Exploring Unschooling

Exploring Unschooling

EU336: On the Journey with Josh Ellis

November 10, 2022

This week, we are excited to share our first episode in our new On the Journey series!

Anna, Erika, and I are excited to bring guests on the podcast to share their experiences. We’ll be talking about paradigm shifts, a-ha moments, challenges they’ve faced, and realizations they’ve made on their unschooling journey.

In this episode, Erika’s husband Josh Ellis is joining us to talk about his path to unschooling, which he realized started when he was in school himself. He also shares how he’s been able to weave unschooling principles into his work as a college professor in the field of film production. We dive into many common themes, including “kids are capable,” deschooling, and connection. Josh’s enthusiasm for his work and his family life shine through in this fun conversation!

We hope you find our conversation helpful on your unschooling journey!

Watch the video of our conversation on YouTube.

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Follow @helloerikaellis on Instagram.

Check out Pam and Anna’s new podcast, The Living Joyfully Podcast.

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We invite you to join us in The Living Joyfully Network, a wonderful online community for parents to connect and engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our theme this month is Kindness and Compassion, and we’re exploring it through the lenses of stories and wholeness.


PAM: Welcome! I’m Pam Laricchia from livingjoyfully.ca and today, Anna, Erika, and I are excited to speak with Josh Ellis. Welcome, Josh!

JOSH: Hello.

ANNA: Hello.

PAM: So, to get us started, I was hoping you can give us just a bit of introduction to you and your family.

JOSH: Okay. So yes, my name’s Josh. I’m married to Erika.


JOSH: We met in film school, in graduate film school, in Tallahassee, Florida. I’m actually from Seattle, so I originally started off in that corner. And then in graduate school, we met, but we weren’t together until we moved out to Los Angeles, and then we became a couple in LA. And then, several years later had started to have children. So, a couple years after our oldest Oliver was born, we started to just think about what his future was going to look like in school and that kind of thing. And of course, we had gone to tons of school, all the way through grad school. Erika even did extra. She was going to get extra education, training, all this stuff.

And so, school was a part of our decades of life at that point. But then, just started to think about, listening to him, and watching him and being observant and thinking, I don’t know if school makes sense for the way that he is, which was, I think, kind of a leap for us anyways. Looking back, kudos to us for even acknowledging that, but it kind of hit us pretty simultaneously. And then Erika, as she usually does, did an incredible deep dive into just looking up everything and anything, articles and blogs and books and the whole thing. And then I would kind of get like the cream off the top and be like, Okay, read these five things and then talk about it.

And that kind of transitioned to maybe homeschooling to maybe project-based learning to unschooling, what does that mean? And kind of getting to that point. And obviously now we’re fully into that type of mentality, not just in kids, but just in life in general. And it feels excellent. It feels perfect.

But in terms of where we’re at right now, I mean the kids are so into many things, kind of like us. We’re into a million things, too. I know that I’ve always been into movies and video games pretty much since I can remember. And so, probably just upon demonstrating that some of that probably just wore off on the kids to some degree anyway, so they’re being exposed to it constantly.

So, Oliver really likes Legos and he really likes video games and he likes Lego video games and just starting today, we’re start getting into holiday movies again. We all really like holiday movies. We’ll watch Home Alone on repeat for the next couple months. But all four of us love that. And so, that’s something that we’ve always bonded with. Some movies are part of our lives as well and it’s a big part of my life, because that’s what I do professionally. And he plays lots of Roblox with his friends and that kind of stuff, too. Swimming is a big thing for Oliver, too, as well as Maya. Maya really likes swimming a lot, as much as possible. It’s so hot now. It’s kind of like, I almost don’t want to go outside, because it’s so hot. But this is probably the perfect time to go swimming, so we probably should get out there again very soon.

