“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
One year ago, I was working for a television production set. Now that it’s past me, I can say it out loud that I was really bad at my job. While Coco Martin was punching bad guys to save the day, you would find me spacing out in the middle of the take. My mind was always somewhere else, picking my brain apart.
I’ve always been a serial over-thinker.
You can’t possibly miss me not having an introspective moment during my morning commute or while I wait for my order to arrive in a restaurant. My mind wanders to the basic questions of the human existence— Who am I? What do I want? Why am I here?
During performance appraisal sit-downs with my boss, the common observation was that I was not focused on the job. I’m easily distracted and usually spend a lot of time storytelling with people on set instead of fulfilling my tasks at hand. I rest my case because I couldn’t argue.
I liked talking to these people and hearing their stories.
I’ve had good conversations with the crew, gaffers, set men, make-up artists, utility men, drivers—people from all walks of life, as they shared their experiences over a cup of coffee during those long, sleepless hours on set. Some would tell me about their personal lives—about their wives, about their rebelling teenage daughter, about their hopes and dreams, and I was more than eager to lend an ear.
One time, after the Assistant Director shouted “5, 4, 3, 2, action”, I retired on an apple box and observed the people on set, coming up with alternative storylines if their choices had been different. Maybe the camera man would make a good photographer. Maybe the wardrobe assistant had been a nurse. Maybe this mediocre actress would have been better elsewhere.
Then a realization dawned on me that entailed months of overthinking and more disappointed looks from my boss. After all the second-guessing, I understood one thing – I was just one brave decision away from living my alternative storyline.
One year later, I am in front of my laptop having an introspective moment while waiting for my coffee to arrive. I’m asking the basic questions of human existence— Who am I? What do I want? Why am I here? But this time, it’s as a screenwriter, for a character in a film concept I’m developing.
After three years, I took a shot in the dark and pursued what I was procrastinating on while I was failing miserably at my first job.
The guidebooks would often say, “All great writing involves a good amount of thinking.”
I guess my failure worked for my advantage.