Yesterday I met a really distant cousin (along with a close cousin) when I was out shopping with my m-in-law.
The distant cousin was an IAS aspirant has given 2 attempts already. I really had good appreciation for him - but after a while I started sensing a sort of irreverence with my choice of profession. He was like "your study is not really study" and "your work is not really work." He actually thought I took an early retirement because of burn out.
It's always with everyone - all my relatives have to mention iit kanpur-microsoft thing before talking about the fact that i am a film maker. That's why my hats off to Udai singh or other "boys" who take the switch because the "relatives" of our societies will never spare a non-earning man.
Well in my attempt to give my cousin a befitting reply, I told them that if one enjoys what one learns and does - it never seems work. But it was a smart reply not a convincing one. Also when I told them that film making requires a good study of psychology of people, a philosophical stand and keen observation of day to day life - they seemed even less amused.
What psychology and philosophy do you study? What books do you really read? Will you make a art movie ?
And after a point, I really stopped arguing with them because they were not open to listen - as compared to some of my friends who showed super keenness in understanding how a movie is made, how edit points are chosen etc etc.
One never questions the work of a software engineer. Or effectiveness of a general physician. Not everyone can be one. But people at large assume that one can anyday choose to be a painter, guitarist, writer (everybody in this world thinks they can be a writer) or a moviemaker.
But how much can I blame them myself? One of the things that the film school did to me was provide me a correction of my own sense of capabilities. I joined thinking that I will make the best movies ever made. Now I know the gap I had to cover, the nuances I needed to capture and inspite that unpredictability of the outcome of one's work is something I have to live with. Hard work and intelligence both are not enough to make a good film..The truth is to do sustainable well in any profession one needs to be disciplined, work hard and needs to be humble enough to want to learn from others.
Every person thinks that he/she can replicate a work of art and not just replicate but always improve. Basically there is no visible information asymmetry between an artist and a layman. And hence an artist can never be regarded higher than a doctor (who might be a really bad doctor - more harmful than the next door serial killer - but he is a doctor nevertheless).
And that's the truth we all have to accept at some point and generally smile when we meet our relatives.