Maya likes anime. There’s a lot of anime shows that she’s really into, and I’ve never really been into that, but now I’m like, I will do anything with you, because I want to watch things with you. I want to listen to things. And so, now I’m kind of getting into that stuff, too. It’s kind of fun. Like Demon Slayer, and My Hero Academia, a bunch of these different anime shows are really interesting. And then she’s really into animals, always been a big part of her life. She has a couple video games where you design zoos, which she calls animal sanctuaries, but that’s kind of a big thing for her.

We’ve recently got a dog, a long-term dog as part of our family now. And so, taking him for a walk is a big part of her daily routine, and that’s a big thing that she’s always wanted to do. So, I try to do that with her as much as possible. I don’t know. That’s kind of a snapshot of what we’re doing day-to-day now, I guess.

PAM: You know, one thing that really jumped up for me that I love, Josh, is that shift from engaging with our kids and their interests because we want to hang out with our kids and learn more about our kids and see it through their eyes, rather than, “Oh, I don’t like those kind of shows, so you go watch that. I’ll go do my thing over here until we find the thing that we like together.” As you said, like holiday movies, like there are things that we enjoy together as a family, but we’re also unique individuals, too. And there are things that we like as a person.

Then when we can set that aside and choose to join them because we’re interested in them, so it’s not so much about the show, it’s more about them. It’s more about connecting with them. It’s more about having shared language like that we can understand when they’re sharing the next cool plot twists that happens two weeks from now or whatever. But we learn so much more about them, which makes our life just feel, for me anyway, just so much richer, because there are so many things bubbling up in it. Individual things and shared things as well, right?

JOSH: Absolutely. And I kind of have a standing rule for myself that if a kid wants to watch anything, I’m going to watch it with them. I think that I just kind of announced that to the world. And it kind of goes together with I’ve heard on the podcast a few times about trying to say yes as much as possible and trying to listen as much as possible. I think it kind of falls into that category and I kind of buy into that a lot.

But I also just want to expose myself to other content, too, so why not expose myself to things that they’re really interested in.

PAM: I have learned about so many things that I have ended up being interested in.

JOSH: Oh, totally. Yeah, absolutely.

PAM: So much of the world. We say it all the time, that our lives feel so much richer. Things I wouldn’t have gone to or looked at without them being interested in them first. But like, yeah, there’s still music that I listen to from when my kids were interested in it.

JOSH: So many kinds of music. Absolutely. 

PAM: Even now, I’m diving into video games much more just because that interest has been bubbling through our days for so long. But anyway, yes, it’s beautiful.

ERIKA: I was just thinking, it’s so interesting, because I think that was one of the things I hadn’t really realized going into parenting, like how different they were going to end up being from the two of us even. It was like, but we’re going into this with so many interests, between the two of us, and so much excitement about life, and we do so many things. And yet, here they are with even more things and different things and just a completely different way of being in the world. And so, yeah, if you’re open to that, I feel like I learn so much from them.

ANNA: I was going to say, too, that I think, being our scanner personality that likes to learn all the things, that was how it was for us, too. It was just like, ah, they’re bringing in all these things I hadn’t even thought of. And I want to learn all about it. I love that.

PAM: Yeah, and because we want to lean into connection with our kids, it gives us so many more pieces, so many more threads that we can connect through. Like, holiday movies really only become a thing for a couple of months a year. There are seasons for interests, too, which reminds me, so when we see an interest, an interest of our child’s might have a season. It might come in, peak, and it might be two months, six months, two weeks, whatever. But when we, as you said, Josh, choose to engage with them around it, choose to watch the new thing that they’re watching, and we learn that little piece.

And then like six months, a year down the road when something else comes up, we can see the threads and the connections looking back, which just helps us better understand how unschooling works, how human beings learn. That wasn’t like a start and stop, and I’m never going to think about that again. It may have waned, but it bubbles up in different ways moving forward.

So, it really helps us understand the richness and the form of how human beings like to learn, Doesn’t it?

JOSH: Right. Because you never know what information you need at any given time. There’s no way to pre-plan that. You just have to stumble into it. And then if it gets lodged into your brain somewhere and becomes significant later, then great. You can file it back and you’re like, Whoa, that really is now really important information that I have, and I can build on that or save it for later.

