"Do You Hope to One Day Win an Oscar?"
I don't know what I'm having for dinner, let alone where I want to be in ten years.The question with the "O" word (not that "O" word...pervert), completely threw me during the interview. Up until then I thought I was doing pretty good. I nailed the "what are you good at" question and appropriately BS'd my way through the "what are you bad at" question (spoiler alert: being too good at things).
But I didn't see the Oscar comment coming, even though I probably should have. Fetishized discussion of the gold statue is far from uncommon by people who work adjacent to my field but are not actually in said field. Not to mention that it was awards season at the time and the Academy Awards were only a few days away. The job I was applying for was at least related to my area of focus (a videography position), but saying you're a filmmaker comes with certain connotations and "buzzwords" (see: "poverty," "starving artist," "oscar," and "douchebag").
I rebutted the question with a stumble of an answer resulting in the pretentious antithesis to the question itself. I said something about how my primary focus is storytelling (buzzword) and not winning some award.
Man, I'm not getting this job, am I...I continued by saying that, ten years from now, I want to continue making feature films, whether at an indie level or, ideally, in a more professional environment in which I don't have to worry about securing funds.*
I kept thinking, however, what the appropriate answer to this inquiry was. I mean, does she want me say that I have my Oscar speech ready? That I practice it in the mirror every night? I wanted to say to the interviewer, "who asks that?" and more importantly, "who really thinks about that?"
The unfortunate answer to that question is a lot of people.
Hell, do I even want this job?So back to the question at hand. If you're a filmmaker or actor or writer or whatever...and you do what you do because you want an Academy Award, you're doing it for the wrong reasons (I know, such an original statement...totally worth the time reading this post). But indulge me, for such a sentiment bears repeating. The excess and frivolity of the industry rears its ugly, albeit entertaining, head so feverishly this time of year.
It would be disingenuous for me or anyone else in this industry to say that they haven't thought about the prospect of being recognized for your work in such a prestigious way. I will say, however, that it is far from something I think about on a daily basis. Hell, I don't even think about it as it relates to me during award season. I enjoy watching the Oscars as a guessing game more than anything else.
Must...not...rant...during...interview...Need...money...If you actually want to win an Oscar one day, that's your prerogative. But for me, that's a pretty dumb dream. And if it actually were my dream (buzzword), I wouldn't say it out loud. To anyone. Ever. Because once you do, you fall into that same sea of people who ask us the question to begin with. It's as if getting a statue is the ultimate endgame and will be the one thing that makes you happy. You then cease being a filmmaker and become a game show contestant.
But then again I am straight white male, so I guess there's a chance?
Wait, I got an in-person interview?*As someone who has has written four feature screenplays, outlined half a dozen more, written and directed one narrative feature, was the DP and producer on another, is currently in pre-production as writer/director for another, in post-production for a feature documentary, and am collaborating with various other filmmakers on several different feature productions, it is safe to say that I am currently a feature filmmaker. To say that I hope to one day do so, as many tend to do, would simply be inaccurate. Don't undersell yourself, kids.