At South by Southwest, Lena Dunham said:
"The best advice I can muster after exactly four years in this business [is]... don't wait around for someone else to tell your story. Do it yourself by whatever means necessary."
This was echoed by Jason Blum:
"The advice I give for filmmakers starting out is don't wait for me. Don't wait for the industry... It's a mistake to wait for Hollywood to tell you you have a good idea. If you have a good idea, try to make it on your own as cheaply as possible… on your phone."
That goes equally for any of the creative arts. There are now so many avenues for creating something to share:
* A movie; as Blum suggests, you can do it on your phone. If you have more money, the new Black Magic camera, which comes in around $5000/ £3000 with a good lens, creates fantastic looking images.
* A book you self-publish as a regular book, an ebook, or even one told in Tweets.
* A story you tell via sending readers/viewers to a series of web sites
* A vdeo web series
* A graphic novel or comic book
* An audio book
* Live storytelling
* An audio serial you distribute as a podcast or an audio play
* A play you produce--if you can't find or afford a theater, you can have it take place outside in a public space for a small audience. Or it could be a play/movie hybrid, with parts of the story projected and parts playing live.
If you can do this only if what you produce makes money, that can change the situation. Even then, does it have to make only enough money to pay for your out-of-pocket expenses or do you expect to be able to live off the proceeds? Those are two very differnt numbers.
If you remove the demand that your creative project pay all the bills, it frees you up enormously. Could the satisfaction of creating and sharing that creation with a modest number of people be enough?
That works for my friend Charles Dayton, who is semi-retired and has written three novels featuring the 72-year-old detective Lew Travis ("Come Hell or High Water," Hell Hath No Fury," and "Hell to Pay"). The books are available for the Kindle or as pubished-on-demand paperbacks. They haven't hit any best-seller lists but that was never his goal.
He says, "After 40 years in academia, including the last 14 at Berkeley, I wanted to do something less academic. I also wanted to capture some of the history, landscape, and lifestyle here in the Sierra Nevada foothills, in a way that would hopefully be fun to read. Plus I've always loved mysteries. I think all good works of fiction are infused with a certain amount of mystery; it's what motivates the reader to keep going."
He number his readers in the tends of thousands, and giving pleasure to that number of people is a nice accomplishment.
The word "hobby" is seen as negative in the context of the arts; it suggests you are not serious. However, the definition is "an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure." I can't see anything wrong with that.
(for friendly guidance in writing your novel or screenplay, see my book, Your Writing Coach, published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)