ENJOY THE FILMMAKING JOURNEY
No matter where you are in the film process, it’s important to take a step back, slow down and enjoy the journey. Appreciate what you and your team have set out to accomplish. It’s amazing and you should be proud of yourself for being brave enough to chase your dreams and goals.
I remember the moments when I decided to make each film. Overcome with excitement, I barrel into the process, accomplishing task after task, until FINALLY we’re on set, bringing the pages to life. New challenges and new problems to solve with each shooting day, it can sometimes become overwhelming. It can wear you down. You have good days and you have bad. It’s important to appreciate both. Find joy in the process.
FINDING THE JOY
One thing I often dive into is the behind the scenes of the films I love. You learn a lot and it’s interesting to get on the inside to see how things are made. The filmmakers take you through the journey explaining the how’s and why’s of their film, providing you with a mini filmmaking course.
Aside from this at home education, it’s important to pay attention to one thing specifically. The smiles. Like kids in a candy store, each person working on these big budget Hollywood features seem to be living their best life. A part of something special, something bigger than themselves, they can’t help but smile. Most recently I was watching the journey of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and I was left re-inspired.
Pride, excitement and joy. This is the best way to describe JJ Abrams when watching the behind the scenes footage of this film. He simply exudes it. You can tell he has a level of passion and love for the Star Wars universe but specifically, for filmmaking itself. He authentically enjoys it.
Re-inspired, I can’t help but think about the future and the joy I want to bring into my next project. However, it’s also gotten me sentimental, thinking about the past. Did I have that level of joy in my previous work? Did I really appreciate the journey I was on?
When I think about my body of work, I can’t help but smile. Remembering the good times, the fun, the jokes, the hard work, comradery, collaboration and teamwork. There’s joy in there, but I can’t remember if I brought that same level of joy on set each day. Was I in the moment? Did I allow myself to be present enough each day to truly enjoy it?
To be honest, I don’t think I did. My favorite moment of each filming day is the drive to the set. I absolutely love it. I smile the entire way, telling myself, I get to be a filmmaker today. I get to tell stories. Just writing this has given me chills and put a smile on my face. Then there’s the drive home, my second favorite moment. Reflecting back, thinking about the fun, the hard work, the collaboration, the story coming to life, it’s inspiring to me. It helps to keep me going. But the moments I can’t seem to remember enjoying is actually being on set. Don’t get me wrong, I love it entirely, but did I ever take a moment to just stop, appreciate and enjoy what’s happening? I don’t think I ever did.
BE IN THE MOMENT
When I’m on set, I try to get in the zone and I stay there. As a leader, I feel the need to bring my A game every moment of every day. I don’t want to let the team down. I remain focused on the task at hand, working through the shot list, answering questions and problem solving throughout the day. I don’t find the time to stop and appreciate it for what it is and it saddens me. I rob myself of that fun and joy.
Going forward, I’m going to make the effort to appreciate things more in the moment. I want to continue to be in the zone and lead the team to the best of my abilities but I also want to take a moment in each day and just soak it in. Sit, smile and enjoy the project we’re working on. Be present in the moment, appreciating it for what it is.
Filmmaking is supposed to be a fun and joyous experience. Along with all the hard work, you should find time to laugh, smile, joke, share stories and be a part of each moment, a part of each film. Each project is it’s own unique experience and you should treat it as such. Don’t look back, regretting the fact that you weren’t fully present. Be there, be present, be in the moment and simply put, have fun each and every day.