When it comes to establishing a career in the film industry, Film Connection
apprentice Matthew Gibson
understands the work ethic and the dedication to the craft probably more than most. Only several months into his apprenticeship with mentor Zac Adams
of Skydive Films
in Nashville, TN, he’s already building his list of film credits. In his words, “The more you can do, the more you can sell yourself, and I’d like to learn as much of it as I can.”
FC apprentice Matthew Gibson
Thus far, with the hands-on training he’s getting with Zac, Matthew has already earned several film credits for his work on Zac’s recently-released documentary Autism In America (narrated by Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson), including Assistant to the Director, Sound Recorder and Assistant Editor; he’s also earning Assistant to the Director credits on at least two other of Zac’s upcoming films, and multiple assistant, lighting and camera credits on several music videos. Not to mention his own upcoming projects in the works, which he will direct himself!
To those who understand the work ethic involved with a film career, this might seem like all in a day’s work. But what’s remarkable about Matthew is that at age 31, he’s juggling all these projects around a full-time job.
“I’m still working full time 40 hours a week just to pay bills and stuff,”
says Matthew, “but on my off days I’m doing stuff like this. The hope is to get into a place where I can do this all the time…I would be a lot happier doing this than a nine-to-five sort of job.”
How does he pull it off? He admits it’s not easy. “Sunday was my day off and I just wanted to crash,”
he recalls about one instance. “But [Zac was] like, ‘Well, we gotta shoot. We need you. It would be beneficial for you to be on set can you be there?’…I was at a shoot at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning.”
FC mentor Zac Adams
Even so, and even when fighting exhaustion, Matthew is able to stay motivated because he’s not watching the clock when on the set. “I’m more project focused than I am day-after-day sort of focused,”
he says. “I don’t mind working hard as long as I can pace myself, and that’s why I like working on projects…And there’s a sense of accomplishment when you’re finished.”
But make no mistake: even though he’s working his education around a full-time job, for Matthew, film is not a side-project: it’s his real career. He tells us the main reason he chose the Film Connection was because of the on-set training and the job preparation.
“They are very willing to help you with job placement, which is really the ultimate goal of any program,”
he says. “That very much appealed to me…So I thought, ‘I will take the risk because it’s something I want to learn and to do and love’…Film Connection appealed to me because I still need to work 40 hours a week to pay my bills and keep my apartment and car and stuff, but I also have to buy my equipment, film equipment. And I’m doing that piece by piece, and it’s coming together. But it’s a lot less taxing money-wise, as well as time-wise, because they are willing to work with you.”
Meanwhile, as Matthew works through his apprenticeship, he’s also working on his own script as part of the Film Connection course, a combination action/western film (“I’m pitching it as Unforgiven-meets-Three Days of the Condor,”
he says). He has a long-term goal of working steadily in the Hollywood film industry. For Matthew, though, his greatest motivation isn’t so much the money, but in doing what he loves to do.
“I know a lot of people say, ‘I want to do this and make a million dollars,”
says Matthew, “but it’s more about doing what you love and being satisfied with what you’re doing. And if you do that, money’s nice, fame is nice, but really, you just want to do what you love. I’ve worked enough crappy jobs to know that you should focus. You’re going to be more successful doing something that you like doing. That’s why I’m doing this.”
With that attitude, along with his work ethic and dedication, we’ve got little doubt that Matthew will get exactly what he wants.