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in Filmmaking
on Aug 3, 2009

In “A Filmmaker’s Glamorous Life,” online and in our latest print edition, Esther Robinson surveyed a number of filmmakers about the jobs they’ve taken to support themselves when they are not making films. In this blog series we’ll run the unedited responses we received that were then condensed for the piece. Below: Jake Mahaffy.

Filmmaker: How did you support yourself during the production of your last movie/movies?

Mahaffy: I’m an Associate Professor of Art & Film at Wheaton College in Massachusetts so I have a full-time teaching position.

Filmmaker: What is good/not good about this kind of job?

Mahaffy: It’s a good job with a steady paycheck, a reliable schedule and the classes help to keep me on my toes. I’m not going to complain about it.

Filmmaker: What is the best second job you ever had?

Mahaffy: This is it. Although I don’t think of it as a “second job” since it’s the only one that pays the bills. Stability is the main thing. Time is NOT money. Time is worth more than anything money can give. So having a job that doesn’t pay as much but can afford you the time to live your life is very important at the moment. And that is stability — knowing you’ve got a job, a definite schedule, low stress, no travel, no sudden deadlines with overtime or other random impositions.

There are many other benefits to a good academic position but part-time adjunct teaching is usually brutal with no salary or security to compensate for the amount of time it eats. You can end up spending too much time commuting, preparing, advising, and looking for additional classes that you’re not saving the time you thought you would by avoiding a regular full-time job. It’s also important to decide what your priorities are in having a job- if it’s status or prestige by affiliation, a bohemian lifestyle, a huge paycheck, networking your way into a higher position, geographic location… It all comes down to a balance and personality, deciding for yourself how you can manage the practical, creative schedule allowed by any given job.

Jake Mahaffy‘s shorts and low-budget features have screened in festivals and competitions around the world and has developed a new filmmaking program at Wheaton College, MA as an Associate Professor.

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