I actually wanted to write this a couple days ago. I stalled since I wanted to write it today on April 9th. Exactly one year after I wrote my personal and emotional post, Define The Dream. Oh, how things have changed in 365 days.
On April Fool's Day I posted that I was going back to school. That is no joke folks, I'm going back. And, more shocking is the fact that I'm not studying film, but school counseling. Yes, I'm going to be a guidance counselor.
"What are you talking about?," asked The Confused Boy.
"Well, let me explain," replied Mikey Filmmaker.
Let me first start off by writing that I'm not exactly leaving the film industry. I'm simply changing things up a bit. I'm going to start a more stable and more importantly, fulfilling career.
Oddly enough, I'm producing a web series that could air by late 2009/early 2010. I'm also still developing some ideas of mine when I have a creative urge. Some of these ideas, I've had for over ten years, so who knows if anything will come to fruition. Point being, I'm still going to call myself an independent filmmaker.
For reasons of not wanting to start any problems and get myself blacklisted, I'm not going to write here my exact reasons for leaving the film industry. I'm also not going to vent about my former bosses, who basically made me hate an industry that I wanted to love.
I don't blame them solely for this decision. I'm a big boy and I'm not going to place blame on others. They simply reaffirmed some of my assumptions of why I hate this industry. The film industry wasn't the industry I thought it was when I was a kid in Massachusetts or a even in college as a young adult in California. I also simply didn't want to go down their path of life. It wasn't appealing to me. I didn't want to be 64 years old and rich if I wasn't happy and proud of what I accomplished.
I don't have any regrets, though. I made it a goal of mine when I moved out to California in August 2004 that I would work at a top level film company and experience the A-List of Hollywood's film industry. I did that for seven months, which is better than a lot of people. I'm proud of that and I will be proud of that in 20 years. I do actually have some good memories from working there. Some stories that I'm sure my children and grandchildren will enjoy hearing years from now.
I have had this idea to go back to school since the summer. I wasn't really serious about it until probably October. When I quit IE in November, I knew deep down I was quitting the business for good. I lost the will to be an assistant any longer. It wasn't the way I wanted to spend the next couple years of my life for the pure chance of getting promoted.
The idea of a counselor came from a couple influences. I looked at all my strong attributes that I acquired during film school. Then, I took what I really liked about working at a management company. I really liked the concept of a manager. Well, a guidance counselor is almost like a manager. You're managing the careers of students. You are their support system for both the good and bad.
I feel like this career fits me. It feels natural. Believe it or not, I consider myself a leader and role model. I am determined to leave a legacy. I feel like this is most powerful way to leave that legacy. One that everyone can take chances and do the impossible. That is something I plan to stress for roughly 30 years to hundreds and hundreds of kids.
I think the reason I've done so much in my life is because of the chances I took. If not, I probably would have never been Class President for two years. Never would have had my public access show, Public Invasion. Never would have been appointed the youngest public official in the history of Peabody when I served on the Cable Commission. And, I never would have came out to California from Massachusetts at the age of 19 to go to Chapman University and study film at one of the best film schools in the country.
So, that's where I'm headed the next three years. Going back to school to become a Master of counseling. I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I am excited though and am ready to open a new chapter in my memoir, which I'm thinking of re-titling, Redefining The Dream: Why I Left Hollywood and Decided to Guide the Youth of America to Greatness. Catchy title? I think so.
I think the funniest thing in this whole process is that my film career helped me get into the school more than anything else. Who knew? The whole basis of my admissions essay was explaining how my film career as a producer, assistant director, and assistant makes me a strong candidate to become a guidance counselor. I think it worked. In the beginning of the interview, Judy (the woman who interviewed me) and I had a quick exchange that I will never forget.
"Michael, you've lived quite an extraordinary life," she said.
"Well, I like to think so," I replied. "But I'm not finished yet."
Here's to The Dream...