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18 October 2013

What A Fledgling Film Producer Has Learned So Far...

Disclaimer: I'm learning and don't know what I don't know. However, these articles are intended to share the lessons that have helped me gain some momentum in this 'business we call show'. Your mileage may differ.

1.  Failure is your friend. 


When I look back on that epiphanic night I decided to make a movie; I had one thought: To fail spectacularly. 

All of my life, I've been one step forward, a step and a half back. One one hand, my sense of adventure of curiosity and if-all-else-fails-read-the-directions mentality drove me to plan a trip to Europe thirteen years ago. 


Having discovered the wonders of the world wide web a few months earlier, I was determined to plan the trip completely online. And it worked. From Eurail passes to packing lists, myself and three others executed our Web planned journey over the course of four months. 


However! I've always chickened out a little. Fear of failure dogged me so that I never really played for keeps. Also, there was a kind of implicit familial contract: Don't do anything too crazy (become a writer, become actor or anything too out there)or else. The or else was never spelled out. But whenever, if I needed a little loan, to do my laundry or whatever; they were there for me. 

And then I got sick. You see, a major clause in that family contract was: Don't you dare get sick. It was in the small print. But when my body began to fail me,it loomed very large. 

On that transcendental night, the familial contract lay shredded on the floor. It was incredibly painful, unbearably so; until realization dawned. I was free. 

Laying awake in a borrowed bed, I asked myself what if failure was an option? What if it didn't matter what my family thought? If I acted in a way that left it all out on the stage; what would that look like? What if I gave myself permission to fail...and fail spectacularly?

I'd make a movie!
I began consuming any indie filmmaker article I could find online. And then I took stock. What have I got that can help me now? My last effort, my artist support project, Bakery of the Poets slipped into a quiet coma a six months earlier. 
  
Some of the contacts created during that attempt have been invaluable to my efforts as a screenwriter and producer. Try evaluating your failed goal in an imaginary chop shop. You'll find the sum of its parts more valuable to your life than the whole. Each failure adds value to the next attempt. 

So, you're having trouble raising money? It's okay. Talking to people about your project allows you to fine-tune your approach. It also gets your name out there and raises awareness about your movie. 

You get where I'm going with this. Failure is your friend. We learn from it. New gifts and talents are revealed in the attempt. Pitfalls into which we stumble, help us to map our course. We pick up people along the way, who get excited about what we're doing and want to help. 

Failure feels like an old, not very good friend. But it's just the opposite. Every time it comes around in a new shape; lugging all kinds of unexpected goodies.

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