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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old January 24th, 2004, 01:42 PM   #1
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What to do with my life?

Hello Everybody,

First off, I would like to thank everybody very much for your invaluable input on my previous forums. I would also like to add that this forum is an invaluable tool and has taught me so much. Okay here is my question, I am a sophomore at Tesoro High School and am deciding what to do with my life. I am a very talented young man who has an entrepreneurial sprit and I thoroughly enjoy working with cameras and computers. I currently own a paintball company and have created many small business ventures. My GPA is about a 3.0 weighted and I take Honors and AP classes. I have a consistent flow of cash coming to support my needs and my parents will put me through any college of my choice. What would you do in this situation? Would you go to college or spend the four years starting up a small production studio? Would you focus all of your energy in school so you get accepted into any college or learn as much as you can about film in high school? Also, what college would you go to if you had any choice? I would also appreciate it if you would mention how you came to a film-related profession? What mistakes you made and what you would have done differently? I would like to thank all of you very much for your valuable time and would like to add that your opinions may be heavily weighted and read by my parents.

Cheers,

David Applegate
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Old January 24th, 2004, 02:14 PM   #2
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I'd finish highschool, taking as many business, marketing and accounting classes you can get.

Then I'd forget all about video production and grow your paintball business, whatever it is. The video production industry is very competitive and already mostly established throught North America. Paintball however, is on the verge of entering mainstream sports. If that happens, the paintball industry will probably triple and people in key markets will become rich, rich, rich...

What kind of paintball business do you do now?
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Old January 24th, 2004, 02:23 PM   #3
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Congratulations David, you have the whole world on a string! Keep up the good work. My only advice would be to continue your schooling and go to college. Dylan's advice is very practical, and I certainly respect that. But I guess my perspective is a little different, remembering my own youth plus some 10 years teaching at the college level.

I would encourage you to keep your mind open to all the possibilities around you. You already seem to be interested in a wide variety of things. While you may feel that you have your future course charted now, I wouldn't start casting anything in stone. The sophmore year of high school is just too young for that. Ok, there are some exceptions... for example if you wanted to be a ballet dancer, opera singer or concert pianist then you would need at least that much depth of training.

But in your case I think you should continue broadening your horizons, meeting new people and going new places. College is a great opportunity for that; you'll make lots of new friends and have lots of fun along the way. And you might even learn something! Don't get too hung up on career choices at your age, have some fun and broaden your overall knowledge. You will continue to find applications for what you learn in college throughout the rest of your life.

Just my $0.02 worth...
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Old January 24th, 2004, 02:57 PM   #4
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Well I can let you know what I deem to be a mistake I made. I just recently graduated from college with an electrical engineering degree, and now I wish that I had attended a film school instead. When I was looking for a college career path, I was interested in both film and engineering, and I was in to special effects so I thought with an EE degree would be a good way to get into that. However, since then I've grown to realize I want to be involved on the production side of things and wish I had gone to film school to make connections with people.

Now, do I save up money and try to get into a graduate film program or make my own movie...

Cheers,
Brian
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Old January 24th, 2004, 03:30 PM   #5
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well david i felt compelled to reply to you because you remind me of...me! When i was 15, i did repairs on paintball guns and had a paintball field on my parents land. while this was never really much of a business, i then got involved in selling some stuff on ebay (cameras actually) and through that and my parents support, bought a camera.

i soon graduated from high school, and went on to a state university. while i was a freshman, i did two things: school, and weddings. i have ended up forming a company and have made it enough to require to incorporate, take out insurance, etc. basically what i am able to do, is concentrate all my money from weddings back into my business to help it grow. i am lucky, like you, because my parents pay tuiton and rent, so i dont have to worry about that.

i still go to school for two reasons. 1st, if you ever want to be a director, you really should go. directors in hollywood are smart. seriously. they know literature, they know politics, religion, economics, psychology.... thats how they are able to write scripts. you cant write a script about the american revolution if you have no idea what it is. while there are other ways to learn this information, college is a fantastic way, and all my ideas for short films have thus far come from what i have learned in class.

so my advice to you, david, is to do both! you can have enough free time in college to both go to school, and do film. just dont try to be pre-med (yes i was pre-med for a while, now that was TOO much). by the way, i am just a sophmore now, so, take my advice for what its worth....

GOOD LUCK, and DONT EVER QUIT. (jonathan now gets off his soap-box)

p.s.- tell your parents you love them. it took me a long time to realize how lucky i was to have parents who gave me so much.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 03:58 PM   #6
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The replies before me have covered some great points, so I'll try my best to add to them.

It wasn't too long ago when I was in your exact position, except for the paintball business. AP, honors, high GPA, and lots and lots of stress over what I was going to do with my life.
After being accepted to GMI, I was on my way to becoming a mechanical engineer. But I couldn't come up with the funds and ended up at a local community college. That was a huge slap in the face at the time, but I'm thankful for it now. Eventually that lead to changing schools, again right before heading off to engineering, and a new major in broadcasting. In the transfer, I lost some credits and ended up with another 3 1/2 years (total of 5 1/2) in school. And I like where I ended up.
My point here is that I had my whole life planned out during my sophmore year of highschool, then turned a total 180. That gives you a little background of my experience.

