs are you looking for? will you move for a job (this will open a lot more opportunities)? will you take an internship in the hopes of getting a job? (see above) where are you going to find out about jobs? how often will you check? (and do it when you say) collect relevant information and CV etc you need to apply. Can you send speculative applications to companies?
    -When you're not hunting get out of the house and do things. you'll have lots of free time and it's easy to feel like you don't deserve to go out and do thing,s this is very unhealthy. You'll be happier and have more success if you plan you job hunting but make time to do things you like, meet people, go places.
    - Look at your job application technique is your CV as good as it can be? You should check with your school lots(most?) continue to offer students careers support after they have left, for life. So use them they have contacts and know about applying for jobs. You said you have difficulty in how you present yourself they can certainly give more detailed advice than i can but quickly. DON'T LIE. again DON'T LIE. There's a big difference between lying and presenting yourself well when you write a CV or go to interview. Practising presenting yourself well is worth it though.


    working for one of these "companies" means inconsistent hours
    -Yes but it also means gaining experience is it a necessary evil for a while?


    AVID or Final Cut 7.
    You can get 30 day trials of these software. Download them and spend the time intensively getting to know them. It's not a certificate but counts as experience for a CV and shows potential employers that you are motivated. In 30 days if you work hard you should achieve fairly good familiarity with the software.
    -moving out can be scary but once you've made the leap it can be very rewarding to really be making your own way in the world (even if you occasionally go home to get your washing done and get a home cooked meal.) To be frank, what's the alternative: are you going to be living at home when your 30? 40? 50? If you're going to move out one day why not today? It's scary but worth it. If you can find the money maybe you could get used to it on a trial basis like going for a self catering holiday somewhere you have friends? or more simply take more of a role in the house do more housework, laundry, cooking it's adult and tedious yes but you won't escape it forever no matter what you do.
    - regarding the asexual, T Total, AB things you need to stop looking at what separates you from everyone else and start looking for a way to connect. Do you like music? food? film? sport? chess? stargazing? tiddlywinks?... something? look for groups of like minded people in your area they exist for just about everything and most of them just enjoy hanging out and having fun. They're not going to try to get you drunk and get in your pants! Having a social circle beyond family and work is important as it gives you an outlet of unbiased people. It will also give you confidence which, to be absolutely honest, it sounds like it would be good for you. It will give you confidence when moving to new places that you are able to establish yourself and make a new support group wherever you travel.

    Anyway this is far too long so I'm stopping. Good luck with the job hunt! it's a rough job market and your certainly in good company being unemployed. Don't get depressed, make plans. Don't beat yourself up about it, you're allowed to have fun when your unemployed, just cheap fun.
    Last edited by begard; 30-Aug-2013 at 20:13.

  5. #5

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    I've never taken an unpaid internship, but I have done a lot of free work. It didn't take long to build up my connections. After working on a couple short films, and a music video, I suddenly had a big network of colleagues who were hooking me up with paid gigs. You have the benefit of having gone to school for film, which I never did.

    In the meantime I was doing anything for money. Mostly Photoshop gigs, and handyman work, but also a couple promotional video gigs I found on Craigslist.com. I used the money to buy a better DSLR, greenscreen, and a basic lighting kit, which helped me to get more jobs, and to film my own stuff for my portfolio.

    I still do free gigs from time to time if the project looks like it will net me good footage and more connections. It's all about networking.

  6. #6

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    Arts is about who you know and what kind of portfolio you have. If you can't find a job try doing work for someone shooting a small independent movie or, really, anything at all. Just make sure you know people in the industry and that you have plenty of stuff to show when you get asked what you worked on. Heck, volunteer if you have to, just build yourself a name so if a company needs a new employee your name might come up as a possibility.

