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Flash back to 2012: It has been five years since I graduated high school and four years since I graduated film school. The momentum I had after graduation in 2008 had faded, and I was still on the perimeter of the entertainment industry.
Sure, I have successfully landed a few auditions, got myself an apprentice status in UBCP and written and directed a few short films that I couldn’t help but be proud of, but realistically I was just fooling myself into thinking that I actually wanted to climb that ladder.
First rung: I worked as a background performer. Second rung: I did two years of stand up comedy. Third rung: I acted as production assistant for multiple companies and productions for literally four days. Fourth rung: I performed in some student films. Nope, it wasn’t a stepladder I was climbing—it was a Stair Master. I was going nowhere and I needed to get off.
It happened all in one single night. I might have been in bed, but for dramatic reasons lets have me pacing through a rainstorm. I was drenched from head to toe and the only sign that I was still alive was the streetlights illuminating the next few steps I was going to take. There in the depths of my quarter life crisis I asked myself: What do I still want to do? Acting, Directing, Standup, Kitchen Prep, Writing.
It wasn’t an epiphany—I don’t get those—it was more of a “duh!” moment. Writing was the fuel that powered all my other previous passion from directing to standup. It was something I did without ever taking credit for because it was a mean for something else. I took it for granted. And it was a bit upsetting to realize all that wasted time was for not.
I don’t know what it’s like to have a divorcé, but I do know what it was like to call it quits on a dream and start all over. I know what it was like to say bye to a childhood passion and welcome a slightly more mature (but not really) alternative.
I still wonder what I would be doing if I didn’t make that conscious choice to become a writer. But I like to think that I haven’t given up on being a filmmaker. Life, after all, is quite long—or it could be—I’m just taking another route, an elevator. And it’s one that I’m currently enjoying. A lot.
I have spent the past two years with some of the most inspiring and generous people. Attending Print Futures at Douglas College and working at the Other Press has introduced me to a world of writing I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It took me out of my comfort zone, introduced me to new challenges and presented me with opportunities I could not have found from the comforts of my own home. It gave me confidence and made me adventurous. Failure was inevitable, but I wasn’t doing it alone anymore. More important than my education and my skills, I now have supporters. People whom I can turn to when I mess up a line or miss a grammatical error. I’m safe now. I’m on the right path… the climb continues.
– Elliot Chan, April 17, 2014