"So, what do you do?"
That question was posed to me yesterday by the head of a film studies department. Simple as it was, I was somehow unprepared, as usual. I had gone to his office to interview for a possible part time teaching position. After all, I do have a masters degree in film, even though that career and I took separate paths years ago. Yet, I still have it in the back of my head that, some day, perhaps as my retirement career, I would teach a college class in film theory or production. Or make that film that would catapult me to instant fame and fortune (who is this great director who came out of nowhere to win an Oscar! The world wants to know MORE! Back to reality...)
Back to my interview.
"Well, I'm an advisor with a fortune 500 company," said I. Then added to fill the silence, "I sell insurance and investments."
"Interesting," said he. "What makes you think you can teach a film class?"
"Well," said I, "I have had quite a bit of film experience early on. I worked on some major film productions in New Orleans while I was getting my masters and teaching classes at UNO."
"Interesting," said he. "What kind of films did you work on?"
"Well," said I, "I worked on some features like the Cohen brother's Miller's Crossing. And Steel Magnolias. I have a credit as a production assistance in David Lynch's award winning Wild At Heart. And I once won an award from the Advertising Club of New Orleans for a best-in-class television commercial."
After we found a couple of people we had in common, he seemed to lighten him up a bit. And for the next 30 minutes he made me explain how my winding career path had taken me from David Lynch's errand boy (did you know that David Lynch likes strawberry smoothies?) to a financial planner and insurance guy. It seemed interesting to him; perhaps he was wondering how he might stray from his own career path and saw some hope in me.
He asked if I would be willing to come in and talk to his class, to explain how a film studies degree and a simple indecision and lack of focus and commitment can take a person far away from one's youthful goals.
"Sure, what the hell,' I said.