The Production Assistant Diaries

Parents raise their children to foster relationships, hobbies and skills, hoping they will eventually grow into successful entrepreneurs, astronauts or politicians. Whatever the task may be, it is assured by loved ones a child will be successful.

Loved ones are blinded by the reality, and dare their children to be different, to dream big.

What if their kids get stuck?

Do parents encourage them to leave their dream on the side of the road like a homeless man begging for spare change? Forgotten and dismembered, both the homeless man and the abandoned dream share a common destiny, nothingness.

….

Here is my dilemma, I feel like I’m stuck, and the dream of growing into a successful concert & event producer is slipping from my grips.

I’ve been involved in the world of production for six years now and I never thought my dream would last this long.

I decided I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps when I was 13, by the time I was 15 I knew where I wanted to go to school, when I was 17 I got into my dream school, Belmont University, and at lucky 19 I switched my major to journalism because I finally caved into what I always had a passion for.

I’m torn in two because both dreams lead me places I see a life unfolding. Both could turn out successful, both could leave me in a pile of student debt.

I’m torn in two because my heart will break either way, so how am I supposed to choose which dream to leave behind.

….

As a journalist and writer, I have the power to free my mind and let my creative juices flow. Isn’t that what the new age of millennials are about anyway? Trying something new, being different, trying to be unique and stand out?

I personally think that is a whole load of cow you-know-what.

If I followed a journalism path, I’d separate myself from a family career that has become a staple to the MacDonald name. But, I’d give myself the chance to truly put my words on a platform worth looking at, I might just be taken seriously.

Even if it’s a lousy interview from some irrelevant soccer team or a mediocre band.

….

As an event and concert producer, I physically have a platform to display the talent of others on a stage and watch the audience experience mixed emotions of happiness, sheer joy and overwhelming thankfulness.

I find the immediate joy I so often crave in production. I was raised in the field by my father, knowing that the greater outcome is not for me, it’s for every other person sitting in the arena gawking at the performance or event they, only moments ago, witnessed.

In my heart, at my core, and in the gut-wrenching moments, I know I sold my heart to production long ago when I worked on my first show with my dad.

Why is it a difficult decision?

There’s a difference between doing what makes you happy and what makes your heart happy. Journalism makes me happy, the production makes my heart happy, it makes my heart full.

But with a full heart comes responsibility. Whenever we seem to fall in love with others, there are all of these added strings.

Say production and I was to get married. There would be insurance, a house, vacations and all of these added expenses constantly getting in the way of the happiness. We would fear the future because it is so much unstable.

But, journalism and I have it all figured out. I’ll move toward politics or working for a larger company and pick a safer route, a route that makes me happy because I don’t have to worry about the life insurance, the vacations or the house.
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After deliberation, my clock tells me I still have time to learn. So for now, I’m currently taking one week off from school to indulge in my passion for production.

The catch? I recently started working with a new company, and with new companies comes the bottom of the food chain. In no way is this a complaint, rather a new way of trying to understand the way a company operates.

Learning new personalities, work ethics and attitudes is always a difficult task. Learning all of these things in a high tense and stress environment, for example, the NHL All-Star Game is a tad bit more difficult.

After I started working for this new production company, I realized I was not in the comfort of my dad’s events, I had to grow without my dad as my crutch. This event has been particularly difficult. Unlike the NHL Winter Classic, which was in my hometown, the All-Star Game is in Nashville, and I am completely, and utterly on my own in a sea of producers, stage managers, and directors.

Most Belmont students would find the experience exhilarating, and trust me, I take how lucky I am with a grain of salt, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss the comforts of a home-based network. Learning to represent yourself in an industry the can chew you up and swallow you whole is scary to say the least.

Working with a new company means saying yes to whatever task thrown your way, it means going to Target four times until you have everything you need and trying to find the specific brand of roasted seaweed someone asked for. It means doing whatever it is that makes those above you happy, because if you make them happy, they will teach you the magic of this industry.

At the end of the day, today in specific, I feel a little defeated, like maybe this isn’t all worth it. Why should I be missing a week of school to work on events I could work on at home in Boston?

So I write in the notebook my dad and I send back in forth to each other from Boston to Nashville. If it hasn’t been made obvious, my dad is my best friend, mentor and my rock that holds my feet steadily to the ground.

Because writing isn’t enough, I text him close to tears during the intermission of yet another work event I had later tonight.

He tells me to look for something positive in all of this.

So I’m going to do that

I’ll be back tomorrow.