It’s been over a year since I’ve written in here. Even before that I wasn’t very partial to updating this blog other than to post about new films we had made. But I’m told writers have to write, every day, if they’re able to. And in lieu of scripts I’ve decided to write more here.
2017 was a rough year for many. In the grand scheme of things, a lot of these first world problems don’t amount to much. But in between a very shaky accommodation situation and encroaching mental health issues it was definitely an uphill battle. I only made one film last year. In January. Once upon a time we were shooting films every other week.
I realise quantity over quality was pretty much our defining ethos for the last few years. And that ethos caught up with us very quickly when one of the last big short films we did ended up stretching out to over a year in postproduction thanks to all the mistakes made by yours truly in preproduction. It was an important lesson. The longer you spend in preproduction, the less you have to fix things in post. And we had to fix a hell of a lot in post. I nearly went postal with all the time I spent in post.
But I can’t deny some very cool things happened in 2017. I got to teach a class of kids filmmaking for a while. It’s strange, I still feel like the biggest fool of all with so much still to learn. But maybe the fool who knows what a massive fool he is trumps the ignorant fool. The dunning kruger effect has been in the back of my mind as a marker for any actions I may take.
I got to film with some very cool cameras. I got to meet with some wonderful people whose mentoring and advice have helped me through a lot of tough situations. One of our films got nominated for an award, and I got to walk the red carpet with my crew.
I got to work on a farm and take a ridiculous amount of goat selfies. I’m not sure what the official stance is by the mental health community on the benefits of goat selfies on someone’s mind, but I have to say working with these animals has been like chicken soup for the soul.
So I guess no matter what bitter after taste 2017 left me with, I have to be grateful for all the wonderful things I was gifted this year.
And to that, I look forward to 2018. In the spirit of putting things out into the aethyr as a means of summoning aforementioned things to life I thought I would make a list of goals I want accomplished by the end of ’18. Because hey, there’s nothing like the complete revolution of a planet around a star to make a human being want to shoot for the stars, am I right?
1. Write a Feature Film Script
We’ve done a hell of a lot of shorts. But it feels like that time is behind us now. The next step up is to make a feature. But features require money, talent, skill etc etc. All of which are barriers that can be broken given enough time. But for now, for this year, a feature film script is what we need. Something to set our compasses by. Something to look to the horizon for. We are natural wanderers. We always like to wade out into the ocean a bit further than we can handle. I can’t think of a better way to round out the year than to dip my toes into that world.
2. Make a stellar short film
Now, the metric for success in short films can lead to self-sabotage. How do you measure that? The number of awards? The number of views? Any focus on any type of measurable metric is the road to Lovecraftian insanity. But, to direct and produce a film, from start to finish; and to step back at the end and go, hey, I’m proud of that shit… Well that to me would be a worthy goal. And I don’t think it’s happened yet. Making films is so damn hard, you guys. And what they don’t tell you is, bad films are just as hard to make as good films. So to hone these skills and output something that, to our tastes, would be considered a good film… This seems a worthy goal.
3. To kick up to head height
I have a love-hate relationship with the martial arts. I love it, and it hates me. Any activity that involves physical ability is a struggle for me. And I know, I know, everybody makes these stupid new years resolutions to go to the gym and get fit and blah blah blah. But I’m in this for the long haul, not just for January. I truely believe martial arts are beneficial to a life well lived. It teaches discipline, defense and ultimately self-knowledge. While I don’t want to go for some unnecessary metric like losing ten stone, I think something like kicking up to head height would be a good aim. Just need to work on those ballistic stretches now.
4. To go to a pro-wrestling class
I’ve loved pro-wrestling for nearly my entire life. Each year I see the wrestling school placed 40 minutes away from where I live and wonder. With each passing year the fire of the dream is stoked, burns out and lit anew as the seasons change. I don’t want to look back as a 40 year old and wonder. I want to try it out. Even if I suck at it. Even if I nearly kill myself. It’s still worth trying, even if it’s only once.
5. Find a reliable job in film
Freelancing is tough, you guys. Months can go by without a word, and then suddenly three jobs pop up at once. Juggling this with being a full time parent has been an up hill battle. But I love filmmaking. More than I’m able to put into words. If I can find some way to make reliable money in this field to support my family (and my own creative efforts) then life would be perfect.
I think 5 goals are as good a place to start as any. No doubt this year will be full of surprises, both good and bad ones. But life isn’t interesting because of it’s predictability.
We find love and contentment in between these big story beat moments. In between the panels is where we really live. And if I can achieve even two of these goals by the end of the year, that to me, is a life worth lived.
May it be well with you