I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect way to express my feelings on this subject, but found that days (*cough*weeks*cough*) magically slipped by in my efforts to find the perfect words, so rather than internalise they way I have been, I thought I’d start typing.
I’ve spoken before about my ambitions of working within the Film industry – a dream that now seems more unlikely than ever before, made more apparent when I commit the cardinal sin of comparing where I am in life opposed to others, chiefly the people I did my University course with. Sure, not all of them seem to be working within the industry, but, hand on heart, a lot of them are, even if its within capacities they don’t want.
Jealousy is an unproductive, vile emotion, and it’s one I’ve become frequently accustomed to. We Netflix and Chill all the time with our other bestie, the Deep D. (That stands for Depression, you little pervert) It’s a great circle jerk, as I’m sure you can imagine.
We are the result of our decisions. Committing to something, rejecting an idea, or even doing nothing are all active choices to any given situation. My relative inaction in pursuing my dreams of writing and directing have led me to crafting two short movies that have achieved nothing and led to a staggering amount of sweet FA (despite winning awards and getting the chance to fly across the world to support one, which I chronicled here) over the course of 6+ years that have seen me struggling to keep my chin above water. (Wonder Years ref, yo.)
It was whilst on the journey to support First Date that I committed to a life changing detour with the dreams, goals, and ambitions that had stood so steadfast since 18.
I’ve written about the impact those Writer’s Panels have had on me, and in that time I’ve written a complete manuscript that has been edited multiple times, finding myself in a (naively) hopeful position that, yes, now is the time to strike. Now is the time to start composing my query letter. Now is the moment to find an agent.
Now is the time to fully commit to the Pivot.
Although my pivot has been in effect for the better part of two years at this point (this change was always going to be a slow process, right? Right? Guys…), it doesn’t change how important that crucial moment in time was for me. That crystallising moment that grabbed me and throttled me: PIVOT, MAN! PIVOT!
The concept of the Pivot within this context is one I’ve only recently become accustomed to, thanks to the podcast, StartUp.
StartUp, for those who are unfamiliar, and in their own words:
“StartUp is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. In Season 2, Lisa Chow joined Alex to follow an entirely new company: a company called Dating Ring, founded by two women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley.”
It was during the course of listening to their shows that I learned that not everything always goes to plan, even when those plans include multiple people investing thousands of dollars. Sometimes, the best laid plans don’t go to plan.
As insightful as the podcasts are, it was this lesson that really struck me, the on-the-cusp-of-thirty individual who has achieved nothing of merit. Not everything always works out. Sometimes people have to compromise. Sometimes entire companies have to change, and the next thing you know the company becomes something that is unrecognisable to what it originally strove to be.
In the latest season, StartUp spends a few episodes with the team that created Justin.TV, a live streaming website that, after an initial wave of popularity, was losing its established fanbase and on the cusp of failure. Until they – that’s right – pivoted. They pivoted into Twitch.Tv
The most important lesson to take from the concept of pivoting isn’t the new path you might find yourself on. It’s not the change that will be coming your way, assuming you’re willing to embrace it. It’s that to commit to the pivot isn’t the same thing as failing. It isn’t holding your hands up and accepting defeat. It’s looking at a situation, taking what you’ve learned, and tweaking the idea enough to hopefully lead to greener pastures.
For me, the pivot has taken me down a completely unfamiliar path. One with no contacts (what else is new…), a deep, intimidating forest and only the sliver of a path I can follow. And, you know what, there’s adventure to be found in that.
Wanting to write this book and parley that into a career isn’t my signing the death certificate on my previous ambitions. Perhaps one day I’ll end up exactly where I once wanted to be. Maybe not. All I know is that, in the meantime, I’ve got a query letter to write and research to do.
Do I regret the pivot? Not at all. I’m inspired by the very idea of it.