Don’t Quit Before the Miracle Happens
I have 35 bucks in my checking account, my phone bill is due in 2 days and I don’t know how I’m going to cover it because my day job pay check won’t get here till the end of the month.
When that check arrives, it’s pre-spent. Rent. Bills. Food. Gas in the car. A parking ticket I got for street cleaning.
Until the next check arrives and the vicious cycle repeats.
My name is Nick Murphy, I’m a filmmaker and that is my everyday life. Not quite making the living I had hoped when I first came out here, but let’s rewind, a decade or so back.
I came out to Los Angeles in November of 1996, at the age of 18. I sold everything I owned for 600 bucks, dropped out of High School, hopped in the car in the middle of the night, (without telling ANYONE where I was going) and left the Show-Me-State of Missouri for the Golden State of California.
I had no f*cking clue what I was even doing. All I knew is that THIS is what I wanted, more than anything, and I would do almost anything to get there.
Up until that point, I had been making flicks with my friends in Missouri. We were all around 15 when we started in 1993 and three years later, we were still considered odd, because no one made “movies” back in my small hometown. It just wasn’t as accepted and accessible as it is today.
So, here I am, my first day in Hollywood, I had already spent a chunk of my 600 bucks on the drive itself, and a majority of the rest on this sh*tty motel called “The Mark Twain” Hotel.
Ironic, cause I was from Missouri.
This is that Hotel: (photo taken 11 years later):
I was sitting in my room, kinda depressed because I was eating cold ravioli, straight from the can and most of all; I missed everything I had left behind. My friends, my family, I knew NO ONE out here and I felt so alone.
Was this what I came out here to do? I wasn’t sure what to expect, but living like this, wasn’t one of them.
Feeling broke, desperate, under appreciated, you’ve poured everything you have into what you love and it doesn’t feel like enough.
It feels like you have to do more, more networking, more classes, a second or third job, that if you just sacrifice “a little more”, it’ll happen. That movie will get seen, that script will sell, that Agent will sign you and you’ll FINALLY start working.
I’ve heard it time and time again, we all need just “that one thing” to make us feel better, or get us to the next spot in our careers or even get us to the top.
In my experience out here for the past 15 years, there is no “one thing”.
There’s only us.
We are the one’s who can give us our OWN validation, our OWN affirmation, our OWN self-worth. We need to see the love and hopes and dreams inside ourselves, so we can give that to others in our art and in our lives.
There is no top.
Our “careers” will always be roller coasters, with highs and lows, no matter how “successful” we think we are. If we think there is only a top, then we will fall hard and most always be disappointed in our best efforts, because we’re just not there yet. How can we move forward, when we hold ourselves to nearly impossibly high self standards?
We can only give, what we can and sacrifice what we need to, but we don’t need to do more than that, because we do the best we can, with the tools we have in front of us and that’s enough.
So many people I’ve seen come and go from here in Los Angeles. I’ve been close many times, beaten down by a dream that I thought I needed to make me whole. I was judging my insides by what society said I should be. What this industry said I should be.
I was seeing other, more successful filmmakers, editors, actors and screen writers get their “break” and I couldn’t help but think, when was it going to be my “break”? I work hard enough? I sacrifice enough, don’t I? When was it my time to take that next step?
What I didn’t know then and I what I certainly know now, is this. It was always my time. I was always making movies, I was always pushing forward, through the bowls of ramen noodles, the past due bills, the rejections from the industry. I got to do what I love at the end of the day. Make movies. They may not be playing at your local theater, I may have never gotten paid for them, but they mean the world to me.
And that’s all that matters.
Never stop believing in yourself. You are worth it and you have so much to give to the world.
Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
Nick Murphy is a Writer/Director/Editor living in Burbank, CA and preparing for a world invasion from Ninja’s, Aliens, Zombies, ECT. by training with video games. You can peep out some of the flicks at: www.spoonpictures.com and www.tearsofthedragon.org You can also find Spoon Pictures (my production company) on Facebook. My Twitter is: @Filmmakernick (that’s also my Xbox Gamertag) and @Spoon Pictures.
Check out Nick Murphy outside the Film Courage studio after his