There’s this promise which we grow up with and one we try to instill in our children. It seems this promised exist in many languages and many cultures; In Hebrew they say “There’s nothing that stands in the way of the will”, in English we say “When There’s a Will, There’s a Way”, people talk about it, convince themselves and us that it is a given.
Popular books, like “The Secret” advocate positive thinking, visualization, preparedness. Those who succeeded appear on Oprah to tell us all how they did it and why we should peruse our dreams and not give up. Even our President talks about perseverance, about doing the impossible.
Is it really so? Throughout my life my ambitions were never fulfilled without a struggle. As a child I dreamed about being a Stewardess. Israel was a clamped down place at the time and the only way out was through or above the Mediterranean. Flights were very expensive and being a stewardess felt like acquiring wings. “We are not going to have any openings in the coming year.” They told me when I inquired. “And the waiting list is very long.” I became a Ground Hostess for a year. Did a good job and came highly recommended from within the company. The next Stewardess course that opened – an opening was found for me.
A few years later when I decided that my passion lies in the movies I applied for film school at Tel Aviv University. Too late. It was 3 months past the end of registration. I begged, I cajoled, I wrote letters, and I called people… They agreed to meet with me. A short test and I got in that year.
After graduation I wanted to work in movies in “the real world” – American films. Again, a dream that seemed unattainable. So unattainable I didn’t even dare to talk about it. Yet it happened, not without a hitch when we had to leave Los Angeles for three years in order to wait for our ‘Green Cards’ in Israel.
It was a short struggle to get into the film industry itself, but it seems I managed to be in the right place at the right time. Together with good performance, I was working full time on sets, engaged in my passion and making a decent living. And I did not want to give up on my personal life either. I met a guy, fell in love, we got married, had two sons, and ended up divorcing.
As I reached my 40’s I took stock of my life. Is that really what I want to do in life? Is that really who I want to be? I wanted to direct. All the way from childhood, all the way from film school. It took long years but I managed to do that too, through luck, perseverance and good performance, getting to direct an episode while working on the show. I was so very happy to direct professionally, so enthusiastic that I managed to liven the jaded crew. Yet in the past 5 years I’ve been knocking on doors and none opened. You can’t say I didn’t do a good job because I was not even given the chance to prove myself in a new episode. All my past work came from within the series, when people got to know me. But it is such a slow process that is so uncertain – you never know if the show you’re working on will have a life tomorrow.
It was time for me to be a director, and only a director. I hang my stopwatch and stopped being a script supervisor. Five years now. I gave it all I got. Not a day in those past years have gone by without me thinking how can I get in, how can I get a directing job. Weekends included. Which brings me back to the question: – “When There’s a Will There’s a Way.” Really? Is this statement really true? The will is there, the ability is there, the knowledge is there, yet I can not find the way. Are all those lectures, books, seminars, interviews – are they all a bunch of baloney? Are there no circumstances beyond our control? What happens to all those who tried and gave up? We don’t hear their stories on Oprah. Is there a time when ‘enough is enough’? When do we know that time has arrived?