PAM: And it helps us choose new things to bring into their lives that, that they might find interesting, too, just because we have a little bit more experience, a little bit more perspective of what’s out there.

If we have two or three dots along the way and we say, ooh, that looks like it might be leading in this direction, without expectation, we can bring in some new things that they may find super, super interesting too. 

ANNA: This might be a tiny tangent, but it reminds me of Oliver’s piece with LEGOs, like how that has changed, from him wanting you to make them to now he’s into this piece, and so I love how you all have kind of fostered that environment for him to explore in a way that works for him at the different stages of it.

ERIKA: Yeah. At the beginning, he wanted me to do all the building and was only interested in building minifigures. And then, lately he has come to me and said, “You know what I love about LEGO sets is building them all by myself.” And I was like, really? This is new!

JOSH: Alone in a room. Don’t talk to me. I’m doing this LEGO set. Right.

ERIKA: And then just feeling so proud about it. But he had not been interested before, so it’s his own path through even something like that, that seems like, well, isn’t this just how you do LEGOs? Not necessarily.

JOSH: If you really go back, too, it started with just LEGO heads.

ERIKA: The helmets.

JOSH: And helmets. It was so specific. And then it slowly transitioned into minifigures and then Star Wars characters, and then obviously full sets now. It’s really amazing.

ERIKA: It’s fun.

PAM: What I love about that story is how meaningful that is to Oliver and how, as part of the shift to unschooling, how we can think, okay, this is the LEGO set we’re giving to them, and LEGOs are all about building. We can get stuck on encouraging them to build it themselves and like, oh my gosh, why do you even like LEGO if you don’t want to build it? We can tell ourselves so many stories in our head about it and feel like we should be pushing and encouraging our kid to do the thing. But if we can give it that space to unfold in the way it makes sense to them, oh my gosh. It can be very different than typical, but it is so beautiful and it so beautifully, uniquely speaks to who they are as a person too, doesn’t it?

ERIKA: Yeah. I’m thinking about how hard it is sometimes to buy the $120 LEGO set when he only wants this guy in it, you know. And so, yeah, the building is a fun new component to this .

PAM: Oh, I love that. Okay. You mentioned a little bit, Josh, about how you guys first were like, oh, I don’t know if school’s going to work for Oliver. How that question started just started to bubble up. So, I was hoping you can share a little bit more about your early journey of how you got to unschooling and what the deschooling or getting used to it or understanding how it works more, what that looked like for you.

JOSH: Right. So, again, it just started with the question of what would be best? Does this make sense for us? And obviously, part of the equation too, LA is always interesting, because people start freaking out really early, like at preschool, kindergarten of like, you have to get in a list like four years in advance. So, what school do you want them to go in five years from now? And it’s like, I don’t know who he’s going to be like in five years. Like, how do I even think about that? And so, that started us down this path of thinking about how he’s going to grow as a person and what does he do? And then that means you have to listen to them and observe them more and those kinds of things.

And it started to all kind of gel into, school is not what makes sense right now for that person and that brain.

And so, then as we started to think about these other topics, when we eventually did come to unschooling and once I started to know what that definition was and what that was about, then you start to compare it to your history, like my history, especially since we had so much school. And then, one thing that really was kind of shocking to me is that I was rethinking my experience in middle school. That is when you started to get lots and lots of homework, like you’d start getting piled up more and more. So, it’s like six, seven hours at school and then like a couple more hours at home. Yeah. So, it’s like 10 hours a day of like school. It’s like crazy.

And I just had this epiphany in middle school and I was like, you know what? No more homework. I have made the decision that I will do homework at school during other classes. I will just figure out a way to get it done, maybe even lunch, whatever. When I go home, that’s my time. I get to do whatever it is, it’s reading, it’s playing with friends, it’s playing video games, whatever it was.

