I was impacted recently after talking with two separate editors in one day, who have subtly similar stories. I will be brief with their stories.

Editor 1 spent many years working on commercials and documentaries. Burned out on commercials, he recently started working solely on documentaries, because at the core he is a storyteller and docs are what he enjoys creating.

Editor 2 started a small commercial-based production company. After several years, he became burned out on commercials, too. He told me he always wanted to work on documentaries. He is now a salesman for a tech company, but would return to being an editor if he could do docs.


Let me say this: there is nothing wrong with either editing commercials or working in sales. It is also not the best occupation to make documentaries.

What sticks out to me is how both men wanted to use their skills to tell stories, and both got burned out doing other work. However, one went on to eventually tell stories, and the other abandoned his profession altogether.

Editor 2 associated his burn out with his job: editing and video work. But that is not what he was burned by. It was doing something he was not passionate about.

It made me think how easy it is to take the first opportunities presented to us, regardless of whether or not we are passionate about them. Especially in such a demanding field as media, if we are not passionate about what we are doing, then it will be much more difficult to sustain the long, hard work over decades.

Early on in our careers, we should take every opportunity. But as we mature in our skills, we should start working in the direction that excites us. As for me, I enjoy commercial work for the creativity involved, but will almost always choose documentary work, because I love telling stories about people.