Lately, I’ve been thinking about the nature of ambition and how much easier life might be without it. Why do people like us pour so much time and energy into our little shows or Youtube channels or music or unpublished manuscripts or any of the projects we’re always working on? What is the ultimate goal here?

To reach the point where you get paid to do it? It must not be, because as writer, director, lead actor, and editor of the show, I’d be entitled to a decent portion of the Kickstarter money that’s going to drop into the production account soon. But I’ve already asked my producers multiple times to put my portion of the money toward expensive equipment rentals so I can get some badass sequences. So let’s suppose it isn’t for money.

Is it to get famous? This somehow seems a more substantial claim to me. But with the amount of people watching my work at the highest it’s ever been, I somehow feel LESS motivated to work on the show. So would an even larger audience make me feel more motivated to work on the show? I’m thinking not really. At the beginning of this year a whole bunch of Youtubers with a ton more subscribers than me seemed to display a lack of direction and overall sense of ennui about their channels and content. It was everywhere. People all over the world who were being watched by hundreds of thousands of people suddenly all seemed to say, “What for?” A bunch of them asked their audiences what they’d like to see, some disappeared entirely in an effort to recharge their batteries, and it seems like people are slowly pulling it together or are at least getting better at going through the motions. So famousness doesn’t seem to be a powerfully motivating factor.

Is it because we’ve got nothing better to do? No. Because all I REALLY want to do after I get off of work is sit around and watch “Burn Notice,” but I still answer the PoPS emails, have Skype meetings about costume design, and generally plan for production, which, if you’re reading this on Thursday, February 24, begins tonight. But I think the answer for “why” lays in this paragraph right here. I love “Burn Notice.” I love “Buffy”, “Firefly”, “House”, “Bones”, “Spaced”, “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, “Community”, “LOST”, “True Blood”, “Weeds”, “Dead Like Me”, “30 Rock”, “Smallville”, “Gilmore Girls”, “Veronica Mars”, “Monk”, “Pushing Daisies”, “The Vicar of Dibley”, “Wonderfalls”, “Arrested Development”…the list goes on and on. And those are just the shows. My MOVIES tab on my Myspace page is pretty ridiculous. You actually have to scroll to see them all.

I think we make things because we LOVE the things other people make. We connect with them, they make us feel good, and we want to be able to create that feeling for other people. If you ask professional writers and directors, “Hey, what do you like to do?” lists of shows, movies, and books are just going to start piling up, because ultimately, I think one of the most powerful ways to connect with people is through a good story. Just think of how long people have gathered around to experience a story together. My guess is since sentences were invented. Now who wouldn’t want to be a part of that legacy? I think that’s why tonight, instead of watching “Burn Notice”, my friends and I are going to start putting ourselves through a lot of hard work to tell another part of our story.

I guess if I didn’t have that ambition, it would probably mean that I didn’t love all those shows and movies as much as I do. I just don’t think I’d want to live that way.

Thanks for reading, guys.

Jarvi out.


3 Responses to “Ambition”

  1. Robert J. Welle II Says:

    Very well said Jake, i think you hit the nail on the head with this one for sure…
    And we damn sure appreciate your emulation of all of those awesome works to entertain and hopefully inspire us as well. The future is good.

    Have a glorious and victorious day.
    Best from Okinawa

  2. I would guess storytelling was happening long before verbal language. Re-enactments of exciting hunts around a cave fire, maybe…? You’re right though, the purpose of story-telling – even among our non-speaking ancestors – would be to make others feel what they felt, to share experiences, and to bond.

    I disagree that loving films and books requires us to try and emulate what those writers / directors have done. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a bunch of favourite movies or TV shows (a bunch? There should be a better collective noun for a group of movies.. any ideas?), but none of them seem to feel the need to produce a movie themselves. It takes a very special kind of determination to do what you do.

    No matter what is at the root of your creative ambition, I hope you know that your work is very much appreciated. PoPS gives ME as much pleasure as an episode of Firefly (…and considerably more than Smallville).

    H x

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