I realized today that while the podcast and this blog have been covering all aspects of the job-part of what I'm doing with this year, I haven't done much to talk about what I've been able to do with some of the newfound free time that I've gotten with this move. It's certainly part of the experience I'd like to remember, since my entire backup plan in the event of failure is to write it all off as a year-long sabbatical.
Video Games and Movies. OK done.
Well, I guess there's more to it than that, but I think that sums it up nicely.
This switch to full-time has resulted in earning 55 hours a week of my life back to split up and devote to other activities. I want to say about 20-25 of those hours have been tacked on to the hours I've already been investing into the channel. The rest has been a split between trying to get back to the gym more and catching up on gaming, movies, and TV.
Back in college I was a media glutton. I was playing a new video game pretty much every single week (thanks GameFly) and I was going through Netflix DVDs so fast it had to be hurting their bottom line. I was pretty efficient with my school work and I was no social butterfly, so I just had all this free time on my hands. My creative endeavors were pretty much limited to my film school work and the one time I tried to start a video game podcast with two of my online friends.
That was almost ten years ago to the day, and because I'm a digital pack rat, of course I have an episode saved. Talk about a really unenthusiastic radio presence.
Even when I got my first real job and moved out for the first time, I still didn't really have any creative hobbies and I still wasn't really socially active, so for a while there my routine was essentially work followed by playing games followed by work and so on.
It wasn't until I got into Howcast Gaming and then Rob Plays That Game that I really started to apply my free time to activities I considered productive. For some reason, rather than dipping my toes into it or finding a balance, I went full throttle into the project. Suddenly, if I wasn't asleep or at work, I was working on the channel. Back when Rob Plays was a gaming channel "work" still involved playing video games, but it wasn't the same as before. I was playing with the specific goal of making content. If the game wasn't "good for YouTube", I didn't bother. How much fun I was having with the game itself was second to that.
Anyway I won't go into that too much. I feel like the first few posts covered those years well enough. Suffice it to say, it's been a long time since I've been able to just enjoy leisure activities.
Back when I was working in advertising I had a bad habit of buying games knowing full well I likely wasn't going to play them all the way through. Like I said, I was mostly just working on the channel with my free time, so it wouldn't be uncommon for me to buy a game on Steam, play less than an hour of it, and then never touch it again. I had the disposable income at the time and kept telling myself that it was my childhood dream come true. The added justification I always fed myself was that one day I would be unemployed, willingly or otherwise, and would be thankful to have a giant backlog of games to play at no additional cost.
While I'm not unemployed now, I do have that extra time, so I've begun to work through that backlog. Last week I binged though Subnautica, which I had bought back when it was early access. Really fun game. It's essentially underwater Minecraft with a story and a narrative ending. I managed to beat it over a two day weekend.
So one down, about 300 or so to go.
I've also really gotten back into films and television. Whenever channel work doesn't require audio, like say color correcting videos or thumbnail design, I like to pop on Netflix or HBO. I managed to work my way through the entirety of The Sopranos back in January for instance.
This time last year whenever someone suggested a movie to me I would make a mental note and think to myself "maybe someday." Now I just see if it's streaming and pop it on. While I've been enjoying it as leisure, I've also been telling myself that focusing on good movies might help me down the line with storytelling when the Disney D&D project finally begins.
I've also been going to the movies more as well. Not to make it sound like a MoviePass ad, but I attribute my ability to see more films directly to MoviePass. Here in New York City your average 2D, non-IMAX movie ticket with tax will run you $16-$18. So it's not an exaggeration to say that with MoviePass and it's $10 monthly fee, I'm saving money by the first film of each month.
So today on a whim I just went into the city to see "Have a Nice Day". It's exactly the kind of movie I wouldn't have gone and paid nearly $20 to go see, and it's definitely not the kind of movie I would have been able to carve out time to go see. Back when I was at my day job going to the movies was, no joke, something I would have to plan weeks in advance so I could adjust my work schedule to free up the time.
The best part was I saw it in the middle of a day on a Thursday. There were like four other people in the theater. So not only is it going to the movies for what feels like free, it's without all of the stuff I hate about going to the movies.
Overall I'm enjoying it. I feel like I'm getting to enjoy my life more than I was before, and yet I still feel productive and like I'm growing professionally. I do still carry this small sense of guilt whenever I spend any longer than the length of a movie on relaxing, but I'm getting there.