Real, Raw Advice on Finding a Career & Fulfillment from Award Winning Film Producer Linda Burns

Director_Linda Burns2

You don’t have to have your passions and career plans all figured out when you graduate.

Director_Linda Burns2

I interviewed award winning film producer (and fishing aficionado) Linda Burns on her career, the film industry, and finding fulfillment and success. Here was her advice to young people of all backgrounds and pursuits, about finding their passion and finding career fulfillment. This is one of three parts from our interview.
Atlanta-based Linda Burns  – producer for over 20 years of award-winning films (such as V/H/S and Petunia), shows (like Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell), commercials, and music videos (Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Outkast, and others). She’s also a bit of an expert in “following your own path” and “figuring it out as you go”–having wandered from Michigan to Hawaii to Key West to Atlanta in her early adulthood, working as a weed puller, fisherman, and radio DJ before landing in the film industry (read her story here).

“We all say ‘find your passion,’ but parents are like, ‘go get a job, kid.’
“Finding your passion at 18 or 20 is hard, because you don’t have any life experience. Some people may know exactly what they want to do when they graduate. At 40 I was still unsure if I was doing the right thing. I loved it, but I was still unsure. There wasn’t one thing I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about everything. I learn something new every day. I’m one of those people who’s just good at a lot of stuff (except for bowling and pitching – I don’t know, my arm goes sideways). I’m good at stuff that I try, I just figure stuff out. Literally, 20 years into this career, I still didn’t think this was what I’m “supposed to do.” But I love what I do. Don’t be afraid to not have a clue what you’re doing with your life.
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“If you can afford to travel, travel the world. Don’t be so caught up in what the world tells you you have to do. You don’t have to settle down and have kids at 24 or 26 or 28. Get some life experience. Give yourself the space to evolve and grow as you gain life experience. And don’t be afraid to completely change your mind and your career path.
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“Work hard. No matter what it is you want to do, and where your goals are, pay attention to the thing you’re doing in the moment. If you’re not doing the job today that someone’s paying you to do, nobody’s going to think you’re good enough to take somewhere else. If you don’t excel at the shitty job that you’re doing right now that you don’t care about, you’re not showing anyone what you’re capable of. It shouldn’t matter what you’re doing; do it 100% and with a good attitude.
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“Old school rules are still important. Spelling matters. Grammar is important. When you’re invited out to the bar with your office staff, don’t show your ass. Don’t be the drunk guy at the office party. All those old rules and etiquette things still matter and will continue to matter.
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“Be a good human being, be a good steward of the world, and hopefully good things will come your way. When they don’t, shit happens. As soon as you think ‘I’ve made it,’ something is going to kick you in the teeth. Your car will catch on fire, your house will explode.
“Life is constantly throwing things at you, and what makes it interesting is how you deal with it.
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“Passion doesn’t do it. Experience and hard work doesn’t do it. You have to have both . There’s plenty of people that are really passionate about shit that have no skill. There are plenty of people who have skill and no passion. Mix those two together, and you’re unstoppable.
“Don’t worry about money. Money will come. If you’re good at something and you love it, and you’re enthusiastic, and it drives you and you get excited when you talk about something, that passion is contagious. Eventually that will lead to a successful career.

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Read the other two parts here:

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Matt Gwin
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