A young film director

I had decided I wanted to be a film director since I wad 14 years old. I started making short videos with my friends and I enjoyed the idea of making my own films. Even though the decision was made in a very early age in my life, managing to work professionally as a director is a long journey. I would say it’s a Marathon and not a sprint and personally I have not yet reached the finish line.

When I graduated from high school, I studied Philosophy and History of Science in the National University of Athens and on my free time I kept making short films. On my 3rd year at University, I had a chance to direct a children’s play on stage where I realised how much I liked directing for theatre as well. I continue directing more plays and once I finish my studies I went to London to study filmmaking.

It was an intensive year at London Film Academy where I studied. It gave me all the skills I would need and the insights of what does it take to become a filmmaker. London was a source of inspiration for me, the scale, the projects and the people coming from all over the world. I decided to stay in London and work as a freelancer between UK & Greece.

I continued making plays back in Athens and in London I started building my portfolio as a young director.

It is quite difficult to convince people to give you money to direct a promo so the first step was to start making my own videos. I’ve learned how to edit more professionally and noticed I was good in editing.

As I needed a way to make money whilst building my director’s portfolio I started applying to editing jobs. This way I was saving money to shoot my films and I could stay in London.

It is very helpful to get a job inside the industry you want to break through, as you can network and learn from within how things work.

This is what I have been doing. Right now as I director I have started getting my work noticed and I have been making more commercials and promo videos. I have also moved on directing plays for a grown up audience, even though I continue creating children’s plays.

It is still a long way to go in order to make your own money solely from directing but a combination with self-shooting director, editor can lead you in the right way.

Eventually you will have enough contact and you will get noticed from production companies that will ask you to pitch for bigger projects. And it goes from there.

The key is not to compare yourselves with others, as each one of us have their own personal path. And I would say don’t give up, maybe the next best thing is around the corner but you would need to make a turn.

Being a director is a great life experience. You meet a lot of new people, which helps you broaden your horizons. Every day is a new day and no day resembles the previous one. You can travel around the world and not having a 9 to 5 job means you can make up your own schedule and choose your own holidays. On top of that, being in a creative industry you always need to stay open minded in order to have new ideas something that I believe makes you grow as a person. Same goes for theatre. It is the same discipline and way of life, the only difference is that it is not as hectic as film and also there is less money in theatre. The best part is that you actually create something that you can communicate to a large scale. You will inspire, touch and sometimes help other people to make sense of their own lives.

Of course there are some downsides to the profession. Being a freelancer also means that you are constantly looking for a new job. There are no paid sick leaves or paid holidays. You need to plan accordingly in order to not be short on money. Networking is not an option but mandatory in order to secure a network of people that can offer you a job. You should have self discipline as you would need to do your own research and sometimes you do work from home, which means there is no one to give you deadlines but yourself. This can also make you feel lonely as you either work by yourself or you to places for a short period of time and perhaps you won’t have enough time to grow relationships with everyone else. Film industry is massive and in London specifically there are people from all around the world trying to make it. There is a lot of turning down, your films, your writing, your ideas or offers for work. You should be sure that rejection will not get you down. You should accept the fact that negative answers will be a part of your “job description”. If you cannot handle this well and you begin to question your work or even worst yourself, maybe you should do this as a hobby but not a profession. It can get very tough.

Lastly, being a freelancer in a creative industry and especially a director means there is no clear path on how you can “make it”. You are an artist on your own right, and your career is very close to your personal journey. Every director has a very unique story and what has worked with him/her is not necessarily the way you will become a director. This can be tricky and it make you feel lost as no one can really give you a map to follow but only advice on what has worked with them.

Being a freelancer director needs a lot of patience and determination in order to make money and projects. You have to believe in yourself, invest everything you have and never give up.

Eleanna S., London, 14 May 2019.

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A Comic Artist

I work as a comic artist in Greece. To be honest you can’t work only as a comic artist in Greece and make your living unless your clients come from other countries. So almost every professional Greek comic artist usually works as an illustrator as well, or as a graphic designer, or as an animator or even as something totally outside the arts just to make a decent income. You usually have to work endless hours for just a few fees and you have to be patient.

