What Does Success Mean to You?

What's Your Definition of Success_Mentorless_Nathalie Sejean

What Does Success Mean to You?

There are two questions often asked to creatives who made it: where do your idea come from? and what does success mean to you?

Every answer is different but for the latter, every answer is the reflection of the same truth: success is whatever makes you feel good. For some it’s money, for others it’s social recognition, and for plenty it’s about personal alignment between values and lifestyle.

During her interview with Dear Producer, “successful” producer Megan Gilbride got asked the question and Gilbride answered:

My definition of success is “You’re still doing it”.

I love this definition because filmmaking but also art-ing in general are marathons with no end line. And it only takes doing it more than a few years to look left and right and realize most of the people you’ve started with have given up, and the more you continue the more you see others (the ones that came before and the one that came after) giving up.

It’s hard to explain to people from the outside how much of a marriage the creative life is and how much will it sometimes takes just to still be doing it.

Gilbride goes on to explain why she opted for this definition of success:

We work in an industry where you could be at the peak of your success, better things could be happening to you than anything you’ve ever imagined and someone will come up to you in that moment and they will say: “But what are you doing next?” And it’s like, you’re having the thing, you’re checking all of the boxes you didn’t even know were there and the next question is: “But what are you doing after this?”

When you’re in the shit and things are terrible it’s like “What are you making now? What are you doing next?” and then when things are really great and unimaginable it’s like “But what are you doing next?”

So success is just that you’re still doing it, and I try to remind myself of that when I’m having a moment of “things are falling apart!” and a project where I’ve put a lot of time and energy to is not going to go forward or nobody wants to make it and we’ve done everything we can. I try to remind myself that that’s the definition, that I’m still doing it.

Thanks to Rob Hardy for the video discovery.