December 2012 was the first time I thought to myself, Maybe I Can't Do This. I turned my mind in a direction it had never gone and wondered what if. What if I wasn't working on directing anymore?
The irony is that I've finally starting making scheduling choices and having opportunities so that slowly but surely I *am* directing more. But with the opportunity of "Zero Sight: Bad Call" I found a small voice inside my head wondering, What if this is as far as you can go? What if nothing comes next? What if you blow this one, How will there ever be another? What if you rock this one, How will there ever be another?
January 2013 was the first time I thought to myself, OK, I CAN Do This. I am getting it. I am finally getting better at shot design and previsualization to add to all the aspects of directing I take more naturally to. I'm getting the pre-pro process better than ever before. Slowly. Painfully. It felt like I could feel the new neural connections forming as I worked my ass off. It was an amazing relief.
And then I went back to work. And then I realized with a new clarity that 80% of my angst, my doubt, comes from having to do the work of filmmaking while working a 40-hour a week job. It's really fucking hard. I had started feeling better the minute my vacation time started and I could focus fully on the short. That was what made the difference in my mind set.
It wasn't as hard in some ways when I was an assistant. But unemployed at 39/40, I found I couldn't get those jobs anymore in the entertainment industry. And there were negatives there, too. So now I'm a project coordinator. It's much more technical, and often I feel completely mentally wiped out at the end of a day. Cue the second shift! Zzz...
And I really like my job. I like working in audio post, I like the people, I like the work and the business, I like my health insurance, and I can't be creative when I'm afraid of losing my apartment and not being able to pay my bills. It affected me in film school, because I couldn't work, and I was always afraid about money as I put every fourth month completely on credit cards. Plus, I'd worked since I was 16, and two years of no income often left me hardly able to function from the fear.
Unemployment was like living through that again.
So I am very grateful for my job. And coming out of unemployment, I recognized that I had to start making different decisions about my time so that I was directing more. I was so eager to be directing again after the dark years. In 2012, I did a lot less blogging, a lot less going out - both for fun and for filmmaking education - and a lot more filmmaking. It was amazing. And it was exhausting.
And I thought deep in my soul, What if I can't do this anymore? I'm so fucking tired of working this hard all the time. What the hell am I doing? How can I keep living this way? I'm making better decisions. I don't have kids or other commitments, I've pared my monthly expenses down and down, I've pared my schedule down, I'm getting sleep and exercise and good food. All there is is my day job and filmmaking, and it's still so fucking hard.
And then I stood on the fullest set I've had as a director in a long time surrounded by beautiful creative people working their asses off for the story that I had fought to bring this far. And I remembered.
I remembered that all the work and all the sacrifice is for the moment I'm watching the magic on the screen. The moments I am fully focused on that story and all the pieces that come together to make it happen.
It's hard. It's ever ellusively beyond my abilities to do it perfectly. It's a never-ending, fantastic challenge that filmmakers do as part of a creative team. It's so unbelievably fun and amazing.
It's the reason I get up in the morning.
And so, coming off of the "Zero Sight: Bad Call" shoot, I felt like, Wow, I am so ready for a longer shoot. One week, two, three. That would be SO awesome, and such an opportunity to move forward in my skill set.
And then I got back to work, looked at my remaining vacation time, and wondered how. And stuffed my heart back into the cubicle box, and wondered how. And realized my car ignition needs to be checked out, and I'll be carless and biking if it breaks, and wondered how.
And then I got some sleep. And let it go. And put my mind back to the post production work in front of me. That for which I get paid, and that for which I don't. It's like a net, post production. It's where I like to land.
I don't know what's next. I don't know when I'll stand on set directing again, and I don't know how it'll work with my day job.
But I don't have to know right now, right this second. I just have to do the good work that's in front of me to do to the best of my abilities.
And I do so now with a renewed sense of purpose. I am a director. And so I will continue to work to get what opportunities I can and to knock whatever's in front of me out of the park. So often in the past year I've had moments where I've felt like, It's Too Much. And when that happens, I remember that the solution is to simply click it up a notch. When it seems like too much work, I simply adjust my mind set to that level. As long as I'm making good choices, then the work level in front of me is the work level that must be done.
It's a good life, lived as I wish. For that I feel forever blessed.
The shoot went awesome, by the way! I can't wait to see it all come together, and I can't wait to share it with you. Soon, soon!