“I spent the whole day clicking photos and documenting the big ceremony at the Kasha monastery. It was snowing and I was struggling with the sub-zero temperatures. It was so cold that the pixels on the monitor would freeze!”, narrates Rahul, about yet another day at his work.
Meet Rahul Datta of Starving Artist films
If you’d ask him to write a professional looking intro, it would be something like this.
Rahul wants to conquer the world and his weapons are his stories. He starts by hunting for moments and memories, a hunt which has taken him from working on a ship to long boarding in remote mountains. Once found, he weaves them together into motion picture stories, not always following a predictable script but always carrying a piece of himself.
Rahul has managed to create a life around traveling, both personally and professionally. Usually we define our lives with our professions. So if your profession is letting you travel a lot, you are leading a life full of travels!
“My job requires me to travel, so travel is a constant. I do not make money if I do not move!”, says Rahul Datta, a former Merchant Navy officer who turned into a film maker.
The jobs that let one travel
These days everyone dreams of a job that give them opportunities to travel. The best, one can dream is a lifestyle where travel and work coexist! It is reported that Google is fed up of people who keeps on asking how to earn while traveling! Only a small percentage of people actually finds such jobs.
Rahul has always been smart enough to figure out jobs that let him travel while enjoying his work. He started his professional life as an officer in the Merchant Navy. So the traveling part was a constant companion for him.
When Rahul says “I do not make money if I do not move”, he wasn’t referring to his job as a Merchant Navy officer. But he was referring to his new job which he had started a couple of years ago. He is a film maker now, who runs a company called Starving Artist Films.
In his own words, this is what Starving artist films does.
We help turn ordinary stories into extraordinary ones. And extraordinary stories into unforgettable ones.
As time passes, touch becomes a distant memory, smells are forgotten, words erased from our heads…but visual memories fade away last. That’s why films are our currency. Starving Artist Films is a company based out of Goa, India.
Merchant Navy officer to Film maker
Did Rahul really quit his job to become a film maker and to travel more freely with a passion and purpose? He says no.
When u think about someone quitting their job to follow a passion it automatically is understood that the person in context was unhappy with the previous job and had other passions to pursue. I do not think that was the case. Since I loved my previous job sailing on merchant vessel and traveling the world, I would go back if I was not having fun right now making films.
A creative and unsettling mind seeking for newer experiences is quite understandable. Creative minds want changes, they can’t settle, they are never satisfied and are always starving! They are after their passions and newer experiences!
I believe follow your passion is bullshit advice. I thought that was true up till the point when I was questioning what is my passion? You are not passionate about things you constantly suck at, and doing things which are right, are intuitive. You gravitate towards them. But if you cannot backup passion with hours and hours of skill, that passion never leads to outcomes you desire. It is always a struggle. Before we raise our hands and yell “Follow your passion”, we must first question what is it that you want? And statistically notice what do you spend time on, follow that as a lead and that might lead you to your true passion.”
You can see a passionate guy with a broken nose -which happened due to a face forward fall during the trek- trying to warm up in subzero temperature conditions at high altitude, up in the Himalayas!
People usually enjoy the aesthetics of such pictures and respond with a wow. They usually don’t bother to focus on the struggles to reach such a point and the passion that fuels such adventures!
Maybe one can do it once, out of their adventure spirit. But to do it repeatedly, one has to be passionate enough! Every now and then we need to do a ‘find your true passion’ test to figure that out!
Some More Conversations with Rahul
It was not over night. I didn’t accept it to myself for the longest time, that I had quit my sailing profession to make films. But whenever I would travel abroad and filled out immigration forms where I started filling “occupation- filmmaker” and that constant reinforcement (of sorts) slowly seeped into me. And then to take your work to the next level you need to have extreme ownership and that is what happened instinctively once I had put in the hours.
Not really , I am working since from my previous job to this one. The constant has been me traveling. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The idea was not to make money ever by switching jobs or get a creative satisfaction. The idea was to do something new everyday and every time, and that is what has kept me going ever since .
I made a lot of free films for my friends and people I liked. Then I showcased them. That is how I started. Later people got in touch and thus it all started!
Lets talk about Social and Financial sides
These are the initial days. I have been running this as a company setup for 2 years . This is my third year. Financially I am doing okay but I wish I had someone telling me how to invest and save money. I would have been a lot richer (for lack of words) today!
At the moment it is good, but could definitely get better. The bread winner is definitely the films! Other projects are in very nascent stages
I never seek validation from family or anyone else, so there is no pressure. There is pressure when you care about people. Ever since I was a kid I have had extreme ownership to what I do and extreme independence. It helped.
I have no advice as such, maybe one would be “Do not undersell your work, do not agree to the money they offer, EVER ! Demand more.” Also I found out this the hard way, money goes and comes in, keep a buffer/safety net before you take that leap.
Depends , we all love freedom but not responsibility. Freedom is a burden if you are not ready to own up to every single little minuscule detail in your life.
- You need to be good at a skill which you are passionate about, in order to live a travel life.
- Passion/profession helping him to travel : Film making
- Pursuing one’s passion to be able to travel required a lot of hard work and dedication.
- “Freedom is a burden if you are not ready to own up to every single little minuscule detail in your life.”
What do you think about Rahul’s story? Are you planning to lead such a lifestyle, a life full of travels?
If you have missed how another marine engineer turned into a travel blogger, check out the blog.