I made that decision early and I did it all the way through high school. I never did any homework and I still did good enough in school that like people left me alone. I wasn’t getting terrible grades. I figured out enough to play within the system that I could still do what I wanted, which for me meant kind of ignoring counselors saying, oh, you have to take these college prep classes. And I’d be like, you know what? I want to take two gym classes, or I’m going to take the extra Home Ec class. And they’re like, you don’t need that! And I was like, well, that’s what I want to take. And luckily, I got support of my parents saying, if that’s what you want to take, then you should take that. And so, it was great.

So, somehow, I stumbled into college and I had good enough grades out of high school to get into a college. But then, in college it’s also like, this is the curriculum for this degree. You have to take these classes and half the classes, I’m like, I don’t want to take those classes. And then again, I was lucky enough in college that I was at a college that allows you to make your own degree. And so, I would pick and choose, like, these are the classes that I’m interested in. And Erika always teases me, you kind of minored in sports, because I liked taking those classes. I took volleyball and I’d take advanced photography. Those are the classes that I wanted to take. And so, I kind of invented a degree.

So, all along this time, I’m like, you know what? I was kind of in charge of my own learning from the beginning, because I just kind of did it. And is there a way we can give our children and at that time, my son, an opportunity to do those things, too, without having to like fight against the machine that is school and all the stuff that’s part of that? And unschooling was like, well there it is. I mean, that’s clearly what that is.

And so, it wasn’t until I chose to go to graduate film school where I was like, okay, everything they’re saying is what I need to hear right now, so I’m going all in on it. And it was totally different than me having to take a bunch of gen ed classes for things that I had no interest in, a bunch of math and history classes that maybe at some point in my life I’d be fascinated by, but at that time I’m like, I can’t even hear what you’re saying right now. I’m thinking about this other thing that I want to do.

But film school fit for me. And so, now, I want to give the students that I’m with on a day-to-day basis the opportunity that I had by discovering that passion and that love to do that in my day-to-day job now. But again, it came from this like lightning strike of like, I’ve been living my life like this anyways, I just didn’t know how to describe it. And so, it really made a lot of sense when we started to explain to each other what that meant to us.

PAM: Wow. I love that story. That’s a little bit rare. And, as you said, you know, your parents said, oh, if that’s what you want to take, that’s what you take.

JOSH: Yeah, they were very supportive. That was great.

PAM: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. 

ANNA: I think what I love about that story that I want to highlight for everybody is that, so in middle school, you’re what, 12? 11-ish?

JOSH: Yeah. About that.

ANNA: Yeah, and look at the agency and autonomy that he wanted. That is what all our children want. All our children have that ability to know what they want and to have agency and want to do things that interest them. And yet, they’re shoved into this machine that doesn’t allow that. And so, I just love that reminder. So, now we have this adult that’s reflecting back like, yeah, I knew what I wanted to do. And it wasn’t that.

PAM: We talk so much about how children are capable at young ages of knowing and doing and understanding so much more than we often give them credit for conventionally. So, that is a shiny example of that.

JOSH: And one thing that comes up a lot is, people will, especially during deschooling and stuff like that, is think kids will veg out and watch videos or movies or TV or whatever it is, you know, that they see it as something that’s maybe a negative. But then I could think about my experiences and I used to watch movies on repeat for just days, like staying up all night and I didn’t know why I was. I mean, when you’re doing it, you don’t know why, and then 10 years later I was like, I was studying those movies. I was trying to figure out how this movie was made. I didn’t know, as I watched Terminator 2 for the 45th time why, but I was tearing it apart in my head and I was studying it.

And so, at some point, when people are watching content, especially on repeat, there’s something in there that they’re trying to get out of it, and they probably can’t even put it into words, especially when you’re younger. You’re just drawn to it like a magnet. And so, if you need it, then they should do that. That’s great.

PAM: Yeah. I love that. That is such a great point, too. Even for ourselves, sometimes as we’re starting to do something or we’re pulled, we want to do something, it is hard to explain exactly why. I want to.

JOSH: Right!

