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Paying Off Debt

If you’re curious about working in Canada, be sure to check out yesterday’s comments.  Which reminds me, I recently got another email from America Jr:

As a recent Canadian(Vancouver) graduate from film school I am in debts from upwards of 5000$.

I quit my regular serving job in the summer to be available for on-call PA work. I have only formally worked on one big feature for about 11 days and I am currently non-union.I have received little work but made many contacts who may call me in the future again.

My savings have dwindled, and I want to make a commitment to pay off those debts with another serving job and hopefully be able to have another shot at being an on-call PA again. I have begun training for my steady job, but unexpectedly, a film contact I met prior contacted me, asking if I could come in for a day call on a new show.I declined her offer, because of my other commitment, but I feel like I may have missed out on an opportunity.

So to my question,  Am I making a big mistake by declining work that could lead to future opportunities and contacts? Or should prioritize paying off my debts and making the habit of following through with the commitments I make?

First of all, what’s with putting the dollar sign after the amount?  Is that a Canadian thing?  So people know it’s your Monopoly money, and not real dollars?

Anyway.

This is always a tough question.  I’ve known many people who’ve tried to focus on their entertainment career for several years, only to eventually drop out due to debt, late rent payments, and so forth.

On the other hand, once you start working a regular job with regular hours and regular pay, it gets hard to give that up, even when your student loans are paid off.

My natural inclination is to pay off debts as quickly as possible.  If we were talking about credit card debt, I wouldn’t have any doubt at all; you’d lose a fortune with a 5000$ balance.  Luckily, student loans tend to be low-interest.

The question becomes, how quickly can you pay off your debt, and get back to working in whatever the Canadian equivalent to Hollywood is?

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5 Responses

  1. Find a short film/indiepilot/web series with a decent crew and volunteer for a few days. On our show the LM was the ALM on a big TV Show that needs a lot of PAs so now the best of our volunteers are working fairly regularly. It’s all about who knows you.

  2. actually putting the dollar sign after the money is a (french) Canadian thing… its how they write dollar amounts in French… sometimes its easy to get it mixed up with English…

  3. when you have a situation like the one you just encountered, tell them you are all ready booked on another show. Make people think you are always working 😉

  4. My personal advice right at this moment is to take that serving job. It isn’t super busy in Vancouver right now and the Olympics are coming. January, February and March are going to be dead so the odds of breaking in are pretty low. Don’t be discouraged though, when April/May comes around call everyone you know who works in locations and let them know you are looking for work. Find a short film/indiepilot/web series with a decent crew and volunteer for a few days. On our show the LM was the ALM on a big TV Show that needs a lot of PAs so now the best of our volunteers are working fairly regularly. It’s all about who knows you.

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