It Ain’t Over, Baby

Ever tried to break up with your past, and it just keeps coming back to stalk you?

A few weeks ago, I was announcing my availability on the employment market.  Here I was thinking I would find a nice, straightforward, job with fixed hours and low responsibility…

Yeah, really, who was I kidding?

When I think of prospective employers glancing at my resume, I realise there’s no emoticon for the look I can see on their face.

My employment history reads like my life.

It's complicated

It could explain why I haven’t had so much as a call back.

But the fact is – I haven’t been trying very hard because there was another job that had my name on it.  A job I was meaning to avoid…

I started out making videos in the days of standard definition (ie. before HD).

Back then (if you don’t listen to the professionals) it was possible to whack a video camera on auto and get some reasonably decent shots.

Buoyed by the success of my first family video, I fell in love, in more ways then one, and so commenced a long and complicated affair with community video.

It brought me in touch with a quaint little eco-museum, and next thing I knew I was applying for grants, filming cockatoos and standing in front of classes of school kids pretending to have a clue about clay animation.

Three years and not much money later, a 15 minute educational DVD was complete.


It had a little bit of everything – history and wildlife, animation, indigenous storytelling.  Funded in part by the Environment Protection Authority, it was designed to inspire kids to look after their waterways.

For me, the measure of its success was seeing the kids lining up for copies to take home to mum and dad.  And hearing afterwards that some of them had dragged their parents to a creek tree-planting event.

I could have walked away happy from video then.  But, somehow, word spread and despite its technical flaws, the DVD was successful enough to land me my first ‘professional’ gig with the local university.

Freaking at the thought of what that meant, I figured I should at least look the part and upgrade to a ‘real’ camera.


Enter the nightmare that is HD.

My guess is they invented HD to get rid of self-taught amateurs like me.  Auto, if it ever really was an option, most definitely died with HD.

Mastering manual settings on the fly is bad enough.  But then comes the question of formats and codecs and frame rates and compression settings and by the time you read all the conflicting information on all the forums ever written…

Let’s just say that there was a certain irony in making videos about Positive Education while on the inside I was channelling The Scream.

Seven videos later, I decided video making was definitely not for me.  I was about to put the camera on eBay when…

…through a complex network of ‘who you know’, a local animal hospital offered a commission to record interviews for a historical memoir.

The thing is, it’s not just any animal hospital.  It’s Pepi’s hospital.


I never could say no to him.

So, I guess the moral of the story is…“it ain’t over til it’s over”! 

In the coming weeks, I hope to entertain you all with some fur raising stories of the video making adventure.  And I know, somewhere, that Pepi will be smug at how it all goes back to him 🙂

When was the last time you tried to break up with your past? Did it end well?


If you’d like to know more about Pepi, check out these posts:

The Best Man in My Life
Dear Pepi

But if you’d prefer the shorter, heart-warming version, go here.


  1. says

    That sounds a wonderful video on the environment Alarna, and my bet is that if you’re doing something you love – working with animals at Pepi’s
    hospital, it’ll take you another step along the way of your life.
    I found your video really interesting, and so impressive…

    • says

      Oh, thank you Valerie. It’s a challenge, that’s for sure, but I’m enjoying the project so far. It is in line with the subject matter I’m drawn to (history / animals), and the stories I’m hearing are quite fascinating. Will see where it takes me 🙂

  2. Deliberately Delicious says

    I love the idea of “breaking up with our past”! Except it never happens, does it? All we can do is learn from it and move forward. I hope that as you embark on this project, you rediscover all that first drew you to video in the first place. And I hope it keeps you connected to that special little dog, too!

  3. says

    I think that if you enjoy it, Alarna, then you need to follow through with it. Everything has a learning curve, so you’re no worse off than if you hadn’t tried at all. At least this way, you’re learning and growing. Keep it up!

    • says

      Thanks Kate – it is one big learning curve. For me, I think it is as much about doing what you enjoy, as it is following through on a chosen path until its natural conclusion. Will see what happens 😉

  4. WordsFallFromMyEyes says

    Did YOU make that video Alarna? That’s fantastic! I also like the content of it. ‘expected behaviours’ is a funny term though, I think. It raises the rebel just the slightest, but when you think ‘if we all had a general bar of knowing where life is most comfortable at – you know?

    I see you would appreciate my amateur video efforts then. I love video making. It IS for me. Would love to make moulah from it all – writing, video etc.

    But back to you!! I didn’t know you are looking for work. I do hope you get it. My resume – I was literally telling a girl at work yesterday – has heaps of omissions in it. I omitted what I knew an office didn’t want to know about. Just remember – you can leave out what you want to.


    • says

      Noeleen – I appreciate your comment! Yes, I was moved by your video about your Mum, and I’ve seen some of your other videos, too. You obviously have a passion for it 🙂

      ‘Expected behaviours’ does make me bristle slightly. I guess that’s the school setting talking, but it would be nice to have a guide sometimes, huh?

      Omissions. Yes. I think I will need to revisit, and simplify. Thank you!