PAM: And it feels like we need to justify it as adults, but then kids need to justify it to their parents. You’ve watched this like 10 times. Let’s put something else on, or whatever. Because those messages of being productive and being able to show your work right now are so strong, aren’t they? Oh, I love that.

ANNA: Or that things have to be such a linear path. And it’s like, even while in some ways your path was linear, because now you’re so into film, it was specific aspects of it. And so, for another child, it might be the music or the art or the way they’re putting the comedy together or the way all those pieces, and it’s like, it’s not this linear path. It’s like we always talk about it, it’s the web, it’s the threads that then lead us down the road to have this information that we need for this next thing we want to do. 

JOSH: Right. But just, you need the time and the opportunity to explore it. You just, you’ve got to have it.

PAM: That’s what I was thinking. Goosebumps. That is one of the things I love most about unschooling is the space and the support, like your parents, Josh, not stopping you from making these choices, to follow our interests as in what we’re drawn to. We don’t need to name it. They don’t need to be to name it. We don’t have to explain it to other people. None of those things. But the space for our kids and eventually ourselves, too, to just follow where we’re being pulled, is so valuable.

It’s so rich, because, like you were saying earlier, Josh, we don’t know where it may go, and Anna, we don’t know what piece yet might connect with something. But like you said, like something sticks and that thing may bubble up in another context like, like a film degree later on, but without the expectation, which is why, again, back to what we were talking about right at the very beginning of connecting with our kids and seeing the things that they’re interested in in the different seasons, in various moments, just so we understand them better. It doesn’t mean we can explain. It doesn’t mean we have an answer to anything. But we see another one of the seeds and then another one of the seeds. And then how they begin to thread together over time.

I remember there were fun times when my kids were interested in something and I said, oh, hey, you remember like a year ago when you were doing this thing? How similar is that? And we would just have big smiles and fun conversation about it, but just to see it’s like, ooh, this is me. It helps them feel seen and heard. When we can put those pieces together. It gives a little bit more meaning to those pieces when they aren’t disparate little things. When we start to see the patterns, it’s like, oh yeah. I’m moving in a direction that’s really about me, even if I can’t define it.

JOSH: And especially when everyone’s happy, you know it’s working. You’re not fighting against something at this point, just because you’re getting the time and the space to be who you are. And especially when you’re younger, you’re still figuring that out. I mean, we’re still figuring that out, but I mean, especially when you’re younger, you have no idea and you couldn’t put into words if someone asked you of course. And so, you just need the time.

And so, again, you still have to have to fight instincts and so, like, I’m going to bed and it’s late and I’ll mention to the kids maybe like, oh, it’s getting late or whatever. But she’ll be in the zone playing a video game of doing her zoo thing and it’s like, I’m not going to mess with that. Because she has no interest in stopping. Why fight that? Like, get out of the way. Do you need anything? Do you need some water? Whatever. And just let her stay in that space that she needs, because maybe she’s going to have this big moment that’s going to have an impact, or not. I don’t know. But I shouldn’t get in the way.

PAM: I love that. Not getting in the way of it. That’s a big thing, too, because we can bring so much of our adult framework on top of it. Like you said, she’s in it right now. It doesn’t really matter what the time on the clock is, especially now. They can sleep as long as they want and whenever they want or need to. There are so many things that seem like, oh, we have to do this, we have to do this, we have to do this, but if we take a moment and just think about it, it’s like, Oh, well, nope, maybe they don’t have to. Maybe they can just continue doing.

JOSH: There’s infinite ways to tackle any issue. And so, yeah, it’s part of just also just learning to be a problem solver in general. Never too soon to start practicing that.

PAM: So, you alluded to this a little bit earlier and I’d like to dig into it. As a professor, how do you find unschooling principles weaving into your work nowadays?

JOSH: Yeah. So, it was kind of at the same time where I started teaching that we were also learning about all this. And so, that was kind of interesting. So, when I started teaching for the first time, you first start with what you know, which is, this is what I’ve experienced. You kind of regurgitate in another way, or this is how someone else says to do it. Great. I just need to do something.