    When you're job hunting who you know is incredibly important, so meet as many as possible and leave a good impression. And if you can't find a job, make your own stuff in the interval. Being a filmmaker is like being a writer: there is no such thing as an aspiring filmmaker. There are people who make films and there are people that don't. If you want a job as a filmmaker then you need to stop being an aspiring filmmaker and start making films in some capacity, even if you need a side-job on the side to keep you going.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by begard;1098531
    A couple of points:
    - Have a plan. It's very easy when your unemployed to loose focus and drift (I should know!). So sit down and decide what you want, what jobs are you looking for? will you move for a job (this will open a lot more opportunities)? will you take an internship in the hopes of getting a job? (see above) where are you going to find out about jobs? how often will you check? (and do it when you say) collect relevant information and CV etc you need to apply. Can you send speculative applications to companies?
    -When you're not hunting get out of the house and do things. you'll have lots of free time and it's easy to feel like you don't deserve to go out and do thing,s this is very unhealthy. You'll be happier and have more success if you plan you job hunting but make time to do things you like, meet people, go places.
    - Look at your job application technique is your CV as good as it can be? You should check with your school lots(most?) continue to offer students careers support after they have left, for life. So use them they have contacts and know about applying for jobs. You said you have difficulty in how you present yourself they can certainly give more detailed advice than i can but quickly. DON'T LIE. again DON'T LIE. There's a big difference between lying and presenting yourself well when you write a CV or go to interview. Practising presenting yourself well is worth it though.[/QUOTE

    -I'm willing to move. But I'd still like to stay fairly close to home. Like if I got that job in DC I would be more than happy to relocate.
    -Oh, I've been getting out of the house! There are a few friends I've been seeing a lot of recently. It has been nice to hang out and relax with people. But to be honest, I think I've been doing that a little too much.



    Yes but it also means gaining experience is it a necessary evil for a while?
    Aaaah, I probably should've elaborated on this one a little bit more! I am more than willing to do freelance/part time work for the small business owners I have connections with. I just know that it's only a temporary solution. In fact, one of my recent connections is going to pay me to teach him Premiere Pro. Oddly enough, he's moving away from Final Cut 7. Of course I'm not going to refuse his offer. And hopefully he'll have more work for me in the future.




    You can get 30 day trials of these software. Download them and spend the time intensively getting to know them. It's not a certificate but counts as experience for a CV and shows potential employers that you are motivated. In 30 days if you work hard you should achieve fairly good familiarity with the software.
    I actually started watching some YouTube tutorials about AVID today. I probably will download the free trial. Final Cut 7, on the other hand is very outdated and Apple doesn't even sell it anymore. I think the only way for me to get my hands on that program will be to get it through someone else.

    [QUOTE[moving out can be scary but once you've made the leap it can be very rewarding to really be making your own way in the world (even if you occasionally go home to get your washing done and get a home cooked meal.) To be frank, what's the alternative: are you going to be living at home when your 30? 40? 50? If you're going to move out one day why not today? It's scary but worth it. If you can find the money maybe you could get used to it on a trial basis like going for a self catering holiday somewhere you have friends? or more simply take more of a role in the house do more housework, laundry, cooking it's adult and tedious yes but you won't escape it forever no matter what you do.
    Don't get me wrong, moving out is exciting! But at the same time, being alone in an unfamiliar place is what scares me. I know I'll adjust over time. The reason for not moving out now is the lack on income. Once I start earning some money it would be great to find a place of my own!



    regarding the asexual, T Total, AB things you need to stop looking at what separates you from everyone else and start looking for a way to connect. Do you like music? food? film? sport? chess? stargazing? tiddlywinks?... something? look for groups of like minded people in your area they exist for just about everything and most of them just enjoy hanging out and having fun. They're not going to try to get you drunk and get in your pants! Having a social circle beyond family and work is important as it gives you an outlet of unbiased people. It will also give you confidence which, to be absolutely honest, it sounds like it would be good for you. It will give you confidence when moving to new places that you are able to establish yourself and make a new support group wherever you travel.
    As mentioned before, I have been hanging out with a lot of people. Most of them being my fellow film major friends from school. I also recently picked up a new hobby playing Pokemon TCG (Hehe I know, I'm a nerd ) And I've actually gotten 4 other people into it.

    Thanks for your help!
    Surprisingly, writing my initial post on this thread really helped clear my mind.

    Edit:
    I don't really know how I got quotes within quotes...
    Last edited by Piplup; 30-Aug-2013 at 20:52. Reason: typo

  8. #8

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    While I haven't attended college, I graduated high school two years ago and have yet to gain even minumum-wage employment. It IS depressing, I understand. I do volunteer work in a library once a week, but frankly the rest of the time I'm usually incredibly bored.

