Just the other day I had a flashback to being in the middle of making June Falling Down. Nothing specific. Just the feeling. The grind. The sometimes panic. The overwhelm of details, finances (paying for groceries with the credit card again), technology (way beyond what I or Chris had ever dealt with before). I’ve blocked out a lot about what was so hard about making a movie. Well, clearly I have. Because I’m really hankering to make another one.
I have a next-door neighbor who used to love to tell me about movies and what Hollywood was like in the 80s. (I say “used to” because after I’ve dodged him so many times in the parking area he hates me now. Some background: a few years ago on my birthday he told me that women can’t direct war movies and when I mentioned Katherine Bigelow he said, “Please, I couldn’t make it through ten minutes of The Hurt Locker.” Oh, how I miss our talks).
Anyway, he’s been working on getting people, producers, etc. together for years to work on a feature film. Who knows, maybe he’ll do it. But I honestly doubt it. It’s staggering how many people just like to talk about what they’re going to do.
When I was in the middle of making June talking to people like this always made me feel better (maybe that’s bad to admit, but it did). It felt like, yeah, I’m doing this movie thing “wrong,” I don’t have a real DP, I don’t have an editor, etc. etc. But watching people wait around for years is just painful. In another several years I’ll make another movie the “wrong” way (with some improvements, please) and he’ll still be getting the producers together.
Memorial Day 2015
This is not to say, “ain’t I special.” The thing is there’s nothing about me that’s special in making June. I’d been thinking about it for a long, long time and then when I finally said I was going to do it I meant it. And then I got dirty doing the hard work. And honestly? It really really was not fun. Dare I say, most of it was not fun. Shooting it and hanging with cool people was fun. Festivals are pretty fun. You get to see the fun parts on social media because people don’t like to take pictures when things are rough. They’re just keeping their heads down, trying to survive.
Every field is this way. A lot of people have something they’re killing themselves on that other people can’t comprehend. I think of the idea of a farmer digging in the dirt of his small organic farm on a hot afternoon. Callouses on his hands, salty sweat in his eyes, clothing drenched, and his back killing him. And then someone strolling by in a nice clean breezy outfit looking at the tomatoes and saying, “wow, those look great. I’ve always wanted to do this. I’m gonna start a little farm too and start selling at farmers markets.” And the farmer wipes the sweat and dirt from his brow and rubs his sore back and just says, “Uh-huh.” He knows how hard he’s killed himself and is still killing himself, and no one can know until they do it themselves. (Lord, and then that nice clean non-working person starts to give him advice on his tomatoes and…oh boy, another topic for another day)
I’m sure this happens to small business owners all the time. Someone walks into your cute cafe and says, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to do this.” And you’re like, “Sure. Go for it.”
Part of why I find myself going into this kind of talk is not to teach whoever the heck reads this thing. I have nothing but my own foolishness to share in that regard. Really I’m trying to get myself into gear for my next project. June has so many strands of work left to do that I often feel like I can’t move forward – and this is my way of telling myself I have no excuses. I’m pepping myself up here. Do the work, Rebecca. Stop taking it easy. This isn’t a hobby, you want it to be a career. Etc.
My diet in March 2015.
I also was thinking the other day about how much people overthink movies and everything that’s involved. Yes, the process of making a movie as indie as June with a two person team is amazing and funny and sweet and everything people say about it, but it’s also just…obvious. It felt so obvious to me and Chris. You record audios and visuals of a scene from different angles and then you put them together and you have a movie. That’s literally all it is. Yes, there’s an industry of tons and tons of jobs to make the audios and visuals of a film look and sound so much better. But, if you just get down to the basics every single person reading this could make a full movie with their cell phones no problem.
Everything’s available to everyone now. So if you want to make a movie (or follow whatever your dream is), are you going to get dirty or are you going to stay clean and pretty and say, “someday…”? Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind at the moment.
(NOTE: all of this to say, I do not advocate being a workaholic and I have no interest in doing a movie in such an impossible, unhealthy way that we did June – but there’s a difference between really trying and planning on really trying and every person has to figure that out for themselves. I gotta get back to really trying now, as opposed to writing about it…)