For about the four hundred and fifth time, I am finally moving forward. It began before I attended the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (This is the final weekend.) However, the festival, its workshops and parties and mostly the films have inspired me to know that the leap my partner and I made several months back (rather, years back), was the right one. We are not ever going to fit into the corporate world and climb that mysterious ladder told in big-paycheck-fairytales. I am just trying to figure out why fear always seems to slide in and take the seat next to me and how do I tell him to shut up.
Ignoring him, I consider the TO DO list, what must be done, in what order, and by what date. At this stage the process is about how to get by with a zero budget until we have enough of a film product or script that we feel confident to start pushing for funds. I wish it were comforting, but it is not: developing a clear story line, a clear explanation to the question “What’s your story about?” is the cheapest thing to establish, but more difficult than coming up with funds to buy equipment and airline tickets.
I have more ideas than are worth pursuing I am sure — but our goal is to self produce both documentaries and narrative features (fiction). I will produce three of the documentaries as shorts, all done locally, and made with relatively little money. (I am not flying to Africa anytime soon, or Iceland, which is where I would really like to go.) A fourth documentary entails three cities and several subjects, venues and institutions we need to gain access to. As I ponder my plans and consider some of the things other filmmakers at the festival said about their subjects, the whys about how they came to make certain films with particular themes — I realize that I like to focus on the extraordinary in an ordinary person. This is my focus, always. I suspect because I am hoping to find that within myself.
Then there are my babies: my narrative feature-length scripts — still not where they need should be – finished and polished. Contest deadlines loom and I will be out of my mind angry with myself if I don’t fulfill the promises I made. One of those promises is to find funding & investors then direct and produce the film within the year. (Can you hear the inflection of doubt? It sounds like a question mark.) All hinges on the script.
Tonight the festival offers three films I do not want to miss, but this time I am bringing my kids — a very risky decision. Most of the films show and discuss opinions and thoughts I doubt my kids are ready for, but I want them to see anyway. I want them to see the “event” of it all. The festival is a different world, a place where the watchers celebrate their curious, obsessive nature. If I do not become the quality of filmmaker I strive to be, perhaps one or more of my children will because I opened the door and bought them popcorn. Another possibility is that they will find a place in a corporate job that offers both money and personal satisfaction. Either way, or other ways I’ve not considered, they will be the “right” person as they answer their own question about what is extraordinary within.
Some of us are vagabonds by nature. Kicking Fear in the ass is the hard part.