“I’m still working full time 40 hours a week just to pay bills and stuff,” says Film Connection apprentice Matthew Gibson, “but on my off days I’m doing stuff like this.”

But for Matthew, “stuff like this” is the real stuff, not the full-time job he mentioned. A committed Film Connection apprentice at Skydive Films in Nashville, Tennessee, Matthew is showing great potential as a film professional—so much so that his mentor, Zac Adams has been involving him on lots of his company’s projects. In the few months since Matthew started with the Film Connection, he’s earned real film credits on several feature film projects, including Pre-Production Assistant on a documentary to be narrated by Billy Bob Thornton, and Sound Recorder and Assistant to the Editor credits on the just-released documentary Autism In America, narrated by Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson! Matthew even earned Assistant Director credits on some scenes within the latter project because of his behind the camera work.

All while juggling a full-time job.

How does he do it? One word: passion.

“I’m more project focused than I am day-after-day sort of focused,”  says Matthew. “I don’t mind working hard as long as I can pace myself.”

Still, he admits it’s exhausting at times. He recalls looking forward to a Sunday morning off when his mentor, Zac Adams, gave him a call. “He was like, ‘Well, we We gotta shoot. We need you. It would be beneficial for you to be on set. Can you be there?’” Matthew recalls. “I was at a shoot at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning.”

As grueling as it can be to work an apprenticeship around a full-time job, Matthew wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s grateful that the Film Connection gives him the opportunity to learn, and grateful that Zac gives him the opportunity to build his resume. “The more you can do, the more you can sell yourself,” he says. “I’d like to learn as much of it as I can.”

And for Matthew, the payoff of building a film career is worth the extra effort. “I’ve worked enough crappy jobs to know that you should focus,” he says. “You’re going to be more successful doing something that you like doing. That’s why I’m doing this…I will take the risk because it’s something I want to learn and to do and love.”

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