Present in Post-Production
Posted on May 1st, 2015 in Uncategorized with 4 Comments
I’m sitting here at home in Connecticut, back home for my cousin’s fourth birthday party on Saturday. The leaves are starting to poke out of the buds on the trees and the beautiful weeping cherry tree in our front yard is almost in full bloom. This is my favorite time of year. I am reminded that everything comes back around, that happiness comes from sadness and sometimes vice versa, that time passes and my perception of time passing between seasons is shortened as I get older.
It feels like yesterday I was sitting at home with my family on a weekend, deciding what movie to see and then coming home to act it out in the backyard, or picking up our home video camera and making movies for fun with my brother and sister. It feels like yesterday I was writing Gold Star while taking care of my father in this house. It’s strange to be in a place that’s so held in time for me, that I wish could be frozen in the past, and yet, keeps moving forward. It’s necessary to keep moving forward.
I hate thinking of these things and dwelling, and the constant battle in my brain to hold onto memory is in constant tension with the need to move on. My brain protects itself from getting too sad by creating and challenging itself. I’m learning that I feel most fulfilled when faced with obstacles and pushed completely out of my comfort zone, that knowing exactly what’s going to happen every day isn’t something that I want. Maybe it’s because I’m an adrenaline junkie, or perhaps it’s evident of my realization that life passes before us quicker than we realize, as I learned losing my father. Your age may be almost 90, but your brain will never feel that way.
This brings me around to almost being completed with Gold Star. We are nearing a picture lock and some of the best advice I’ve received from fellow filmmakers is to enjoy the process. It’s easy to get caught up in the work, in the goals we all want to reach, getting excited about the endless possibilities of the future, but unless you are fully steeped in the present, savoring every moment, what is the point of it all? Will your work be its best if you’re imagining your premiere rather than working on your film at its present state? When will I next be in this position, with a feature film in post production, especially a deeply personal film that helped me cope with a painful time in my life?
Patience is extremely important during this time. Additional advice I’ve received is to concentrate first on making the best film possible, letting festival deadlines sit in the back of my head, but to not let them take my focus. Submitting a film that’s less than its best just to make a deadline is pointless. I’m only going to get one shot at making this film perfect. I’ve been working on it for four years, and to stumble at the finish line would be tragic.
Regardless of what happens with Gold Star, I’m incredibly lucky and fortunate. I told myself I was going to do something and I did it. I stuck to my guns. I made a feature film co-starring with an Oscar nominated actor. My brother keeps telling me to be proud, that I’m too humble. I am proud. And honestly, still surprised I got so lucky as a first time filmmaker. It all comes down to trusting your vision, your story and having confidence. To anyone who makes a feature film – you worked hard and did it. That’s huge. Pat yourself on the back and remain focused.
If you’ve read this blog and know anything about me, I compare most things to running. If I’m not working on a film or working my day job, I’m out on the roads putting miles in, more often than not preparing for a race. I’ve learned a lot from running that I’m applying to the post production process of Gold Star. Running has given me an insane amount of patience and endurance, mental and physical. The ability to concentrate on a single task for hours, such as running or watching my film over and over trying to keep it fresh, has helped me enormously. Running also forces you to live in the present moment, to feel every fiber in your body and to immediately assess it, to feel your breath, to acknowledge your frustrations and push past them. This is what I’m trying to do in finishing Gold Star – to live in every single moment, to remind myself it’s not the finish line but every moment leading up to it that matters. Remaining in the present is the key to a great finish. It’s all about the journey after all is said and done, right?
Ultimately, I’m grateful to everyone surrounding me, supporting me, and encouraging me. Many talented people are stifled from a young age with doubt from outside forces, parents, frustrations, less than lucky lives. I may have gone through sad times, but I’m grateful for my ability to realize that I have some power over my own thoughts. I have the strength to make a bad thing into something good that hopefully other people will relate to.
There’s a reason my father’s favorite bird was the robin. To us, a robin was a confirmed sign that we’d made it through difficult times, that everything would be okay. Hope and springtime was around the corner. No matter what happens, the leaves will always come out, the flowers will bloom. The robins will return, telling us to enjoy the now, and to realize that things move forward out of our control, but will always come back around.