In the Spring of 2015, despite never having taken even one filmmaking, film studies, screenwriting, or any other course remotely related to motion pictures, I left the faculty of the University of Maryland’s Department of Finance to become a full-time filmmaker.
For me, such impulsiveness, which some might call recklessness (six of one…), has become increasingly common as the years have passed. Another example was how a few years earlier, seeking treatment in the brilliant new field of Positive Psychology but failing to find any specialist in it who accepted my insurance, I calculated that it would actually be cheaper to study with the master himself, Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, the father of Positive Psychology, and become a coach myself in this field than to pay out of pocket in order to be treated by one of his disciples.
My problem was that his then new Master Class in the Authentic Happiness Coaching Program was for professionals or at least graduate students in the field. Receiving an exception for such a popular program was improbable. So I became a graduate student in the field. Winging my way through the admissions process, I gained acceptance to Andover Newton Seminary, now part of Yale Divinity School, majoring in Pastoral Counseling, just in time for the start of Dr. Seligman’s program.
Sound like the lengths you might go to in order to achieve something you truly desire? Then you might have two of the traits necessary to become an artist, resilience and resourcefulness. I love trying to learn from the grandmasters of the two traits. For instance, look up the story of the young Steven Spielberg for what I think was the ultimate display of both to break into filmmaking.
Although I am no major leaguer (yet) in the resilience and resourcefulness departments, I do have enough of both thanks to Dr. Seligman, to have made four movies which have been accepted for distribution on the three dominant transactional Video On Demand platforms, Apple iTunes Films, Google Play Movies, and Amazon Video.
Now, I will be combining what I know about filmmaking with the training in Authentic Happiness coaching to offer career coaching for aspiring filmmakers.
The number of requests for filmmaking advice and information interviews I’ve received over the past year, some even from MFA graduates of fine film schools, suggests to me that there just might be some market for such artistic coaching. The existence of that market niche did not particularly surprise me. But what did surprise me was that the majority of requests came not from hungry recent graduates, but from established professionals in various other fields.
Thinking about it, I subsequently realized that it should not have surprised me after all because I have never known anyone well who did not harbor dreams about some form of artistry. I think that’s a great thing.
No matter what we do for a living, I believe that it behooves everyone to try their hand at artistry. We all know the old trope about regretting on our deathbed only what we never attempted, never what we did attempt regardless of the results. But I contend that such regret manifests far, far earlier than our final deathbed moment, because the unavoidable truth is that every day, every moment that passes in which we don’t make some attempt at what we love yields an iota of that same regret.
Most people bury that regret in the very back of their minds, but I suggest that you do not. Instead, bring it to the fore and act upon it! You certainly need not be as impulsive (reckless) as I am, but you absolutely must develop your heartsong at a responsible pace lest that creeping regret emerge victorious at the end of your life.
Realize that you CANNOT fail for there is no failing in artistic expression. You will thank yourself for your efforts and well before your final deathbed moment. That in itself is your success.
I believe that the principles of Dr. Seligman’s Authentic Happiness Coaching Program can be just the catalyst for some who have the skills and ambition to move forward with their artistic desires, to do so. I have established a private practice, Precious Capital Coaching, a Virginia Limited Liability Company, to help such potential filmmakers. I hope at a minimum to coach them into avoiding that tragic deathbed moment. Optimally, I even hope to see them onstage someday at the Academy Awards.