After writing prose for an hour yesterday I spent several hours editing. In between I made a blog entry and updated my word count. I was very energized by both my continued progress and the joy of the work of writing. Hence my cocky banter in the face of balance. It was more an expression of separation anxiety from something that was giving me a lot of joy. I realized as I sat diligently cutting, even skipping dinner, that I was experiencing balance in my life to a greater degree than when I haven't been creative.
I received a comment to my post yesterday that was since deleted by its author . I read the deleted comment in the email that was sent to me alerting me of a new comment. I can see why its author deleted it. He or she might fear I could easily misinterpret the intent and the tone of the comment that expressed some concern about unfinished films getting the attention they need. I'm going to trust that the intent was meant to encourage both my new endeavor, albeit faintly, as well as to prompt my commitment to projects in progress especially as they relate to the mutual interest of my collaborators. Which is all fair and good. To be honest I would have rather heard something privately, but I know this party is busy and under strain in their own affairs. To be really honest I would like to have heard some genuine and enthusiastic support for my recent accomplishments with writing. There's no resentment on my part, I just have decided to take the opportunity to be very transparent about things.
A large part of maintaining balance is making oneself independent of the judgment and expectations of others. That sort of dependence will keep you down. I told this other friend I was writing a novel. He asked me the first line. Because that's the clincher you know, he added. I told him I didn't know because I didn't fuck about for three days coming up with a precious Call me Ishmael in order to avoid writing the first ten thousand words. I'm going to keep writing and iron out the kick ass opening when and if it presents itself. I didn't feel compelled to share much more about the project with that friend. Which is fine. I'm at a point finally where I don't live off of the approval of others. I might still like it or even crave it at times, but I can move forward on my own juice.
When it comes to finishing films I do hold an obligation to those that have given their talent, time and, in some cases, money to our projects. I want to make it clear that I remain dedicated to those films. I am working on them all the time. I am paying for them all the time. I maintain an office and the equipment on which they are being post-produced and archived. I provide endless favors to those that are working for “free”. I am working with actors, producers, picture and sound editors, compositors, musicians, composers, as well as mounting grass roots publicity with no budgets whatsoever. There's also a dearth of moral support. Inquiries regarding the projects' status are often tentative and sometimes even scornful. No one has ever said, Let me know if I can help. That's taking nothing from the many that have come generously forth when asked. Or from those that earnestly express eagerness to see them in their finished forms.
The previous paragraph outlines what I'm doing to finish the films I've produced and directed. Hopefully it reads as evidence of my determination to get these tiny little films out into the world in spite of the seeming Sisyphean nature of the process. There's something else though. Doing the aforementioned doesn't feed me in any way whatsoever. Seeing things come together in an edit or doing something creative like writing and singing a theme song offer me much joy. But most of the time I just want to make another film or blog or do just about anything than slog away at cleaning up the mess of shooting on a micro budget with a pro/am cast and crew and a tyro at the helm.
To offer a clear status report of some of my unfinished films in the order they were produced:
I hate it and I often doubt I will ever finish it.
But a Dream
Finalizing edit with an editor that is on a job indefinitely in LA, looking for a new sound designer after the first one flaked repeatedly for three months, finalizing titles and promotional materials with graphic designer.
Projected completion date: August 15
Finalizing edit with an editor that is on a job indefinitely in LA, working on music with composer, beginning publicity
Projected completion date: December 31
Waiting for sound editor to finalize sweetening, waiting for compositor to doctor a few shots
Projected completion date: August 1
Haven't touched it and don't plan to until Made Crooked is completed
Projected completion date: Summer 2009
The other 15+ shorts sitting un- or partially edited on my hard-drives:
I can't think of anything that I don't want to finish and I'll get to them as I can
In the meantime I will be working on my novel. I can get down a couple of thousand words a day and still leave plenty of time for editing or even for avoiding editing. The writing is filling a void in me and when that ravenous vacuum is filled it restores a lot of my energy. So who knows, maybe this writing distraction will actually prove to enable more activity on the post-production front than it will detract from it.
Part of me questioned whether my word count meter belongs on Finding Fellini. Would it raise suspicions that my commitment to filmmaking is wavering? Have I gone off in search of a new creative pursuit? Not at all. I'm still very interested in creating films. Unfortunately, I don't find being a post-production coordinator/PR officer/IT technician/bookkeeper/colorist all that creative. Fellini was a director and sometimes writer. He didn't produce or edit his films. He sure as hell didn't repair the Moviola when it broke down. Maybe if I were as talented as he I would have people clamoring to do those things for me, but I don't. So I'm going to keep doing my best with what little resources I've got. And I'm going to remember that this blog doesn't serve to chronicle my quest toward achieving what Fellini the director accomplished. Nor is it an apologia. It is about finding the maestro inside of me, my creative center that allows me to express myself freely. The closer I get to that, the more I understand what balance truly is.
Much love to you all,