Part of our mission here at Daily Fuel has been to illuminate life and early career insights for our readers. As part of that continuing purpose, we're excited to announce our new blogger, Christian Zilko, will be providing first-person accounts into one young professional's journey. Enjoy.

The Art of Persistence

As a young professional, I’m often told that persistence and determination are more important than any college degree or connection. Particularly in entertainment, professors insist that anyone with talent who sticks with their dream long enough and puts up with the nonsense that accompanies our quirky industry will eventually be rewarded. This is a great comfort to me. While I am constantly confronted with uncertainty and horror stories about the life of a TV writer, I have no concerns about my own work ethic and willingness to follow through.

I think the best demonstration of my diligence is my efforts to hide the Phish music on my computer.

Days like this are when I wish I had used a pseudonym on Daily Fuel. But you already know my name, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before you learned I was a Phan. I really, really like the band Phish. Which is disappointing, because there is absolutely nothing less cool than liking Phish. The band was uncool in the 90s, when they peaked, and they’ve just proceeded to become less cool since then. But that doesn’t make me love them any less. They’re spectacular musicians, and I have a deep-seated need to listen to and analyze every concert recording they’ve ever played. We all have a vice.

Over the weekend I had some friends over, and someone wanted to show me a YouTube video. So I handed them my computer when, to my dismay, I realized that the most recent item in my search history was “Phish jams 2014.” My heart skipped a beat.

There is quite literally no search I could have been more embarrassed about. In a room full of judgy art school kids who love music, this was a conversation path I did not want to go down. So I panicked, and proceeded to blame it on my younger brother. I lied and said that I loaned him my computer and that he must have watched it. Which got me out of that dilemma, but he can no longer attend this college, because there will be a rumor going around that he likes Phish.

An hour goes by, and my party is once again going swimmingly. Then my heart skipped two beats.

Somebody must have bumped into my computer and shuffled my music library, because my carefully-curated playlist ceased to play. And it was replaced by the opening seconds of Phish’s performance of “Fluffhead” from December 29th, 1997. I was screwed.

The nice thing about this situation was that, since everybody in the room hated the idea of Phish, nobody actually recognized the song. So I figured I had about 30 seconds to get across the apartment and stop it before someone figured out what was going on. I hit pause, but when I went to select another song, my Wi-Fi stalled and I couldn’t stream music. After a minute or so of silence, a friend of mine offered to pick the next album, and asked to see my computer.

I knew that if he went through my Apple Music library, it was over. So I did what any rational person would: I pretended to receive a text from my roommate, saying he was coming home and needed everyone to leave so he could go to bed. I ended my own party early to keep friends from seeing my Phish.

So everyone left, and I was suddenly lonely, but my secret was safe. I like to think that a lesser man would have given up earlier, and written it off as a lost cause. But not me. I was up against some incredible adversity, but I had managed to defy all odds and maintain a reputation as someone with good taste in music. If I can pull that off, I know I’ll be able to stick around for whatever Hollywood throws at me.

Christian Zilko

Guest Blogger:

Christian Zilko

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Look into any man's heart you please, and you will always find, in every one, at least one black spot which he has to keep concealed.
— Henrik Ibsen
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