If you’re near graduation and you're worrying about your post-grad plans, don’t freak out! From unpaid internships to stripping, it took these Oscar winners a while to get the swing of things too.
Newspaper Graveyard Shift
The first job Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Anomalisa, Being John Malkovich) locked down after graduating from NYU was in Minneapolis working in the circulation department of the Star Tribune. He’d get up at 4 every morning to take missed paper calls while also trying (unsuccessfully) to get an agent and writing spec scripts. Eventually he moved to Los Angeles with no job and no prospects.
Working In The Middle Of The Sea
Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Before Midnight) dropped out of school to work on an offshore oil rig for two and a half years, saving up enough to move to Austin and buy a Super 8 camera..
After Diablo Cody (Juno) graduated, she did some secretarial work at a Chicago law firm and proofread ads for a newspaper before becoming so bored that she quit to become a full-time stripper and write about her experiences.
“Mindless” Office Work
When Nancy Oliver (Lars And The Real Girl) graduated and her writing partner moved to Los Angeles, she elected to stay in Florida taking menial office jobs to fund her own projects. She would do “anything anyone would pay me to do that was kind of mindless — typing, filing, Xeroxing — so I could save the rest for writing.” She only moved to LA about two decades later, when a computer game she wrote for relocated there.
Working On Sesame Street
Josh Singer (Spotlight), was initially a business and law student. He spent his post-grad years working in consulting for McKinsey & Company before working on Sesame Street (or, at least the company that produces it). He then took the classic entertainment industry rite of passage: the internship. He interned with both Nickelodeon in New York and Disney Channel in Los Angeles
After graduating, Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, Up) moved to Minneapolis with a few friends and performed sketch comedy until he was completely sick of it. He then moved to Chicago to do theater.
Literally Everything Else
After graduating from Amherst, David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) did anything he could to make a little money, from bartending and waiting to working as a community organizer, to working for a booksellers’ association.
So the next time you’re fetching coffee, working the drive thru window, or living at home to save a little cash for your next big project, remember that Oscar winners have done worse.