Nevertheless, it is definitely a rewarding job. It is a very creative job, very funny and something you really love doing so you never get too tired to go on. Your home can be your workplace so you need no transportation to go to work, you have no specific working hours, no bosses over your shoulder, no dresscode but at the same time you have no holidays, no human contact for days or even weeks and no job security.

Advertising your work is the number one thing you constantly do. You are not just a comic artist, you are also your own marketing manager and you have to work a lot with social media as a way to familiarize people with your work and make them read your books. The more people know your work the more clients you have. The best scenario is there are people reading your books, true fans that give you comments and reviews that make you eager to go on. It is really amazing to get messages from people telling you how much they enjoyed your stories or even how these stories affected them. And of course it is also frustrating and embarrassing when you have negative comments, that eventually make you want to be a better artist.

Personally I gave up a “safe” job as a civil engineer, with a very good income, for an uncertain future as a comic artist and illustrator and I have never felt sorry about that choice.

I think it was Confucius who said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”.

Nicolas, Athens, 11 December 2017.

A Naval Officer

I worked as a Naval Helicopter officer from 2014. Being an officer is a tough choice in life, mostly because of the purpose of this job: when and if the time comes, you will have to pay the ultimate sacrifice to defend your country and your loved ones. To get the results you want from your troops, you have to be a role model, inspire them by the example and generally be a leader, not a manager. Moreover, you have to be very well educated and broad minded, due to the versatile nature of the problems you have to tackle each day. However, the salary is decent, especially by todays’ standards, in an epoch of economic crisis.

To become an officer I had to join Naval Academy as an engineer. The academy itself was pretty harsh, because it was like a “university with military rules” (sorry no crazy parties there..). However, I managed to finish it eventually, and in 2011 I became an Ensign (1st officer rank in the Navy) and joined the fleet. Thanks to the Navy, I have visited over 17 countries, including Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Spain. However, in 2014, I decided I had enough ”travelling”, so I decided to try my luck in the Naval Airforce.

This is my first time actually posting on a site regarding job experience. I think this concept is a brilliant idea, especially for young people who are not well informed about the different career paths that exist.

In conclusion, if you want a job which is demanding but will make you a mature and disciplined person from a very young age, Ι will definitely suggest joining the navy as an officer.

Taxiarchis, Athens, 8 March 2017.

A piano teacher

I worked as a piano teacher in a private music school when I was doing my PhD. Teaching a musical instrument to children may be a really rewarding experience and it may also help you build skills you didn’t even know you had until then, such as planning, adapting your communication skills to the student’s ability or personality. Furthermore, it is always fun to work with children in a one to one or small group setting, as you can watch their progress closely and also sometimes rediscover the childlike, playful side of your self. I also had to work with adult students, which was also a rewarding experience, as it always feels great to help people make their (often childhood) dream of playing an instrument come true. I believe that the role of a piano teacher is often much more than just someone who helps you learn technical things; it often extends to helping people build their confidence, broaden their horizons and sharpen their thinking in general.

However, I was really disappointed on the level of education offered to pupils in that specific music school. The tuition fees were quite high but the teachers’ pay was not as good as expected. The worst part, though, was the fact that I was sort of “fired” after a couple of years of working there, with the employer practically breaking our contract and explaining that I was too expensive for the school so he couldn’t afford me anymore. I also found out by a student of mine I had developed a friendly relationship with that the school lied to my students about the reasons of my departure, and waited until the beginning of the following term to let them know I wouldn’t be there after they had already pre-paid their tuition fees for the entire term. The students ended up having lessons with the secretary of the school, who was not qualified to teach the piano (she did not even hold a grade 1 qualification). I think musicians should be very careful when working for private music schools, as there are – unfortunately – a lot of people out there who are not qualified to teach or run a music school and are only interested in making a profit and taking advantage of the parents’ insufficient knowledge of music education.

