At the Society of Skeptics on December 5, filmmaker Rob Montz shared what motivated him to create The Quarterlife User Manual, a documentary on how the American education system has kids emerging from college with no idea what to do and therefore experiencing "quarter-life crises." Mr. Montz, who is director of the online political comedy and news channel We the Internet TV, delivered his remarks in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration.
"When I left college, I had no clue how to actually navigate the working world, and the only advice people could give me was 'go to law school,'" said Mr. Montz, whose documentaries have been featured in The New York Times, the Economist, USA Today, the Adam Carolla Podcast and the Washington Post. "The aim of my latest documentary is to transmute that pain and loneliness and aimlessness of my twenties into realistic, actionable pieces of advice. I'm not going to lie to people about how tough it is to secure meaningful work. But I do think there are some straightforward rules that, if you stick with them, can lead you there."
He was inspired to make the film after noticing many other people suffering through the same aimlessness and wanting to condense what he'd learn into a single, actionable package. Having screened his work at other schools, Mr. Montz looked forward to sharing his message with Blair students, who he noted are "precisely the target audience for this documentary."
He hoped they left his talk with a deeper understanding of just how different the working world is from school. "As much as possible, start cultivating an entrepreneurial approach to life now, while you're still in school, so you'll have some good momentum once you're launched out into the job market," he said.
Mr. Montz attended a private high school in Los Angeles very much like Blair called the Brentwood School before earning his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 2005 and relocating to Washington, D.C., to work in public policy and communications. He started making his own films five years ago, work that has steadily grown to become full time.
When asked what advice he would give his high school self, Mr. Montz didn't hesitate before saying: "Take some time off before heading to college. There is no race; you aren't going to 'fall behind.' Go out and get some real-world experience and learn what it's like to try to make a self-sufficient, satisfying life for yourself—and then go to college. You'll get a lot more from the experience."
To watch The Quarterlife User Manual, click "play" below. To learn more about Mr. Montz and his work, visit www.robmontz.com.