  5. says

    Breaking with the past is like breaking up with that guy who just DOESN’T get it and thinks you’re still in love with him.

    I don’t really have much of a past yet, though… still in high school 😀

    • says

      Breaking up with the past – exactly. Sometimes it just won’t take a hint 😉

      In your case, it’s a great place to be – looking ahead at possibilities. Enjoy it, Brittany!

  6. says

    The above doesn’t seem such a bad past to get back together with, it’s all a learning experience, and for yours, the more you practice and experiment outside of the paid work, the better you will find your way each time. My past in media/communications based work (design/development), such as interactive promotion dvds, some websites, and other writing and animation related pasts, always seem to come around in cycles, it never ends while it’s out there where someone knows about it or can find it.

    • says

      You are quite right, Sean. It does come back in cycles, once it is in the public sphere, and one always learns something new each time! I’d be interested to hear more of your design/development background… You say past, so I gather you’re not doing it anymore. Did you enjoy it?

      • says

        It’s just that I have not done much for awhile in terms of paying gigs. Another way to say I have not stepped from the edge out into the abyss as yet, is perhaps a better way of phrasing the state of affairs. I probably should practice more of what I know in that area of skills, but I slack off sometimes, life’s distractions.

      • says

        Turning a creative passion into a paying gig is never easy. I’m not sure the two things always mix well, but it would be great to have those skills at your disposal!

  7. says

    I enjoyed watching the three videos, Alarna,and listening to the New Zealand accents. Good luck as you revisit your past and move on with what inspires you.It sounds very positive.

  8. says

    Alarna….the three videos are great!! And Yes, I have left jobs or experiences thinking that I would never have an opportunity to use what I learned, only to create or find a job that built on everything I had learned. It is a cool experience; one that re-affirms my belief that there is a pattern to our lives, even it we cannot see it ourselves. Good luck with the new project. Kim

    • says

      Thank you Kim! There are lots of surprises ahead, of that I am sure. And it is encouraging to hear other people’s stories, and how the past does recur or reinvent itself… I need to remember, nothing is wasted!

  9. says

    What about breaking up with my present? I’m having one of those days I’d like to just go away. 🙂
    I love that Pepi is involved in some way. Seems completely fitting, Alarna. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

    • says

      Oh, thank you Coleen. You know, we’re on a wavelength here, because I’m having one of those days too. Maybe a momentary break in the routine is what’s needed? Hope you feel better… 🙂

  10. says

    Now, I’m trying to break up with my past and it keeps running after me! Go for it Alarna and do what you like and what makes you happy. My CV looks exactly like that picture in your post: “It’s very complicated…”

      • says

        To be quite honest Alarna, I haven’t been searching much lately so I can’t blame anyone but myself. I’m quite happy just blogging and writing for the moment and I’m just taking a break from looking constantly for work. I’m looking in anything that can touch PR, journalism or law.

      • says

        Good for you, Rita. The constant job hunt can be quite demoralising – I’m glad you are taking a break to explore your passion. Enjoy it – who knows where it might lead!

  11. says

    Ah, one’s past can be hard to shake, can’t it? And I sympathise with the complicated resume. I always say that I have had a career – in the sense of weaving wildly and erratically from one thing to another meaning of the word!

  12. says

    Hi Alarna. Don’t feel alone my dear. I think most people feel as you. I also think it’s hard on us artists, to find a way to make our passions pay and support us. And how can one truly be happy unless they are doing what they love. Everything that has happened to you has for a reason and will find a way to even out in your life and reach a positive place for you! And that picture of Pepi is so precious!!

    • says

      Your words are always so full of encouragement – thank you! I forget that the world of bloggers is full of struggling artists, and that is a comfort in itself! 🙂 (He is cute, huh? That picture was taken one Christmas after he had somewhat overindulged…)

  13. says

    Breaking up with the bad past might serve you some happiness in the present, but not in the future! All these are just random experiences in life. We must have to accept them all in one or other way, uh? 😀 🙂


  14. lynnkelleyauthor says

    I missed this post somehow. How awesome that you made that DVD. No wonder you take such beautiful photos. I didn’t know you did videography work. You must have a natural eye for good shots. That’s wonderful that you’re doing work for Pepi’s animal hospital! Isn’t that something? Super special. I don’t know anything about HD, but what a shame it messed things up for you. I’m glad this job opened up for you and I look forward to hearing about your fur-raising videos. That’s so cool. I love playing around with iMovie and making silly YouTube videos, but I’m a complete amateur. I could never tackle anything serious like you’re doing. I find it intriguing. Looking forward to seeing some of your videos!

    • says

      Part of what I admire about you, Lynn, is you’re not scared to give the technology a go. And you do pretty well, I have to tell you!

      I have always been drawn to the visual, I just wish sometimes I had stuck with photography at school – there’s something to be said for formal training. Of course, the technology has changed – and changes very rapidly – these days. And that’s the challenge!

      Will keep you posted 🙂


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