Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Balancing Act

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So I find myself missing the grind of filmmaking. It’s unlike anything anyone can experience. The chaos & creativity that swarms around a movie set is both intoxicating, and maddening. I do remember that whenever I was on a movie set I couldn’t wait till the end of the day. Just for the silence, but I be lying to you if I told you that I hated it all together. A film set can be one of the most creative places around. Just putting a scene together takes a lot of energy. To do this day in and day out can be exhausting, and yet exhilarating. But I’m finding myself more and more challenged to try and get motivated enough in telling a really GOOD story. There was a time when I loved horror movies & other low budget films because it was what really got me going. To some extend I still do love these films affectionately called B-movies, but lately I’ve lost interest in what studios are producing and labeling as horror. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe I’ve just lost my fill for horror and find real life can be much more horrible then the fiction they put on the screen. I’m not adverse in doing a horror film, but I’d like the film to be something more then just another film containing blood, & guts. There has to be more. Larry Fessenden is a filmmaker who does this well, so it isn’t new territory.

So that leaves me where? What can I truly say in a movie? How do I make it entertaining to others while at the same time using the limited resources I have? Can it even be done? I can tell you that one single idea does permeate my thoughts and that is to do something beyond myself. To tell a story that resonates with all of us, and yet has a unique voice. High standards I guess, but then again life is short, and in the end we have only our work that will speak for us. I can’t even say that the work will be heard. The creation of something like a film, or photography or even a painting can only be motivated within the artist. He or she does not know whether it succeeds until it is finished and out there for the public to see. Yes I know the more successful artists are masters of self-promotion, and get the recognition of the public through their exploits. I know all too well that marketing is a skill unto itself, so I won’t shy away from it. It just seems quite difficult that in an era such as ours that a lot of what is worth hearing and worthwhile looking at is drowned out by the loudest or the most affluent of us. Maybe the Internet will help. Maybe it can give a voice to artists who would not ordinarily be heard. I’m not only talking about film, but of music, and photography, and art itself. I see some examples of this now, but the field remains fractured, and not united. We are all doing our own things, and are not connecting, as we should. I’m just as guilty of this. Balancing family, career, and other endeavors seems to be more of a skill then anyone can imagine, and I am still trying to master it, and feel that I may never be successful at it. Yet that inner drive to create, and to tell a story still nags at me. Maybe I’ve made this abundantly clear in previous posts, but it’s a real dilemma for me.

I’ve read several books and watched countless documentaries on famous artists who had something more then me, and they sacrificed things that I’m unwilling to sacrifice. I will not blindly pursue my own art at the expense of my family. But how do I balance all this? Surely I can’t be happy if I don’t try working on creating something I am proud of, and that is something more then myself. I have no idea if I’ll be successful. In the end I guess it’s all about balance, but I find it none too easy. Thanks for listening!

UPDATE
No sooner do I write this when I come across this article in the New York Times. It's called Survival Tips for the aging Independent filmmaker. It's an interesting read.

**Yes that is me under the moving blankets trying to muffle the sound of the camera. It did work!

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