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Pay or Play


Often, filmmakers recall their earliest days of engaging with the medium as being the most experimental and enjoyable. But eventually it starts to feel more like work than play.

While earning my film degree, I was surprised to notice that student's low-pressure homework assignments were often more creative and interesting than the capstone projects. (Which received the most support and allocation of resources) Why was this?

The capstone films were higher pressure and students didn't feel as free to take risks or be experimental with them. We do our best work when we can do it from a place of playfulness and creativity. Play is not just for children. We engage in play whenever we do something just for its own pleasure, and not for any other reason or perceived benefit.

Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and author of "Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul" said, "A lack of play should be treated like malnutrition. It's a health risk to your body and mind." He demonstrates how lack of play can lead to the development of depression, chronic stress-related illnesses, and even criminal behavior.

As your art becomes your career, are you allowing yourself time to play with the medium, experiment, and create passion projects? Cinematographer Jonathan Bregel explains that passion projects help you get hired doing work you love instead of being pigeon-holed.