And so, a lot of that was the formula you think of, like quizzing and testing and the kind of stuff you think about when you think of school.

So, as soon as I started to think about reevaluating it, I was like, well, that’s gone. Like, that’s not about the individual. That’s about the test, not the person. But what can I replace it with that’s going to be helpful to the students? And this is still ongoing, this is still me trying to figure out a way to do the best possible. But I think recently, and I was just talking to Erika about this, it was about creating as many opportunities to have one-on-one conversations with students when it’s a good time to talk to them.

So, for instance, I do film production, so it’s a lot of on-set production. They’re on set, talking to actors, working with equipment, doing that thing. So, it’s observing them to know when to stay out of the way, because you’re like, I should not jump in right now. I’m going to ruin something. They’re figuring it out themselves or they’re helping each other. That’s awesome. Like just watch or maybe even don’t even be there, because sometimes my just being there messes it up, because they’re looking over their shoulder to be like, is this right? That kind of thing.

So, it’s trying to find that cadence of when do they need me? And then being available when they need to have a conversation, to get them out of a bind, or they’re lost, or they just need to hear encouragement or whatever it is, which is listening, which is exhausting, honestly. And it’s kind of the opposite of, again, traditional school, which is like, sit down, shut up, and here’s some stuff, and then in a week we’re going to quiz you on it.

But now it’s like, I have to listen to them, their needs, their wants, what they’re trying to achieve with their projects. And then see if there’s any way that I can be helpful and if not, get out of there, but always being available, which again, it’s just, it’s a lot of energy.

And so, then coming home and trying to do the same for your kids, too, is also hard, because I don’t want to shut it off. When they come in and they’re like, I want to tell you about this new show! I can’t be like, I can’t listen to it right now. It’s like, okay, give it to me, tell me more stuff. But it’s just trying to be okay with that and like, that’s what I needed. That’s what they need. That’s what my students need. And so, trying to give everyone that space, but then obviously knowing that I need to make time for myself, my own brain to reset as well.

But you find those opportunities and as you get older you figure out a way for you to make your own systems to do that. And for me, it’s been getting up really early or going outside or whatever it is, and kind of reset. And you figure that out. But I think, in school in particular, it’s figuring out ways to talk to them in smaller groups as much as possible and giving them opportunities to teach each other as much as possible. And knowing when to just stop talking. And that’s hard, because as a teacher, you’re taught that that’s your primary role. But now I see my primary role is to watch and know when it’s time to talk. And sometimes there is, or sometimes it’ll be like, okay. You guys need this info. Here it is. I’m going to try to make it as efficient and as clean and as fun as possible and get out of the way again.

And that’s been a big part from learning about unschooled principles. 

PAM: Wow. That really, just imagining a room full of students and the energy. Yeah, no joke. The energy that that takes to be just feeling it out, feeling your way through it, being in the moment to get a sense of where they are and when it would be helpful to step in, pull back, how much to share. That takes a lot. But I can imagine what a huge difference it makes to the students themselves in that course. They must just feel so engaged and have such agency, even within the confines of a class or a course, right?

ERIKA: One thing I’ve noticed a lot is, he’ll tell stories of when the students first come. So, a lot of them are fresh out of high school. They get into these college classes, and so, they have that attitude of, what do I need to know? What do I need to know for the test? What do I need to do in order to pass this? And really, really focused on that. And then, he just will turn it around and be like, what do you want to do? What do you want to learn? What’s important to you? And they’re just like, mind blown, like a little confused.

But yeah, each person, even in the same program, has different goals and different interests and you know, like in a film program there’s so many different areas that you could be interested in. And so, it’s like Josh’s job to figure out, what does this person want to get out of this program and it’s a lot of individual tailoring.

