Why Success Takes a Lot More than Just Desire

I actually met a prospective filmmaker recently who moved to Los Angeles to become a film director. I asked him what he’d directed so far and he replied, “Nothing.” But that wasn’t all. I discovered he’d never taken a class, never read any books on the subject, never worked on any projects at all. All he had was the desire to become a director, and he was sure that would open doors in Hollywood.

I wanted to laugh, but at the same time I became really depressed. He left his job in the Midwest and moved here with no training, no education, no experience – nothing. Worse, he didn’t really feel he needed any of that stuff because he was so passionate about it.

After all, he’d seen a lot of movies.

You know the old example of having brain surgery from a doctor who hasn’t had any training or experience, but he’s really passionate about brain surgery? You’d run away as fast as you can, right?

It’s the same way with your career or calling.

Desire is great. Passion is great. But never underestimate the time, sweat, late hours, and hard work it will take to achieve your goal. I can tell you that in Hollywood, you’re competing with people who live and breathe filmmaking. People who don’t just watch films, but analyze them, discuss them, take classes, read voraciously, and have spent their life learning how to launch a career in the industry.

Even more important, it will be a long and often difficult journey.  And the fact that you feel God’s called you to it, won’t make it any easier.

The question is – are you up for it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Karen Covell

    Phil, This is such an important issue to bring up. Many many well-intended Christians have come to Hollywood throughout the years, saying that God told them to come, or God downloaded a script to them and none of them had any training, understanding or knowledge about what they wanted to do specifically or how to do it in a professional industry. When I tell them that they are not prepared, I get the usual response: “God uses the foolish things of the world to confine the wise.” or “God used Moses and David and many other great men, without training or experience.” And on and on. I am usually accused of not trusting God or being too cynical, of which I roll my eyes and quietly pray that they will be ok when they hit the wall. I appreciate that young Christians are living in faith, stepping out of their comfort zone and trusting Him for the impossible, but I also hope that they can appreciate and listen to the wisdom that those of us are willing to offer to them based on our own experience and time spent in this unique industry. Hollywood is NOT like any other city or industry. It is enveloped in spiritual battle, temptation and it has no rules or path to follow. So, I hope that young people coming here will seek the wisdom of veterans and just their feelings. Feelings can be very misleading!