Sunday, July 17, 2016

Let's See What Comes

Unfortunately we're not going to get to make '10 Days in December' at the end of the year as hoped, or at all, it's taken a new form, one that's going to take a lot more time to write and produce. But, I would still really love to shoot something soon. It's been far too long. So trying to think of something small, doable, either something I have, or something new. But struggling to land on something.

After we completed the 10 Days script, it felt like we'd come to the end of a marathon. But instead of being congratulation and awarded a medal, we were told that we had two more marathons to run, starting now! So we tried, but 2 miles in, the tank was empty.

I'm struggling a little bit with this one. It's not coming as easily. The story is there. It's our own story after all. But it's trying to make it work as a feature, all that story, all those years, into a film. I can see 10 Days clearly as a feature. I can see the American part of the story clearly as a feature. I'm struggling a bit with the 5 years in Ireland part, and very much so with putting those three together as one film.

I think my confidence as a filmmaker and a storyteller is low. I'm feeling drained, somewhat burnt out. Either in need of a holiday from the lot of it, or, a good solid chunk of time just to write and nothing else.

Last week I left my car in for a service, I had planned to take the train to work and come back later to pick it up, but the guy said he could have it ready in an hour. So, I found a nice cafe and sat with a coffee and wrote in my note book. That's something I haven't done since I left Ireland. And back in Ireland that's something I had done every day for ten years. I filled the things.

Depot Cafe, San Carlos
That process was a gift, and perhaps one I took for granted. It gave me time to think, imagine, dream, relax, get away from the world. It was a form of mediation. Dreaming in the day. Amid the bustle of daily life on the town. And as I sat in that cafe by the railway tracks I felt it come back. Things started to flow again. I started to think, imagine, dream, relax and get away from the world.

It made me happy. I realized it was still in there. I could still find ideas. I just can't find the time anymore. That's the problem. I miss writing. I miss the flow of it, and the discovery along the way. It's such a joy to write, and discover, and be lead by an idea, a story, characters. To hear their voice, to witness your own story grow, but feel as though you're a conduit for it, as if it's just passing through you, from some magical place on the way to the page.

I think that's my problem with the new story. I don't have the time to focus on it. To let it flow.

I would like to shoot something soon, something small. Either a short, or a low budget feature. I'm under no illusion mind you, having done this a few times before, there's usually nothing small or simple about any film! Derelict, for example, took a full year to get to production. A week's shoot, sure, but the most intense week of my life. Followed by another year of finishing the film.

But I don't want the fear to stop me. I've seen it stop other filmmakers. People who make their first film, and get burned, and say they want to make another film, keep writing, but then stop themselves, and just never get anything else done. I can feel that a little bit. It's been a few years. I've been out of the game. It's hard to step back in. And this time I want it to be right. I don't want to waste my time, or anyone else's. I need it to be good.

But, I don't want that to stop me either! Striving for perfection, when I should just be doing something. Get something done, and out, and onto the next one. It's hard. You add an entirely new situation to the one I had back in Ireland, it's hard. I could make films, I had free time, and family who could watch the kids. Now I'm in full-time employment. My wife works full-time. We have two young kids, one in full time care, the other in school. Life is much more full, it leaves very little room for extra circular activity, in fact, I know exactly how much time, an hour at the end of each night, if I'm lucky, if I'm not too tired, if the kids will go to bed, if I have the energy to stay up a little longer and not mind being tired at work the next day.

I don't mean to moan, if it seems like I am, or rant, which I know I am. I'm lucky. I live in California. It's sunny everyday here. I can pay the bills. I have a job for a great company. I can think about making films still, it's still an option. I hope. And not being shot at, yet. I just want to get to the film part. It's all I'm passionate about. It's what I've wanted to do since I was 9 years old. I'm 39 now. So that's 30 years, going after one thing and one thing only, with life, like a linebacker, wrestling my to the ground every time I try to break defense.

But I still hope to break through. And I would still like to shoot something soon. It won't be our story. Oh, that's coming, I can promise you that. But we need to sort the script and find the money. In the meantime, it's back to my roots. Me, an idea, a camera. Let's see what comes.

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