Last week, I wrote about pornography and got a really good response. Apparently lots of people are addicted to porn. I’m suffering from self-inflicted pressure to follow up with something equally as engaging, but alas, this is Word Vomit Wednesday. Or Failure Friday, if I failed to post on Wednesday. Here we go.
Today’s topic is inspiration, a difficult topic because I don’t feel inspired right now. I don’t feel inspired too often. Life would be so amazing if I could live every day with purpose and meaning. When I don’t have work, I wake up at noon and sit in my pajamas, thinking of all the things I should be doing. It’s extremely productive 1% of the time when it motivates me to do something with my life. The other 99% finds me binge watching Youtube videos.
Speaking of Youtube videos, my Jubilee Project short film premiered this past week! No trolls in the comment section yet, just positive feedback about people crying. Is it bad that I feel good about making people cry?
By the way, this post contains mild spoilers for Heartsick, so if you haven’t seen it yet, click here! https://youtu.be/Qh439pXJjeM
We’ve been developing Heartsick since June 2015, but I have early drafts of the film that I wrote back in 2013 (psst...don’t tell anyone, they’re crap). No doubt, Heartsick has been the most inspired production I’ve ever worked on. And like my porn post, I feel self-inflicted pressure to follow up with something better, something even more inspired. But does it really work that way?
As a teenager, I would shoot Ultrakids movies for my church’s winter retreat. I would tell people they would see it at the retreat, even when I knew it might not be finished in time. But it always was. Even when I pulled two back-to-back all nighters to finish the last one.
During Heartsick’s production, I didn’t post about it on social media because I was in constant fear we wouldn’t finish. Or we’d mess up. Ha, we almost did! I had been instructed to make a shot list, which for me meant writing down all the shot ideas I had. HA. HA HA HA. There was a solid THREE HOURS of intense panic the night before we began shooting, because I hadn’t filled out the Excel sheet with the official schedule and whatnot. We almost went into production completely blind, if it hadn’t been for our team leaders, namely Kevon, who helped organize us and put us back on our feet. (correction: after reading this, Kevon reminded me it was five hours of panic, not three hours)
We didn’t discover the twist at the end of Heartsick until two or three drafts in. In my early drafts, I couldn’t even figure out a satisfying ending because what, was I just gonna have the dad return from war with joy? So predictable. Have him die? So unnecessary. But under the pressure of Ivan, our script advisor, we were able to find a unique ending that made us more confident in the script.
Most of my films have been solo outings. By that, I mean I gather a bunch of friends to act and do sound, while I direct, write, produce, and edit the movie. I didn’t realize how creatively taxing it was until we made Heartsick, where I only needed to focus on one of those things: directing.
It. Was. So. Much. Fun. It enabled me to engage with the “big picture” without having to worry about the itty-bitty details of the filmmaking process. A good example is Heartsick’s ending. Originally, the dad was not going to say a single word the entire film. However, the night before we shot the ending (it’s always the night before), I remember pitching a last-minute idea to Jenine, who wrote Heartsick. “I think we should have the dad write a letter to Dakota! Reverse the roles! Can you write it?” She did. And we shot it the next morning. That voice-over, which was so instrumental to the ending, almost didn’t make it in. But I would’ve definitely missed it if I was worrying about camera tech. Arnold, the director of photography, always took care of that. Or if I was too busy finding decent locations, which Elly, the producer, never failed to obtain.
That’s why I consider Heartsick better than all my previous short film attempts, because I wasn’t attempting alone. Three-fourths of the work was completed by people who were much better at doing it than me. We enabled each other to do our jobs better.
I love things that are done, and I love having accomplished something. I feel great right now. That being said, the act of doing and accomplishing things takes a little bit more out of me. So how does one self-motivate themselves? It helps to have other people push you, but even then, if I really wanted to be lazy, nothing could really stop me.
Sometimes I need to stop thinking about the ramifications of doing things and just actually do things. Cue Shia Lebeouf. I have a new life motto: always be impulsive when it comes to doing good. Be cautious, yes. Be smart, yes. However, too many times I’m succumb to a vague fear of the unknown, which prevents me from taking the risks I need to live an inspired life.
So this was super word-vomitty and all over the place, but if you guys are still with me, thank you for reading! And thank you for watching and supporting Heartsick; it’s been a fantastic ride so far.