Screenwriter/blogger extraordinaire John August posted his speech to a recent graduating class of a film school, and all I can say is 'wow'.
You may think you’re going to be a screenwriter, a director or an editor, but the odds are you’ll be all of those things on different projects at different times.
The one thing you won’t be is an amateur. I want you to banish that word, because you need to treat everything you do from the moment you walk out the door as a professional. This is now your job.
That means doing your best work at all times, even when it doesn’t seem to matter. You may feel like you’re not getting graded. You are. It’s just that no one is telling you what score you got.
And let’s talk about your classmates. You probably have some good friends and some people you kind of hope to never see again. While you were in the program here, you had to rely on them. Your professors put you in teams. You got along, you fought, whatever. That doesn’t stop. No one makes a movie by himself. So if by next weekend, you’re not reading one of their scripts, or helping on something they’re shooting, something’s wrong. Trust me that five years from now, the most successful person in this class will be the one who worked the hardest for other people.
My last piece of advice is probably the one most likely to induce insomnia. Every night when you go to bed, ask yourself: What did you do today to get closer to your goals? That’s a hard question to ask. Feel free to beat yourself up, because no one else will anymore. That’s the best and worst thing about graduating — it’s the end of the systematic evaluation of your progress.
Go read all of John's speech HERE. All I can say is it seems to take me an entire semester to impress upon students everything he said so eloquently in just a few well-worded paragraphs.