I’ve mentioned a few times on here that I wrote a short film that I wanted to shoot. Well, it’s been two and a half months and I haven’t shot a goddamn thing. Sure, some test footage to see if I can accomplish what I want to and, for the most part, I can.
I finally got it into my head that I would shoot the short on Monday, December 31st. Not for any romantic or special reason, mind you. I just wanted to get some work done.
I put a hold on a 24mm 1.4 lens at Adorama Rental, to pick up on Friday. No problem. I get up, I eat breakfast, I head out and get there… and lo and behold, I have no id. I cannot take the lens with me.
Well, goddamn. I get angry, I stay angry, I ride home, get there, eat some lunch and I say fuck it, I’m not going back. They’re open until 3pm, sure, but I’m mad and I am not going.
It’s so funny, reading it now, how child like I can be. Most people would just say ‘duh, John.’ Let me have my self realizations, ok?
So, I’m sitting there, and it’s a toss up. Not between going and not going, but what I’m going to do with my time. Play video games or take a fucking nap.
I, instead, play a new rip from a DVD I got from the library. P.T. Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. Now, if you’re familiar with the film, it starts off with a wallop. If you’re not… here’s how it starts:
Sorry for the stupid aspect ratio. Watch the first minute or so… Watch the whole thing, if you can, it’s great. One of PTA’s talents is getting phenomenal performances out of actors you normally see phoning it in.
Well, I watch the first two minutes and I pause it. I look at the still, and it’s of the organ and I say to myself “you want to be making movies. This guy, he’s making movies. You have a lens, sitting there, waiting for you to come get it. Get the fuck off your ass and get the goddamn lens goddammit.”
That’s almost verbatim.
So, I went and got the lens. I got there with 5 minutes to spare, mind you. I left, treated myself to a pita at Chickpea (if you have a Chickpea around you, get a pita with the spicy chicken, it’s sooooo good) and then went home.
Now, I treated myself because of Agent Dale Cooper. If you’re unfamiliar with Agent Cooper’s philosophy, it’s as follows.
So, I treated myself. And then I got a great cup of coffee and yeah that’s two treats, but what the hell.
Forget that I’m scared I’m going to fail miserably on this shoot and make a fool of myself and not get what I want. Forget that I’m not at the perfect weight I was looking to be on camera… and forget that it might be a waste of time.
I have been more productive this year, than in any year in recent memory. Yeah, I’m not making any money at it. Not enough to make a living. It’s ok. These things take time.
If I don’t keep busy, if I don’t push myself to learn by doing, if I sit at home and feel sorry for myself like I have been the last four years or so… man, I don’t even want to think about it.
On Monday I’m going to shoot what I can with what I have. I’m going to try some stuff out and even if it’s unusable, I’m sure I’m going to learn something valuable for the next time I try and shoot this short.
Or, I could get it right.
Working with Marc, George, Spencer, Lynn, Joe, James, and the rest of the cast and crew of The Thing… not to mention, reading Marc’s phenomenal play The Groundling last week… I should give you some back story.
So, Julie and I have known each other for about two years or so. We worked on 8 for Vegas, The Difference Between (which I’m hoping you all get to see one day) and some other small stuff… she’s been a champion of mine since the beginning. She’s read everything I’ve sent her way. One project, called Good Luck (written over two years ago), she’s been after me to adapt into a short film which, without about $10k, would be impossible.
But… the other thing she said we should do with it is, adapt it into a play.
Now, I have never been a theater person. Never. I spent one cramped evening with my friend Ali in NYC two decades ago to see Oleanna and have hated plays ever since… if only because I was avoiding them.
I’ve seen a couple of plays in the last year, whether because of new associations, or because they were gifted. And let me tell you, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying them. So, clearly, for two decades, I’ve been missing out. These things happen.
I finished Marc’s play and I felt inspired. That was the first time since high school, or perhaps college, that I’ve read a play.
So, I started adapting Good Luck into a play… and let me tell you, I’m thrilled with it. I have no idea what so ever what we’ll do with it, who will read it, who will throw it out, who will call me and say ‘what is wrong with you?’… who knows. But I have been enjoying the hell out of writing it, have improved upon it, and hope to be finished with it in the next week or so, after I figure out how to format the goddamn thing.
Keeping ones self inspired is hard. A lot of people purchase things to get inspired. Like a gym membership or a personal trainer or lessons of some kind. Creating a habit takes time. Creativity, as a whole, takes time. Hours turn into days, especially when you’re learning a craft… but in the end, you’ll see the results. You’ll see the improvement. You just have to stick with it.
I’m scared shitless about Monday. I really am. But that’s about 10% of how I feel. 70% of me is excited, and 20% is that unknown abyss feeling of… the unknown, god that’s a terrible sentence.
On Saturday, the 5th, James, Marc, Lynn, Julie and I will have our first production meeting on the comedy TV pilot I wrote and will be shooting, hopefully some time in February or March. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for reading.
PS – here are two short films that I thought you might like that I watched recently.