When I was young, I wanted to be a movie star when I grew up (or sooner), among many other things—from a writer for The Daily Show to a food stylist—but the movie star dream was persistent.
I don’t think many of us think much about why we wanted to be what we wanted to be. I remember that I loved performing and I was very much interested in fame. (How else was I going to meet Freddie Prinze, Jr. and make him fall madly in love with me?)
When thinking about career changes or picking up a new hobby, some good advice I’ve heard is to think about what you were interested in as a kid. Chances are, some part of you is still interested in many of those things and there are parallels in adulthood that you can explore.
I was thinking about that advice the other day, and my silver screen aspirations popped into my head. This time, I thought about all of the things I might love about being a movie star. Here’s what I came up with:
- Time-limited projects: I really like to see things through from beginning to end, and then move on to the next thing. I’m a sucker for a finish line. (And if I find that I really loved making a movie, then maybe it will get a sequel or I could be lucky enough to be part of a franchise.)
- The pay/quality of life: The word “star” implies a certain level of success, so I’m assuming I would make enough to live comfortably while also getting to work on projects that maybe didn’t pay so well, but were really exciting to me, from time to time.
- Shooting in fun or exotic locations: Travel for work is never as glamorous as we think it will be, but it sure would be a nice way to see the world.
- Learning: Not just constantly learning about the craft, but doing research on my characters or having to train for a fight scene, for example.
- Sharing my work with others: Whether it’s a blog post or a doodle I’m particularly proud of, I’m particularly delighted and fulfilled when my work resonates with someone else.
- Autonomy with support: Getting to make creative decisions about how I play a role, deliver a line, etc., while also getting guidance and direction.
- Fame: These days, I’m glad I’m not famous (yet?), but the parallel here is recognition. I admit that while I’m mostly intrinsically motivated, I do really crave and appreciate recognition—whether it’s getting a high-five from a co-star worker, receiving an award (even if it’s not an Oscar), or getting invited back to a committee.
Even though it’s glamorous and even a little other-worldly, being a movie star is still a job, and I’m sure there are aspects of it that I wouldn’t love. Like:
- Being scrutinized about how I look
- Regularly getting critiques of my work from people who know nothing about it
- Having a lack of control over certain aspects of my films (they’re films, not movies, now)
- The schedule/being away from my family for long periods of time
- The lack of diversity and opportunity in the industry
Breaking down the fantastical role of a “movie star” into real-life workplace elements is really helpful in understanding the kind of role and environment I want for myself.
Now you try it! What are some specific things you would like and dislike about your childhood dream job? How well do those things match up with what you do now or what you’re looking for in a job or workplace?