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Passion vs Profit

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Alexandra BoylanPassion is an all-consuming feeling! Passion is the driving force behind the people who will truly go on to succeed.  Because it wasn’t success they were after, it was the feeding of their souls in creating their hearts desire.

I meet a lot of industry people who say they want to make films because they love doing it, but then I hear a counter balance with how much money they think they will make.

My dear friend and collaborator, Raquel, and I had a long conversation about this the other day. I felt compelled to take inventory of where my true desire lay with the outcome of my projects.  Of course we all want to make money, no question about that, but if our focus and desire isn’t in the right place we will falter along the path to success.  When the roadblocks start popping up, it must be pure passion that keeps you knocking them down.  And since monetizing something is the hardest thing for an artist to do, it will never sustain your drive to follow through to the end.

Raquel and I were reminiscing about our first feature film and how the group had never discussed money or had any expectations of where the film would go.  We honestly just hoped our friends and family would see it, and that maybe it would be a good calling card for our next film.  And because we had no insane expectation, all along the way we got more excited as better and better things kept happening! Instead of being disappointed all the time, we were amazed at how all the pieces came together.  We call our movie “The little movie that could.” It just kept going and going.  We won in our hearts just because the movie was made and then we won again when the movie was sold.  Because we had no real agenda at the beginning of the process, we were blown away by the end result and felt so blessed that our little movie is now sitting on the shelves of Wal-Mart!  And to be completely honest, we still haven’t made any money which is why it is so important for love and passion to be the main focus.  Monetizing can take a REALLY long time.  If you’re waiting for your pocket book to get filled, you’ll be robbed of the joy that is the process of creating the project.

As I sift through memories of creating projects, I feel overwhelmed with love.  I truly love it.  It is my hearts desire.  I believe that is the reason everything I put my mind to accomplishing has come to fruition.

Our app team is a big believer in celebrating every small accomplishment.  Giving yourself little victories along the way will keep you sane and fulfilled.  This helped us get through over a year and a half of writing, shooting, and editing.  Only 4 of us made this project and we would shoot for 12-hour days, on our own dime, with no guarantee of financial gain.  It was important for us to celebrate each step along the way.  It kept us connected as a group, excited about the project, and kept our morale high as we crossed each new finish line.  I highly recommend doing this on your projects.  Celebrate each win!

Creating the app game was so rewarding that I don’t think money will feel as good as it felt the first time we actually played the game on the iPhone.  To see our vision come to life in a real way; our invention a reality – THAT was our WIN!

While we were knee deep in the process of the app, I was working a side job.  I would wake up with the crew at 7am and shoot all day, and then as the sun was setting, I’d run home to put on my apron and waitress until 2am.  I did this for the four months of shooting and it still amazes me that somehow I managed to sustain this crazy work schedule.  But I can honestly say that my passion was driving me forward and I was so in love with what we were doing that my happiness sustained me through my sleep deprivation.  If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. Most artists have to have side jobs but as long as you are doing what you love on the other side, hope will thrive and your heart will be full.

I admire my fellow teammates at Black Shepard Productions, creators of the web series, “Flock”.  They embody loving what you do and finding the time to do it.  We shot that show on the weekends over the course of a full year! Now that is dedication!  This whole team worked around their crazy work schedules to complete this incredible show.  Juggling full time jobs and financial difficulties we still found a way to make this project come to life and see it through to completion.

After spending ten years struggling in Los Angeles as an actor, I moved to New Mexico with intent to rediscover who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.  My grip on the desire to be an actor was so tight and I had such tunnel vision that I couldn’t see outside of the box I had accidentally created.  I had built an imaginary wall around myself and I had no idea how to climb out.  I went to Albuquerque to break the mold I had created and there I discovered what I truly desired.

Like air we need to breathe, I had to be a creative person.  Regardless of money, I was pursuing what I truly desired.  It didn’t matter if I struggled forever, as long as I was doing what I love to do!  Now my walls were torn down, my hands open to all opportunities.  I was outside of my box.

It required removal from my old world to discover a brave new world that I wanted to create for myself.  No longer waiting for people to choose me, I chose myself!

Many people battle it out to complete their movie and make money so that they can ‘live the dream’.  Let me fill you in on a secret: The act of pursuing your dream IS living the dream.  It isn’t something that comes later.  It is something that is.

Find your passion and then go after it with all your might.  If you really love something you will find a way to do it; no excuses, no distractions.  Find a group of people who want to swim in your pool, and jump in headfirst.  I once read that Lena Dunham, creator of the show “Girls”, worked a day job and then came home and wrote all night long.  If you want something bad enough you will find the time and the love of doing it will get you through the hard times. Money doesn’t feed your soul, dreaming does.  And the money will come, but first there has to be passion and motivation. Talent and hard work will win out in the end!  And no matter what happens, no one can ever take away your project, your creation. This value in your life is far above gold and silver!

Passion VS Profit.  Which one are you trying to get?  If it’s not out of passion I encourage you to step back and reevaluate, because if your seeking monetary gain you may make the wrong choices for your project and find yourself disappointed.  If you make decisions based on your passion, chances are if you love it-others will love it too.

And when money does come, then that’s just the extra scrumptious icing on the very delicious cake you already made!

Alexandra Boylan

About Alexandra Boylan

Alexandra Boylan (Producer, Writer, Actor, Co-Founder Mustard Seed Entertainment and Mirror Tree Productions) Alexandra is an award-winning filmmaker. MirrorTree Productions, has produced numerous feature films, including "Home Sweet Home" and "At Your Own Risk". Her company Mustard Seed Entertainment's film "Catching Faith" had a two year run on Netflix and was on the shelves of Wal-Mart. Her most recent film "Wish For Christmas" sold to Pure Flix Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Alexandra’s script "Switched" was awarded the winner of the Kiaros Pro MovieGuide award for best screenplay. She is the author of "Create Your Own Career in Hollywood: Advice from a struggling actress who became a successful producer" available in Kindle and print on Amazon, and is an active member of Woman in Film Los Angeles where she served on the WIF PSA Board. Alexandra co-collaborated on the book "Thriving in Hollywood!" for msinthebiz.com