The beauty of today is that you don't need a college education in order to succeed, but it sure does help. When I was in school, my view was always, "Its either 4 years attending college, or flipping burgers at McDonald's... take your pick, and remember the rest of your life depends on it." Fortunately that's not at all the case. You don't have to take a full load for 4 years. You don't even have to go right away. My philosophy is, give it an honest effort for 2 semesters. If its for you, keep going. If not, then you've learned something and will hopefully consider returning if it comes up in the future.
You mention contemplating college, paintball business, or video production business. I noticed that all of your questions used the stipulation "or" and not "and." Why not do all three? Paintball is definately a growing business and it sounds like you've got a great deal going. You enjoy producing videos, so integrate that into paintball. That's the same way skate videos got started.
You still have almost 2 years left of high school. At this point, college is good to think about, but don't stress out over it. High school is taking up a lot of your time. After you graduate, all that time will open up, so you could fill that with a few classes, while still preserving time for video and paintball.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 04:10 PM   #7
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I have been reading all of your comments and really enjoyed them. I cannot express the joy I get from reading what professionals like you have to say. Thank you again, keep on replying.

Cheers,

David Applegate
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Old January 24th, 2004, 04:15 PM   #8
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I change my advice:
Go to college, take courses in business, accounting, marketing no matter what you do. The biggest regret I have about my schooling is that I didn't, and if you want to do a video production company or a paintball business, these are just as important as your shooting skills (marker or camera).

Also, college is a great place to network. It's almost worth going just to meet people (and girls).
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Old January 24th, 2004, 06:12 PM   #9
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Well I can't add too much. But all I can say to you, is stop analysing it. Sit by yourself somewhere, relax and fantasise (No, not that sort :) ) about the things that you might want to do. Take notice of your feelings. Does fantasising about running the best paintball business in the US really get the hairs standing on end? Does the idea of making a feature film, working wth crew and having people go to a cinema to see *your* film do it? Does giving it all up, and going and doing aid work in Cambodia excite you? Trust yourself, because if you go with your passion and love what you're doing for it's own sake, regardless of whether you "succeed" or not, you will be happy and fulfilled.

I will contradict others advice a little here and say don't do it all. I'm generalising here of course but all the "great" people we know of were almost always people who were insanely driven. They did what their heart drove them to do and nothing else. I've even heard anecdotes about Einstein (Could be a folklore) having all the same clothes cause he didn't want to waste time worrying about what to wear in the morning ;) I'm not saying go that far, but in whatever you do, do it with drive and put the time in, and don't think you'll fail.

And finally, there is nothing wrong with 5 years down the track changing tacks because you've discovered the reality of it isn't what you thought, or have found another passion. It's not called indecisiveness, it's called being dynamic ;)

Good luck
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Old January 24th, 2004, 10:00 PM   #10
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While I stick to my previous advice, Aaron has some valuable points as well. Do not try to force anything, whatever is meant to be is meant to be. and DO do whatever makes you happy. the money will come. dont do anything just because it "pays well". (why do you think i was pre-med)
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Old January 24th, 2004, 10:23 PM   #11
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All the advice you've received is so worthwhile! The only thing I will add: Read the book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, and ask your parents to read it, too.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 11:44 PM   #12
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I have already read that book and my parents have. It was very good.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 12:29 AM   #13
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Hi David (and David's folks)!

First off, I like Aaron's advice best of all of those represented here, so I won't repeat those thoughts which neatly encompass my perspective.

Instead I will offer my history as a bit of a counterpoint to the paths often chosen by others.

By late high school (this being the early 80's) I too was smitten with becoming a filmmaker, even though much of my extra-curricular activites pointed towards a career in music. I wasn't entirely convinced I wanted to go to college because I was so hungry to get into the industry and get working, but since all of my friends were going to college, that seemed to be the way to go! Off I went to NYU film school--and home I came the next spring. That was 20 years ago, and I can't say as I have ever regretted my decision to exit formal education--certainly within the film industry, no-one ever asks to see your diploma! My dream of working in the movies as a cameraman took some twists and turns, but I got there eventually, and now am moving into other avenues of production.

Film school works for some, not for others. My personal belief is that given the current state of technology, you don't need to be a student to gain access to the tools of filmmaking (which was a major incentive back in the day) and the advent of DVD's with commentaries has resulted in the equivalent of thousands of master classes with a tuition cost of $20 a month via Netflix.

So that's how I feel about film school, although I agree that in this day and age, having an education in business would be a great edge regardless of your profession.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 01:08 PM   #14
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I am just now truly realazing my 'filmaking' dream. A dream I have had since I was 14 years old. I am now 33.

I have spent most of my adult life, playing it safe and always taking the "Gotta get a job, no time for sacrifice" route.

Well, those days are over. I kick myself for not fully pursuing what I have always dreamed of.

Not everyone has a dream, much less knows what it is they want to do at that age or any age.

I say go for it. You are still young.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 02:53 PM   #15
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Go to college. As they say, "degrees don't matter -- unless you don't have one."
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