Every time I think I have everything figured out, something comes along, something changes my mind, and suddenly the world is more wonderful than I could imagine.
In Britain we have a funny education system, at the age of 14 we take GCSE’s, we are told to choose what we want to do. At this age we pick the things we like or that we think will be easy, without knowing this choice can influence your entire life, GCSE can effect what you do at A-level. And A-level effects university.
If you don’t do well in specific subjects you may not get to do your chosen subjects. We are given this choice with no understanding of the consequences, for those of us who were not ready to take things seriously at this time it effects your life. Many people I know are so intelligent, but were lazy then, unmotivated, not ready to take life seriously yet, as teenagers are. All these things they could have done, could have been, were thrown away for the sake of choosing a subject, for just getting out of the school system.
There were so many a-level subjects we didn’t even know about.
For many of us, deciding what you want to do with your life isn’t something that just happens automatically at 14, for just as many this decision isn’t made when you hit 16 either. For a lot of us… it may not be for a long time.
I was lucky, a strange set of events, my confusion over this choice, led me to where I want to be.
Since I was a child I was always changing what I wanted to be. First I wanted to be an artist, but the world was quick to shoot me down on that. An astronaut, a racer, a director, a comic artist, a chef. I tried to head for all these things but was always brought down. In the end I decided to be a chef, purely on the basis that it would make more money, but that was not a good reason. I trained but I couldn’t handle it, I didn’t like it.
One day I broke down, I panicked, I didn’t like cooking and I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was so scared that not knowing what to do at 18 would ruin my life. My mother came and talked to me, she suggested I just spend some time looking around, if I didn’t like this cooking course how about another? or perhaps a different subject all together. As she left the room she told me the one phrase that has stayed with me since.
“I always thought you were a better artist than a chef anyway” And suddenly there it was, no matter what I was doing in life I was still always drawing. In my theory lessons for catering, I was drawing. In film studies I was drawing, throughout every aspect of my life I was drawing.
So I sat down and had a think, what can I do with it? What do I Want to do with it? I looked at some courses and came across “Illustration and animation.” to which I thought, ‘Well I can have a go.’ And the closer it got the more excited I got, I realised that animation was something I have always truly loved without realising. I had sometimes done it in my spare time as well and loved it but not thought much of it. It was the route of two of the career paths I had been most serious about, Art and Directing.
And here I am, 2 years later and still so happy with the decision. The funny thing about school is that they are meant to prepare you for the world but they don’t truly prepare you. At primary school they say there are 3 jobs to simplify things; police, doctor, fireman. If at some point somebody had told me all the amazing things I could be, that all of us could be, things you don’t even realise are jobs; maybe it would have been easier.
But it does not end there, since deciding to be an animator I’ve wanted to work for Disney, but after seeing rise of the guardians for the second time today I realised. I love Disney films, but they have never tugged at me, never engaged me, never made me want to watch them over and over as well as Dreamworks have. Sure they make a lot of sequels but that is the business aspect of them, their first films are always made with something more. I respect their good business sense.
They love what they do, and although they only work in cgi they make beautiful work they push it to its limits, their stories are wonderful as are their character design.
What you want to be can come to you at any time, because it’s there whether you’re 14 or 44. Know that it’s not too late, just because you didn’t decide when you were 13.