After College

Updated: Jun 3

After college,

I had no idea what to do!


I graduated with a degree in Film & Media Production from the University of Utah...

I didn't even know if there was a film industry in Utah? I certainly had peers funding passion projects on their credit cards, but I didn't know anyone getting paid for film or media in Utah.


I didn't quite know how to connect my education with money making. The reality of graduating college without any opportunities was a hard pill to swallow. I regretted spending so much time on SSDP.

I got a job working as a Secretary at a Law Office. It was located on top of a Doctor John's Adult Store and we defended hos in Salt Lake City. We even defended the pimps too.


I met this Attorney at a cannabis rally at the Utah State Capitol 4 years ago. I'll never forget his speech. He said: "I"m a Mormon. I don't do drugs. My only vice is ice tea, and I believe cannabis should be legal. My sister died of cancer, and it breaks my heart, she had to risk her life, risk federal prosecution for the only medicine that helped her." I've been helping this attorney share his message ever since,

and now I work for him.


I'm grateful to be working, but it's a weird environment. My boss (70 years old) is in love with my friend, the other secretary, (30s) and she totally exploits the situation. She makes him buy her everything. He pays for her nails and he puts gas in her car. I wouldn't be surprised if he co-signed on a car. She works the front desk, and every shift we have together, we end up hotboxing someone's car. Sometimes we even hot box with the girl's who work at Dr. John's. It's a crazy work place.


It's nice, but it's not a job I can depend on to get ahead in life. The pay is inconsistent, and I average $300 a paycheck. I can't live on my own with that kind of money.


For a minute, I regretted going to college for film.

I should have got a degree in Business. Marketing. Psychology. No, not Psychology! Those people are weird. They think they know everything, and yet their own lives appear un-figured out. I should have graduated in Writing like my dad said. At least he wouldn't regret the money he spent to help pay for my college.


In all reality, I didn't know a lot of people doing anything with their degree. I knew 2 Environmental Studies majors that got "big girl jobs" at Rio Tinto analyzing the effects of mining on wildlife in the Oquirrah Mountains. It seemed oddly specific, but at least it had healthcare.


I wondered: What can I do?

I was working PT at the law office and living back with my parents. A lot of my friends were moving back home. A lot of friends were leaving college in debt without any paying prospects.


Hardly any one I knew was doing any thing significant with their college education, expect 2 people who inspired me: Penn and Zak: I met them creating films at the editing bays. After school, their plan was to move to New York City with a passion to pursue art. I admired them for that, and it really got me thinking.


When you grow up in Utah, it does something to you. It consecrates important bonds. It becomes a safe and sheltered space. It's cheap and comfortable enough, that it's almost impossible to leave or find the motivation to rise. I feel just as stuck here as the gray/brown smog that makes up the inversion layer.


Utah...

My home.


My mom heard a radio ad that Department of Workforce Services was providing grants to train people for "the growing entertainment industry in Utah." I knew about Sundance, but I didn't know any other entertainment opportunities. Maybe Department of Workforce knew something I didn't?! In this revelation, I realized: Why am I waiting for people to bring opportunities here? One day, I hope to be a catalyst of entertainment opportunities in Utah. I want to film all of my productions in Utah. I want to own a studio like Warner Brothers here. I am apart of a team that creates productions in Utah. I applied and got accepted into the Film Technician Certification Program at Salt Lake Community College.


At the time, SLCC had just finished a multi-million dollar renovation at South City Campus. They had 2 sound stages, a massive green screen, a Genie crane, red cameras, and editing bays with color correction wheels! I didn't even know a color correction wheel was a thing?! Salt Lake Community College South City Campus was way nicer film than the University of Utah.


I was excited to get a hands-on film education. Not a theoretical one. I thank the University for Screenwriting skills and European Cinema, but I graduated without any practical knowledge of using equipment, or applying my skill set to make money.


SLCC looked incredible!


It was a fresh start. For the first time in my life, I had free tuition and FAFSA! Instead of going into debt for school, I was given $2,500 to help pay for costs associated with school. Like, books (which are over-priced), and equipment (like a new camera). I couldn't believe it! This was the 1st time ever in my life, I felt the government developed a great program.


I'm going to community college, baby!

©Val Douroux 2022