Gilda Graham: The Hero‘s Journey
Gilda Graham is an actor, screenwriter and Emmy-nominated producer. She also helps others navigate the stressful nature of the film and television industry through her coaching program, "The Hero's Journey," in which she helps people write their own scripts by figuring out where they are now, where they want to be, and guiding them on their path to get there. In this episode, we discuss her passion for the film industry, and why she had to pursue that career path, even if it wasn't what her family wanted for her. Her journey, like the journey many creatives take, has taken many twists and turns along the way, but they all led her to the place she is right now - exactly where she's meant to be. Gilda explains the importance of understanding and managing your finances so you can afford the freedom to say no to jobs you don't want and focus on the ones you're passionate about (spoiler alert: you don't need to make a ton of money to be money smart). We talk a lot about trust - trusting yourself, the people you hire, and the people you work with, and also trusting that life will take you where you're meant to go, even if it happens slower than you might like. We also touch on the importance of avoiding burnout by taking breaks, honoring your visions, and finding a few minutes each day to do something healthy for your mind. Connect with Gilda: https://www.gildagraham.com/ Instagram @miss_ggraham Twitter @gildagraham YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXTgk_yxX7qzEI2F6T6L7dw Connect with me on your favorite platform: https://pods.link/aardvarkgirl -- 00:18 I've always wanted to go into the film industry. When I was about 12 or 13, it was just something that I...something was calling to me. I loved storytelling. I loved being able to tell a story and to move people. 05:07 It took me a while to trust the process. You always want to be in control of your own life, and that's something that I've learned through energy healing, like doing Reiki. And then also just letting go, and surrendering, and understanding that you are in control of your life in a sense. But for me, I believe life also knows and controls that aspect and it just goes a lot slower than you. So, you have to be completely patient in some way but just kind of keep the ball rolling. 08:23 It's part of growing up in your first few jobs. Whether it's in studio, or corporate, agency, whatever it is, you're going to learn who you want to work with, and who you don't want to work with. It takes time. It takes energy to figure that out, and it does take money. And people don't realize that money and finances have a huge part to play in you actually working on things that you want, as opposed to you don't want. But it's a huge part of it, because you can afford then to say no to somebody. 13:21 And I think what you learn in acting, if you have a good coach, is trust. You have to trust the other people. You have to trust that they know how to make the right decisions. And if they don't, you come out of love, and you make it for them without making it seem as though you're choosing. And that kind of comes into all aspects of a job. You have to trust the people that you hire to do the job. You have to trust yourself to hire the right people. And then you have to trust the people to know that they love their job enough to do it correctly. 17:22 I was just at a Fortune 500 corporate company, and one of the only other female producers, I remember her saying something along the lines of, “This is dog eat dog. And if I have to just care for myself, then I guess that's how it's gonna be.” And it’s a small department, so if you’re eating somebody, you’re eating your coworker, and we all know it. We all understand what you’re talking about. 20:04 There is a lot of unhealthiness going on, and that you have to be around, to get the paycheck and the benefits, and all that good stuff that comes with it. And it got to a point to where, for me, I wasn't showing up to myself the way that I needed to. I went from a perfectionist to someone who was now mediocre at her job, because you were so tied down to only doing what they want you to do, and then being reprimanded if you did anything more or wanted more. And that's the sad part about being in departments. There's not much room for growth, and people don't really appreciate you, and companies want to keep you down, I feel. At least that was my experience. 25:32 We're all spirits having a human experience. There's the light and the darkness. You have to have darkness in order to see the light. We all have to go down the hill to then go up the hill. 27:25 You experience burnout when you keep going and you keep going and you don't stop and give yourself a break. And then your bills just keep coming. This is why I said finances are just as important because it allows you some freedom. And you don't need to make thousands of dollars to be able to do it. You just need to know how to manage it. So yeah, I did experience burnout because it was just like, go, go, go, go go. Pay the bill, pay the bill, pay the bill. And there were no breaks. There was no recharging of your batteries. And people will take from you if you allow. They will take everything that you have, if that's what you are giving them. 34:45 So many people do not communicate and keep things to themselves because they don't want to be judged. 39:24 In a script, you have the hero's journey, and they go through the whole process of the hero. And I realized, technically in films, these heroes, they're supposed to be us. That's why we look at them as heroes and it touches our heart, and we get inspired. We're all trying to be heroes in our own journey. Some people decide not to take those journeys or those steps, but the steps are there. They're there. It's just up to you to take them or not. And so, I use the hero's journey to show where somebody is in their point in life and where they want to go. I use the chart as a way to kind of gauge who someone is, and what they want in the industry, and to help them on their path and guide them. So they're writing their own script, basically. 44:14 If you're really passionate about wanting something here, there's no straight line to it. You got to go this way and this way and this way to get to it because that's called life. It's called life. I don't know many people that just go straight in one direction. And if I do, they really have kind of a little bit of a boring life, I suppose, but they like it that way. So it's okay, as long as you love your life. 46:45 I don't even think that I was even given a choice in the sense of what I like or don't like, because I was just born with big visions. I was born with ideas. And to not honor what I was born with in my mind, I feel like I'm not utilizing life in the correct manner. And if I'm going to confuse somebody as to what I'm doing in life, and that puts a pause on them because then they don't know how to hire me, then that's okay. 47:52 I think that we're in this world to not just live and take, but to give, and that's really important for me. And it's not just money. Sometimes giving your time means a lot more. And that's what people need a lot of times, is your time and your love. 48:42 If I were to wave a magic wand, what would your life really look like? Ask yourself, why aren't you taking those steps? What's stopping you from actually doing it? Don't be afraid to get the help you need to make that happen for you, because you're worth it.