Ambition is good, I'm certain, but only when it's handled consciously. Otherwise, if you're not careful, it becomes this repetitive thing cycling around in your brain which gets more and more meaningless.
It's important to remember who you are, where you've come from and what you are capable of. But the key thing is:
If you're so busy trying for success that you go to bed unhappy every night, or if you're so restless that you can't sit through movies, then something is wrong.
And yes I speak from experience.
On my better days I'm a Kid In The Front Row, loving cinema and life and everything in between. Other times I go months spiralling downwards in my head because I feel I should be achieving way more than I am.
Come on, that's why we're here. This is our passion and we need to be in love with it.
The stress of failure and rejection stings like crazy, you fall into burn out -- but you need to heed that message, take a trip, rest up, spend a whole day in the cinema dreaming.
I see it a lot when I audition actors. They seem tired of the process, of the rejection. So what happens is I reject them, based on rejection residue they've built up in the last seven auditions. It's the same with writing -- we figure we'll rest when we've succeeded, so we follow complete failure up with two new screenplays.
And of course they suck too, because there's no life flowing into them, no art, just bitterness and disappointment.
Film is a harsh business, and you've got to be focused and ambitious. But more importantly, you've got to be fresh, energised, and passionate.
Go watch Forrest Gump and The Godfather back to back.
Go hang out with the family for three hours without checking your email.
I am writing this advice for you but mostly for me.
Creativity needs rest, sleep, imagination, dreaming, randomness, unexpected experiences, love, a functioning mind. And many more things.
Ambition is good, but used blindly as an all consuming force, you strangle so many things in your life and your work.