Andriana, London, 14 October 2016.

Working in a beautician institute

I went to make my work experience in a beautician institute the 13 April of the 18 April.
I’ve chosen to experience this job because I couldn’t find other work experience somewhere else with the work experience which I want since was taken in several place. I’d like to become Children’s judge or Stewardess so this job isn’t related to my future career.
I observed this job and I found that it’s necessary to be patient (for example: the manicurist and the massages) and to be listen of the customers (for example: the customer can ask a draw on the nails very precise and to begin if the customer don’t like).
To become a beautician you must get a graduate CAP or BP and a Bac Pro Esthetic cosmetics perfume.
I don’t love this job because it is necessary to be patient and be in contact (touch) with people and it’s difficult when the customer doesn’t like: for example the nails art of the beautician. The world of work is complicated and interesting for this job but for me the world of work is fantastic, motivating and great for other job.

FONTAINE Blandine, Marthe Robin middle school, Le Tampon, Reunion Island, 17 May 2015.

Working in a restaurant

I did my internship from 13th to 18th April 2015 in a restaurant.
I’ve chosen to experience this job because I like cooking and I wanted to see how it goes in a kitchen. Furthermore I was interested in this job for my future career but this job isn’t for me. This job is sports anyway because you have to be fast and must remain standing, sometimes you can spend a day without sitting. For example, if something is in the process of cooking and it takes more spice, it is essential to take the cut spices and put them in the pot in a limited time to cook it well.
To become a cook you must a vocational degree in cooking so you have to go to a hotel school. I love this job because in this kind of training we start directly in the world of work but it’s difficult when must remain standing for hours till the end in spite of the heat. My opinion on the world of work is that it is very hard because there are obstacles

QUINQUIS Loic, Marthe Robin middle school, Le Tampon, Reunion Island, 17 May 2015.

Working in a melon plantation

My internship dates were from April 13th to 18th 2015 in a melon plantation in the town of Grands-Bois. I’ve chosen to experience this job because I want to be a farmer. This job’s hard but my passion because I like planting and developing plants.

Turpin Nathan, Marthe Robin middle school, Le Tampon, Reunion Island, 17 May 2015.

Observing firefighters

During my internship week I observed firefighters.
I chose this work experience because I want it to be my job and I like to help people who are in trouble at home or out, putting out fires in houses, cane fields, woods … Therefore I’d like to be a firefighter, this is the job I’ve always dreamed of.
The minimum degree to become a firefighter is a high-school degree and you must study 3-5 years more to become an officer. The constraints of this business are that you do not have a public holiday or vacation but you are well paid and have worked 24 and 48 hours rests.
My opinion on the work of the world is that I would like to do this job because I like to save lives and extinguish the fire and help trouble focusing and person can be a dangerous and difficult job.

Raphael, Marthe Robin middle school, Le Tampon, Reunion Island, 17 May 2015.

Working in police station

I experienced Police station jobs from 13th April 2015 to 17th April 2015. I’ve chosen to experience these jobs because I love action and team spirit in this profession. I’d like to become a Police officer so this job is related to my future career. I’ve observed complaints and fingerprinting.
To become a Policeman I must get a high school degree. I love this job because there is action but it’s difficult to deal with working hours and a risky job. My view on the world of work’s super, fantastic, motivating and awesome.

Romane Brivois, Marthe Robin middle school, Le Tampon, Reunion Island, 17 May 2015.

A computer technician

My internship was from the 13th of April to the 17th of April.
I’ve chosen this job experience because I like IT. I’d like to become a computer technician and get the minimum wages so this job is related to my future career although I prefer engineering. I have learnt how to make a computer, we have repaired the police computer, I have programmed and set up computers and cleaned the shop. To become a computer technician you must get a B.A but can get a master degree to earn more money. I love this job because it means working in IT.
It is well-paid but difficult when you don’t know the problem of the computer. It’s awesome and super but you need to study and sometimes it is complicated.

PAULIN David, Marthe Robin middle school, Le Tampon, Reunion Island, 17 May 2015.