ANNA: Right. So, two things came to mind for me. One, just because I have some inside knowledge, like how well loved he is, as everyone can imagine. His students think he’s amazing and the endowed chair and all the things that he’s done. And so, I had to do it, Josh! He’s bringing his passion to this position and it’s working, for him, for the students, for the school. And so, I think it’s just a really good reminder of like, we don’t have to box ourselves in, in the way that it’s always been done. We can succeed and have this life that we love by really finding our core principles and by living those core principles.

But then the other piece that popped out, we talk about it from a parents’ point of view, or I talk about it specifically, like I didn’t want to have the conflicts. So, for me, it was worth doing the work of, collaborating and whatever, because it just feels better. But I feel like it’s probably the same for you too, Josh, like yeah, you could give them tests and do, and maybe there would be some things that would be easier about just handing them and they regurgitate it. But it’s like, for you, I think it’s got to be so much more energizing and fun to have this collaborative relationship. And so, I love that piece of it, too.

JOSH: Yeah, absolutely. Because I think one of the things I kind of miss from working in film production like professionally and not teaching, is that it’s purely collaborative. It’s high energy. It’s all these leaders together creating new works. School is kind of not for that, but I can create that environment in my classes and so, I can still be in that every day. So, I kind of get to do my first and second loves simultaneously. It’s perfect. And so, I’m very lucky in that regard.

PAM: I think that’s such a great point, too, that we can bring our full selves, as you were saying, Anna, we don’t have to say, oh, this is the school framework, this is the way it goes. I need to kind of shut down those other pieces of me to just do this thing the way it’s expected to be done. Yet, when we can bring our full selves, yes, it takes a lot of energy, but it’s in service of something that I love and enjoy and I get to feel fulfilled. Is that the way you feel? I’m sure exhausted and all those pieces, but it also seems like it would be fulfilling, like you said, to cultivate that environment that you enjoy, so that they can experience an environment that is more similar to when they go out in the world to do that work.

JOSH: Yeah. And I think, demonstrating the joy of what you do is important, too. Because especially, what I’m training them for and what they’re doing at school, this career is crazy, right? It’s very entrepreneurial. You’re very independent contractor-y. You’re on your own in a way. And when you finally get on a show, you’re working like 80, 90-hour weeks. It’s crazy.

And if you don’t absolutely love it, you’re going to be miserable. So, I’m trying to show, the enthusiasm I have right now, we need to be at that. And so, I’m not going to tell them that, but I’m going to demonstrate it, because if you’re not at that level, you’re going to burn out in like a couple years. You’re never going to make it. It’s just too intense.

PAM: Yes. I’m just thinking about Michael and yes, the film sets are just intense, long hours and unexpected. Show up tomorrow, 6:00 AM, let’s go. It’s fascinating. It’s a world unto itself, and yet to be able to just demonstrate, show them with your enthusiasm, that that’s kind of the level of love, like if you don’t love it this much, then you have to try something else. If this just feels like, ugh.

Because that’s it, especially if they’re fresh out of high school, it may not be, but what you’re giving them is an experience that helps them see if this really is a good match for them.

JOSH: Right. And for some people, like I’m teaching them how to make movies, like that’s what we’re there to learn about. But then after taking a semester or two, they might realize, you know what? I just wanted to get better at making webcam videos. And that’s fine. But they discovered that by being around things. And so, if I can help that, that’s fantastic. I’ve had lots of those conversations of like, actually I’m thinking about this other thing, but it’s still related to media in some way, which is why I was drawn to this as a word, because some counselor said the word film and I ended up in your class. And we do also have people that become directors and cinematographers and that thing, too. We have all of those, but again, it just becomes listening to them and trying to help them as much as I can if they need it.

PAM: That’s so beautiful. So beautiful. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us, Josh. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and your experience. It was so interesting to hear.

JOSH: Yeah, it was great. I listen to these all the time, so it’s funny to be on the other side.

ANNA: We’re glad to have you.

PAM: Thanks so much, Josh. We very much appreciate it. Have a wonderful day.

ERIKA: You, too.

JOSH: Thank you. Bye.