One thing I've learned recently is that there are so many facets to the entertainment industry in order for me to tell stories visually. Television, music videos, and commercials, are all examples of things aside from the big screen that I had never really put much thought into as potential career paths. I want to both write and direct when I get out of college, but I always had these odd illusions that I was just gonna get out, make this low-budget indie hit and launch my career and be the next Steven Spielberg, and that could still happen, but I've begun to open up to more ideas.
Example, a guy I greatly admire is J.J. Abrams. Make fun of me if you will, but the dude got his start when he was my age. The director of blockbusters like Star Trek actually sold his first script, Regarding Henry, as a spec (a script put openly out in the marketplace for bidding to commence, if it's any good). After that Abrams wrote a few movies, some from specs he wrote, others he was commisioned. Then he took to writing television, creating shows like Felicity and Alias, while still writing movies, but television gave him the ability to finally flex his muscles directing. He directed a few episodes of his shows here and there, and people began to realize, hey, this guy is actually good. After he directed the premiere of LOST, Abrams was courted to direct the third Mission Impossible, and then Star Trek, and now he's working with Spielberg on an original script that he wrote himself called Super 8. Sure, it took him longer to realize his dream of being a writer/director, but it's possible in so many different ways.
Other examples. Joss Whedon, director of the upcoming Avengers, got his start as a television writer. Frank Miller, co-director of Sin City, was the comic's writer and artist. Joe Johnston, who directed Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Jumanji, was a special effects artist at Industrial Light & Magic. Even people like Spike Jonze who did music videos, or Michel Gondry, are now realizing their dreams of making movies.
I always heard these stories of people slipping into the movie industry from these other visual mediums, but it wasn't until now that I finally started to take a look at it and realize that I can write and direct straight out of college, and I can make it. While I may not necessarily start off writing or directing anything that will win me Oscars, I'll be doing what I love. I can write scripts for spec, for both TV and movies, based off ideas that I don't even really care if I direct. I could meet up with a hot young band in somewhere like Nashville and do all of their music videos. And who knows, if I get just the right idea and some financing, maybe I could make that indie hit that will premiere at Sundance and take the industry by storm. I'm finally realizing the meaning to the old saying, "The sky's the limit," and maybe there's a place out there for me after all.