Happy Monday, Valentines. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and ate a bunch of candy or posted pictures of your loved ones on social media or whatever you to do celebrate (I did the former and now I am very tired).
I also saw the movie Carol last night, which, I suppose not surprisingly, was just beautiful. The cinematography, the music, obviously the acting, the camera work – so focused and yet so free within the confines of the frame. The movie is a jewel. Chris and I talked about it last night, how rare – and really how difficult – a great period piece is (and I was floored by The Revenant, but that’s something else entirely, in a good way). The clothing, the street scenes, the department store lighting, the grain of the 16mm film. It all felt like part of a whole complete world. The movie felt clean and effortless.
I think about the focus it must take to make a movie like that. And really any movie that I love has that level of focus (again, combined with a freedom coming from the actors). And I think about all the ways that I feel so, so terribly scattered lately in filmmaking, as an actor, and just as a human being. When you’re trying to do so many different things at once (right now it’s worrying about sound for our final exhibition format of the movie, learning about making an electronic press kit, taking acting classes and auditioning, researching and writing a new script, constantly searching Craigslist for more work that will hopefully help me get to the film fests we’ll be attending this year), you can’t help but do poor job at all of it. I mean, it’s not awful, but none of it’s great or even really close to my best. And that’s really disheartening and not the way I ideally want to live.
But we don’t get our ideal way of life. We juggle everything and keep it all straight by writing it down and planning well and then we have to try to turn off the mental machinery when we sit down to do any one of those tasks. Some days it turns off and you can focus. Other days, well, it’ll be better tomorrow.
And I know that June is the last time that I’ll be doing so much for a movie. I mean, our next short will probably be relatively similar, but not like this. I’m just longing for some focus these days.
The truth is, people do this differently all the time, and I have to remind myself of that. People wait – they wait to find their perfect line producer, cinematographer, etc. They wait until they’ve acquired a name somehow that brings them funding. The key word in all of this is “wait.” Well, we didn’t want to wait. We just did it. And what comes with that is you do it a bit scattered the first time around.
I suspect there might be a few filmmakers or other creative folks reading this (are there? say hi!), and maybe you’re waiting for the ducks to line up so you can make your big project. I don’t really know the answer, but I do know that I’m surrounded by people in LA who talk nonstop about the projects they plan to do, and very, very few seem to actually follow through. There’s an awful lot of waiting.
And it’s really hard to push forward and do it on your own, and it affects your focus pretty majorly. But, when things get hard or when I start to feel bad about not being excellent in all areas, I at least know that – we made the thing. And we learned so much and because we did the first one, we can do another. And next time, with more focus. And the time after that, even more focus. (Here’s hoping.)
After all, Carol is the latest in quite a long string of films by Todd Haynes. This is a long game. Same with anything in art, I suppose. But what a wonderful, hopeful thing to aim toward, that kind of complete focus of vision.
So, I’ll keep going, one thing at a time, sound edits, now the Facebook page, now the Twitter, back to the ending credits, back to the film fest submissions calendar, finding new publicity stills, updating the website, and on and on it goes. Maybe it will get easier. It’s hard to know. Or maybe I’ll just have to become a better juggler.