For the past two weeks I have been engaged in an even split between my day job and cinema related activities. This makes me very happy, but it also means that I've been burning the candle at both ends. It's been quite a long time since I've worked with a cast and I'm suddenly reminded of why I got into crude, one-man animation. Scheduling is a bummer. However, I find I am growing excited at the prospect of working with such a fantastic group of actors. There's no doubt that each of these people will go on to great success. UNC should be very proud of it's theatre program.
Anyway, things have been coming along and I keep telling myself to treat this entire thing as one giant learning experience. A film class, if you will. Because of this mentality, I have to realize that failure on-some level-is a certainty, and that's okay. If it helps to make better films in the future, bring it on. Failure breeds, innovation and quick thinking, both skills I exhibit. This experience is also teaching me how to manage my time and anxiety without the ubiquitous use of cigarettes (I quit over a month ago). Special thanks to Jay Wallace, Nick Bowlin and Monty Velasquez, I couldn't do this without you guys! Also, thanks to David Grapes for giving me this opportunity.
On a somewhat related note...
I used to work with a friend, we'll call him Tim because that was his name, who was a naturally talented athlete. Myself being not this, was in awe of his ability. His specialty was golf and he would often regale me with tales of caddying for millionaires at Cherry Hills. He pointed out that these men would spend thousands of dollars on golf equipment hoping to gain some sort of edge. Apparently none of them could hit the ball for shit, with or without the fancy equipment. To quote Tim, "It's not the putter, dude." I realize now the wisdom in Tim's observation.
I now have a friend who works on music videos and photo shoots with equipment that costs more than my college education. He occasionally grills me about the equipment that I use and often stares at me gobsmacked when I mention the use of Home Depot work lights and a handy cam. To my knowledge, he hasn't gone through the experience of using lower level equipment and experiementation. He hasn't spent hours in a garage covered in sweat, trying to shoot servicable green screen. He hasn't experienced graduating from the inexpensive to the professional. He has, though, found himself in the company of those who are fortunate enough to have access to top of the line technology. That's awesome. I've seen their work and it's truly great! I do need to point out though, there are those who have done more with less.
Several years ago, I thought that if I had a million dollars, I could make a film that would shoot me to great heights of fame and fortune. If I could only afford equipment and a staff, my work would truly shine. This focus on money has somewhat dwindled over the years or more accurately has switched focus. Money makes things easier to be sure, but great movies are made by people-not money. And if I were to be completely honest, my former self would have absolutely no idea how to begin to use that amount of money to realize his vision. He lacked the experience and needed to go through periods of inexpensive innovation and error. Using what I have as far as I can, has hopefully made me better at what I do.
While I am wiser and more experienced and feel somewhat less anxious about asking more experienced filmmakers for help, I still wouldn't know what to do with a million dollar budget-but I now know people who do. I am not a great fountain of filmmaker wisdom, I still have a great many things to learn and will hopefully never stop. However, I DO know that you have to use what you have and that expectation and failure are a part of the process. For it is not success, but failure, that makes us who we are. But most importantly, I know it's not the putter.