    The best advice I can give is try to keep busy. Work on a hobby, read, hang out with friends, watch movies, etc. What you can engage in will depend on how much money you have to spend (I have close to none) but you should be able to find something that will at least take your mind off things for awhile.

  9. #9

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    I know nothing about the film industry, but I will say this: it's totally normal to work outside your field while you try to break in. After five years of university, my first job was sorting auto parts. It sucked, but it kept money coming in. In my case, I volunteered while working to get in as a teacher, which took a lot of time (like, 60+ hour weeks for four months). But I finally got in, first temporarily and as of last week, permanently.

    I don't know how this translates to your field, but would it be possible to work doing...anything really, and do some film work on the side? Build up your portfolio while you apply. It'll be stressful and exhausting, but if you stick with it you may well get in. And that's what playtime as a little one is for, right? The ultimate in stress relief! Is this possible at all? It's probably the way to go.

    Also, I found this quote of yours encouraging:


    A guy that still goes to my school got a paid internship in NY with MTV. He likes to show off a lot and make it seem like everything he does is super great. I've seen a bunch of his videos, they're no better than what anyone else in the film program has put out.
    To my (admittedly untrained) eye, that says you've got just as much talent as someone who can work for the big networks. So...you've got all the skill! That's huge! Now you just need to get your name out there. Try and get a little work, even if it's sporadic. Do something to pay the bills. And if you push your work and stick with it, I bet we'll see your name up in the film credits someday (even though we won't know it's you, this being an anonymous forum and all). Good luck!

  10. #10

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    Shame about that film degree. I have a bachelor's in Television and Digital Media Production, and while it seemed like a great idea at the time, I later regretted it enough that I went and got a master's in urban planning.

    The thing about TV and really any of the creative fields like it is that you pretty much have to accept you're not going to make respectable money for awhile. Once you accept that and can figure out how to make rent, then you can start taking those unpaid internships. The unpaid internships in TV seem to be the best ones in terms of resume-building and experience, as well. Those are the ones where, since they aren't paying you, they can start to groom you to work for them, they can give you after-hours time on the gear or let you cut some simple projects for clients, and often they're the more notable houses in town. They're figuring that you're getting paid in name recognition (XYZ Post, which is one of the best post-houses in town rather than Blabla Company about which no one cares) and experience.

    Work on that demo reel, start doing whatever independent projects you can get in on, and market yourself if you have comparable skills to your peers. Get in on an internship, even if it's unpaid, at a high-end production- or post-house. Don't do what I did and take the paid internship because it was paid. That is an absolute dead-end road and will shoot your career in the foot before you even get going. If you have to, get a McJob and find roommates to make rent while you're doing your unpaid internship at a high-end production- or post-house. Take on whatever freelance gigs you can find. Hell, shoot weddings if you have to! Several of my former classmates do photography and wedding video in addition to their day jobs. A wedding shoot can pay your rent for a Saturday's work, and if nothing else it keeps you behind a camera and in an editor's chair.

    Also, keep current on tech and take time to learn new software. That's important in any field, but it is absolutely imperative in TV/Film. Keep current on what new cameras and formats and software suites are coming out. Get your hands on a version of Avid and start learning it, and not just simple cuts and stuff, but the color correction tools, audio tools, and all the stuff that you'll only use once in awhile and only on high-end pieces. Hell, learn it and use it on those wedding shoots I mentioned a moment ago.

    A little trick, speaking of software: Once you know the functionality, it's just a matter of finding the controls. If you've learned Premiere well, then you can figure out Avid. It's just learning the controls and where they are. Premiere, Avid, Final Cut are all very robust setups and can do most of the same things. The differences are in control locations and workflows, not the functionality of the software.


    And finally, I wish you good fortune! I know the position you're in, as I'm striving to find a job after finishing my master's in May. I've been working to start my own real estate development business in the meantime, but I'm running out of money and the bills are still coming in. My final piece of advice: Don't be scared to take a McJob or something to make ends meet while you're getting yourself off the ground. BUT! But, have an exit strategy if you do that! I have several friends that have fallen into the trap where they get a retail job "just to make ends meet" while they find a job in their field or save up money to finish school, and they're all still there. They never found another job or finished school. They didn't have an exit strategy. If you find yourself in the position where you have to take a McJob or retail job, HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY!

    Again, good fortune!

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