Mar 28, 2010

Thanks Billy Bishop or whoever you were.

“Ever trust your future to a drunken conversation in a bar?”
That was a line from a brilliant play we just saw, “Billy Bishop Goes to War,” about Canadian, World War One flying ace William A. Bishop. 
The line hit home, because when I was 19 years old, I did trust my future to a conversation in a bar. Drunken or not, I’m not sure. It was in 1968. My family and I had recently moved half way around the globe from England to Vancouver. We had been looking for a local pub, (there’s one on every corner in England) but we didn’t find one near our new Vancouver home. However, we did find a Royal Canadian Legion. My mother had been in the English services, so we joined.
One evening, after a long day of working at a job I wasn’t particularly enjoying, my mother and I went for a beer at the legion to discuss our situation. Since moving to Vancouver a few months earlier, neither of us were finding the work we aspired to, or wanted. I had apprenticed and had been a photographer in England, and I was looking for a job in the profession where I could build a career. I just wasn’t finding it in Vancouver.
During the evening of beers and conversation, I was introduced to a Toronto man who was visiting Vancouver on business. We talked about the world and business, and he told me of how some people use other people for connections to get ahead in the world. Modern day networking. So I asked the question: “Do you know anyone in the photography or film business in Toronto?” He proceeded to tell me about a friend of his who worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Jobs for photographers and cameramen were posted on the jobs board all the time. He suggested that I take a trip to Toronto, talk to his friend and look at the board.
Following another family chat, I found myself on a flight bound for Toronto, and it wasn’t long before I was chatting with this man’s friend at the CBC.  “Yes.” he told me, there are were many jobs in my profession, and that I should go and register at the CBC employment office. 
With my background, education and training, it wasn’t long before I was accepted at the CBC in a foot-in-the-door job as an office junior.  It took me another two years to finally find my way around the CBC and land the career of a lifetime; first as an assistant cameraman on TV dramas and documentaries, later as a cinematographer.  They sent me around the world filming at the far reaches of humanity, and to the great capitals where I participated in the high life. I also became the youngest Director of Photography on major CBC TV dramas. When I was 36, I left the CBC to become a freelance director of photography and director, until I side-stepped the profession to start my own production business in 2002.
“Ever trust your future to a drunken conversation in a bar?” That line from “Billy Bishop Goes to War” was very much about my experience. I did trust my future to a conversation in a bar when I was 19 years old, and strangely, the Royal Canadian Legion where my life was changed, was the Billy Bishop Branch 176 in Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver.
I never saw that man again, but I knew what it was all about when I read the following saying: 
“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  
When someone enters your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have.  They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  They may seem like a godsend; and they are.  They are there for the reason you need them to be.  Then, without any wrong doing on either part, you may never see this person again.  What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled;  their work is done.  
When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.  They may bring you an experience, or make you laugh.  They may teach you something you have never done.  They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.  Believe it!  It is real!  But, only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.  Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway);  and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.  It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.”