A few summers ago, I started my new USC course with the same lecture I always give during the first class. It included the best and the worst aspects of the business, misconceptions most students have before beginning their careers and what they're realistically getting themselves into. The next day I received an e-mail from one of the students informing me that she was dropping out of the class. After that one lecture, she had decided to cut her losses, because she didn't think she had what it takes to make it. I was sorry to have lost a student, but felt good at having done my job and for having potentially saved her from years of struggling in an industry she wasn't well suited for. What a waste of your time to go through film school or work a year or two (or five) in this business only to discover it's not for you. You may reach that decision anyway, at any point; so if you're going to go for it, have a pretty good idea what you're getting yourself into before you start your journey. If you're not sure, then it's time to do more research, get some insight from people who have been in the business for a long time and seriously evaluate your decision. It could save you years that would be better spent in pursuit of a career that's more fitting to your personality and needs.
Be honest. How important to you is a steady paycheck? Are you outgoing enough and if not, do you think can you learn to be more outgoing? Are you too sensitive to work around intense personalities and situations? Can you deal with the competition and find a way to stand out among the crowd? Are you up for constantly having to sell and prove yourself? How will this career affect your desire for a family and a family life? Do you have what it takes to go the extra distance? This is one game you don't want to get into unless you're fairly certain you can win, and you really, really have to be up for it and thoroughly understand the potential risks as well as the rewards.
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