Monday, February 01, 2016

The Waiting Place

My biggest stumbling block as a young writer, wannabe filmmaker, was my own lack of confidence, and need for validation. I had a need for someone to tell me I was doing a good job. If you wait around for that, you’ll get nothing done. Confidence and validation (if you need it) comes after the fact, so do the work first, then worry about it.

I decided not to continue with animation once I graduated in 2000. Instead chose to pursue my first, and one true love, film. I always wanted to write and direct. So, I wrote a feature script and set out to try and make it, with no clue how to. Remember, this was 16 years ago, right before the digital age, it was about to hit, but we were still well and truly in the film world. I started this blog then, "Celluloid Journey", that’ll tell you! I was confident I would be moving forward in film. To that end, it was much more difficult to get a film made, much more expensive, you had the cost of stock to worry about, which was not only the price of film cans, but also processing and telecine. Thousands to consider before you ever thought about putting pen to paper!

But I let that get in the way, plus I felt like I needed to be guided and told my stuff was good enough to warrant that kind of effort and expense. I never really got that. Admittedly I found a writing partner who I wrote with for years. We wrote a lot of really great stuff together, but only ever made one short film. We never could get passed that writing stage. I’m not sure why, a lack of time, money, opportunity or maybe just a lack of a “Just Do It” attitude. I often wonder how things might have been different if I hadn’t sought advice and just gone and made that first script. I can say one thing with certainty, it would have been terrible film, but it would have been a film, a feature film, made 4 years before I would eventually make my first short film. 

Funny thing is, when I finally got round to making my first feature film, 12 years later, it was very close to that original script. That one was call Blood/Dirt/Money, my feature was call Derelict, and both were came thriller. I think I would have learned a lot that first go round, as much as I learned 12 years on doing my first feature film. Of course, I learned a lot anyway, working with Thomas taught me a lot about writing, and attention to detail in the script. He’s great at pushing it, and questioning things, and not brushing things under the page. It has to work, and be unbreakable. You’ve got to be able to come at it from any angle and it still works. I also met my wife because of Emily’s Song, so I wouldn’t be married to her or have my two beautiful kids with out it. 

But I wish I’d had more of a “Just Do It” attitude all the way along. Whenever I’ve pushed it, or taken a chance, a risk, and gone for something, even though it’s been frightening, and fraught with struggle and some sacrifice, it’s paid off, and life has improved. So I would say to you, just go for it, Do IT! Don’t ever wait for acknowledgment, permission, validation, just concentrate on the work and only the work. If you’re inspired to tell a story in a certain way, then do it, write it, don’t tell anyone about it, keep it secret until it’s ready and then go out and make it. 

Gather your cast and crew. Pick up whatever equipment is available to you. If you can’t afford a Red, shoot it on your phone. Even if you feel it won’t be good enough, make it how you can, because it'll be done, it’ll be a film, it’ll be in the world. And you'll move onto the next one, and the next one and eventually you can afford the Red and things begin to look better and you now have the experience and you've learned all those lessons and perhaps you've built up a reputation and people want to get behind you now.

If you wait around for the big one, it’ll probably never come. Get on the road in whatever banger you have, you’ll pick up a better vehicle as you go, but go, go go go, now! Time is short and running out. The time is now. So go make your film. Start today. What are you waiting for? I can’t tell you exactly what you’re waiting for… You. No more excuses. Get It Done. Your audience is waiting.

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