Happy New Year. And what a great New Year’s Eve it was.
I’m so glad to find that we’ve not yet been smitten by some transcendentally terrible, apocalyptic event and, as such, have the tremendous opportunity to continue living our lives.
It’s around this time of year that people tend to make all sorts of “resolutions,” harping on the mistakes and mishaps of the year before and making grandiose statements about things they’ll promise for the year to come. I, however, like to think that I’m much more fallible and will not even begin to suggest to being able to stick to doing anything of the sort.
Nevertheless, there are certain things that I’d like to get done, this year and though I don’t want to go into all the specifics for fear of “jinxing” myself, I’m just going to delve into a few of the factors that have driven me to believe that I need to make some shit happen.
The Principal Reasons:
a) Having gotten into Sundance last year – essentially lit a fire under my ass
b) Just having read another article about Edward Burns shooting his most recent feature film, “Newlyweds,” for $9K.
c) I’ve just turned 24, and let’s just say I’m starting to get that serious, “quarter-life crisis” itch. (“I need money, power, a career–now”)
d) I hate New York City and absolutely cannot wait until I can rationalize making a decision to leave. My ideal justification–that I have secured some sort of foothold in this industry. I could write an entire post about my disdain for NYC alone, but suffice it to say–I can totally understand why my mother left, in the 70′s. My goodness. A big shout out to anyone that’s poor that’s still trying to make it there. Good luck.
e) At this point, I’m damn deep in the (film) game. There is nothing else to do but to just continue on and attempt to break the door down, by hook or by crook. (There is no reason not to, only the will to do it, the patience to see the process through and the savvy needed to determine what should come next, so that one can continue on).
(Sorry if this sounds intense).
All that aside, I’ve been extremely fortunate this year, and I’m thankful for all of that. Supportive family, supportive friends, supportive patrons. I’ve had the opportunity to network tremendously since having attended Sundance, earlier last year, and was even able to shoot another short film just two months ago, one which I’m very eager to release in the Spring of this year.
I’ve also have a few other things I’ve been developing that I’m hoping will come to fruition over the course of the year. So–positive thoughts.
Things I (Still) Do To Stay Sane:
- Exercise with the tenacity a convict (a comparison I drew after watching this film called “Bronson”), as much as possible. Not that being in prison is ideal for staying in good shape, but you’d be surprised just how much exercise can do within a space that’s 9′ x 9′ x 12′. Anyway, I’m of the mind that being in good, functional, physical shape will keep your spirits up, no matter what else is going on in your life. It just will.
- Listen to Kanye, Drake, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and other inspiring hip-hop artists, as much as possible.
- Dance. Laugh. A lot.
- Beer. Just one or two. Occasionally.
Things I Do in an Attempt to Keep My Skills Sharp:
“If you’re a writer, you write. If you’re a director, you direct. If you’re an actor, you need to act.”
These things are true. And even if you’re just starting out or aspiring to be a writer-director, there are things that you should be doing continually to hone your abilities, especially when you’re not shooting.
Earlier this year, I saw a list of media that Steven Soderbergh (whose work I adore), spent time observing/watching/creating throughout the course of this past year. If you’re priding yourself on being a content creator, you need to really keep yourself engaged and exercise your mind.
- Avoid watching network/cable television for long stretches of time
- Try to watch at least 4 films per week, however you can. (Spike’s advice)
- If you’re going to watch television, make a concerted effort to watch something that’s good.
- Read prose, for the love of all that’s holy. Nonfiction and fiction. Read good journalism, too. Plays. Scripts (at least 2 per week). Just read.
- Go to the darned Museum.
- Observe, study and photography. Whatever you can get your hands on.
- Read Indiewire, Variety, Nikki Finke’s Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, etc.–the trades.
- Keep shooting and editing, whenever you have the time
- Keep writing.
You must be a sponge. You’re basically like a soldier. And if you don’t think of yourself that way, it’s really best to get out of the game, because there are countless other people that take this shit just this seriously.
General Practices (things to remember and to abide by, as much as possible, if possible):
- Be grateful
- Call your parents and other family members. For the love of all that’s holy.
- Keep in Touch with Folks, in general.
- Be conscious of the fact that time is your most important asset
- Don’t be afraid to say “no” to anything
- Surround yourself with people who are filled with positivity and optimism and, at the same time do not be afraid to distance yourself from others.
- Strive to do more than what you discuss doing
- Strive to continually push yourself out of your comfort zone, to experience new things and to meet new people
- Strive to avoid solipsism and arrogance as much as possible
- Keep a plan — 6-month, 12-month, 36-month, 60-month, 120-month (if you can) – review and refine it, regularly.