My Seemingly Bleak Future in Film #ThanksDeuze

For years now, I’ve shied away from the question, “What are you going to do with your life after graduation?” brushing it off with a shrug of the shoulders, a weak smile, and something along the lines of, “I have no idea but I have X amount of years to figure it out so I’m not tooman-screaming worried about it.” For the past three years, that response seemed to be enough. It was perfectly acceptable for me to be so unsure of my future because I still had what felt like an infinite amount of time to prepare for it, but now as I enter into the first semester of my senior year at Wheaton I’ve come to the startling realization that that seemingly endless amount of time is almost up and my ostensibly distant future is fast becoming my present. Until I read Mark Deuze’s Media Work and discussed the difficulty of finding and securing a job in the creative industries in my senior seminar, I had always naively assumed that I could find a job working on a film straight out of school. I figured that there were enough credits at the end of any given film that I could secure a spot on set doing at least one of the many positions that rolled by, even if it meant tacking my name onto boom operator, a noble yet arm-achingly tiresome profession. I was also foolishly under the impression that if I was, in fact, lucky enough to secure a position on set, I would be set for the rest of my career, neglecting the fact that film production is fleeting and one project won’t carry me through to retirement. As Deuze discusses in his book, “the situation for media workers in film and television can best be described as ‘semi-permanent’-always moving between intensive employment and short or long periods of unemployment. Work in the film, television, and video sectors of the media thus involves dealing with structural job insecurityindex as well as the relative certainty of having new projects to shop around for, and- in a best case scenario-to prepare for” (175). For some reason (most likely the fact that I have put off really thinking about these aspects of my chosen career path until distressingly recently), I had never really considered the fact that as someone who is interested in film and in working in the creative industries I will need to fill my time with various projects and odd jobs. I will not have the luxury of a stable working environment or a 9-5 job. Deuze goes on to discuss the fact that on top of job instability media workers are also facing the challenge of there being, “many more people wanting to get in to the film and television business than there are jobs available, tensions run high in finding, keeping, and consolidating jobs and ultimately, a career” (174). This instilled sense of competition for a highly coveted position results in the immediate need for a portfolio that can set your work apart from the sea of others trying for the same position as you. As it stands now, my portfolio of sorts consists of four mediocre short films and a recommendation from an old boss. In other words: I’m screwed. Apart from sending me into a spirFULL_blog-personal-brandaling depression at the thought of my seemingly nonexistent job prospects, Deuze also made me realize what it is that I need to do in order to make it in the creative industries. I need to assert myself as an individual and produce my own personal brand that will separate me from the rest and broadcast the unique skills I can bring to the table. As a future “worker of today,” I must, as Deuze puts it, “become an enterprise of her own: perfectly adept at managing herself, unlearning, preferring individual independence and autonomy over the relative stability of a lifelong work style based on the collective bargaining power of a specific group, sector, or union of workers” (10). I guess in closing I’ll say that I still have no idea what I want to do, but after reading Media Work I know what it is that I need to do be successful in the film industry.

Works Cited

Deuze, Mark. Media Work. Cambridge: Polity, 2007. Print.

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  1. […] solidarity with my peer’s piece on the future I offer my own thoughts on the end of my life, commonly referred to as graduation.  […]

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