As I sit down, with my cup of coffee in hand, to my new self created full time job I feel a mixture of both excitement and fear. I’m excited because I am now fully in control of every aspect of my own existence, and physical survival, and the fear that I may not conquer the world, and achieve all of my dreams all in one fell swoop. I have to remember that today is just one day in thousands more to come; all I have to do is give this day, hour, minute and current second my utmost best and life will hopefully be kind in return.
I am now 31 years old – I made a promise to myself almost 10 years ago that if I wasn’t fully successful by this time, that I would give up all of my dreams and join the corporate work force as a full time drone for the remaining 40-60 years of my life. Things couldn’t have worked out more differently – I got to tour the country multiple times, I got to meet and collaborate with some of my own personal musical heros, I traveled outside of the country to a place where my heart and mind was opened farther than I could ever imagine, among many other amazing experiences. I’ve taken more risk than most sane westerners would be comfortable with. And now, without any sort of security blanket whatsoever, I’ve made it my goal to become completely independent on my own terms.
The first order of business is my plan to go to school for a degree in composition to ultimately set myself up for composing music from film and tv. I’ve created and performed music for half of my life and I never actually learned its language; how to read and write it. I have started working on taking classes at my local community college to transfer into a 4 year undergraduate composition course at either USC, CalArts, or UCLA. I’m leaning towards CalArts because they offer a composition/performance hybrid degree – and from there pursue all of the movie scoring programs that USC and UCLA have to offer to both get an understanding of how that industry works, and to also create lasting connections to finally be able to work in that field. My plan is to do all of this while still remaining an active part of all of my current musical projects, and also continue growing as a guitarist and sound designer.
The only way I can make this all happen is if I can create a sustainable form of income that I do not have to trade manual labor hours for. Right now I’m on track to build some (hopefully) sustainable businesses that will support me while I am on this track. As well, I am not stopping any of my current music projects as well – and continue to keep on writing music and touring. This would all be impossible if I had to work a 9 to 5 corporate job (which I did for almost 10 years). I literally have little to no income coming in right now, so that is why this is scary. I may not see any real returns for 3 to 6 months, so I have to make what little money I have right now last for that long. But the fear of it, the excitement, the challenge is what is pushing me. Knowing that the only steady paycheck will come from the work that I put in myself makes it hit home that much more. In a lot of ways, it’s really easy to have someone tell you what to do – to have a boss (even if he/she is an asshole) that dictates all of your working hours and writes you a paycheck. But ultimately, that is not for me. In fact, I feel that trading work hours for money is a really inefficient way of creating a living – we are just all so programmed to do that. This is my attempt to break that programming; to hack my brain to operate at a different level than it was trained for, and to become the musician/artist that I always knew I was capable of becoming. For me, there is no other choice.