MAYBE I SHOULD JUST BE A WRITER?
I forget how much work it is to make a film, until I go to make another film. With each project, I give it my all, everything I have in the tank. Left tired, drained and beat down, I often wonder why I put myself through this over and over again. Do I love it THAT much to where I’m willing to sacrifice my time and energy for the goal of having a finished film? Is there another creative outlet that will leave me satisfied, requiring less effort? Is this really worth it?
If you’re looking for an answer to these questions, I can tell you I don’t have one. This is an exploration and one I go through every time I make a film. An odd phenomenon where when I’m making a movie, I’m exhausted and struggle to find the will to push forward. On the other hand, when I’m not making a film, I want to jump back into the deep end and swim once more with the sharks.
Why can’t I just stop at the screenplay?
WRITING A SCRIPT
I absolutely love the writing process. In fact, I think it’s my strong suit. I understand the hero's journey and how to develop a story around the elements of an effective screenplay. I love to create and develop fun and amazing characters, filling a world with love and drama. Then there’s the dialogue...I fucking love dialogue.
Playful banter, insulting comments and words that cut like a knife. I drop F bombs with the best of them, but always find a way to give each character their own unique voice. Dialogue is music. A symphony of words that play to the audience. Just talking about it puts a smile on my face and makes me eager, wanting to jump back into a new script.
With so much love for the craft of screenwriting, why don’t I just stop once the script is finished? Seems like the correct thing for me to do. It saves me time, money and energy. Providing a creative outlet, writing seems like it could be the end all be all. But here’s the thing, I don’t see it as the finish line. For me, it’s always the starting point. Stopping with the script leaves me with this unfinished feeling.
Perhaps I’m missing something here. Maybe I just need to realign my mindset, telling myself that a finished screenplay IS the finish line. It’s where I stop and the next artist can pick things up, if they so choose. Maybe resetting my expectations will change my mindset, helping me feel satisfied and okay with stopping at the finished screenplay.
Oh to dream. To live that life where I stop with nothing more than words on a page, feeling fulfilled and satisfied. Scratching that creative itch.
Odds are, I’ll never feel that way. To me, there will always be a next step in the process. It will always seem unfinished if I stop at the screenplay. I’m not saying screenplays aren’t a work of art, because they are. I honestly believe it’s the most important part of the film process. But that’s exactly it, a process. The process doesn’t stop at the script, it starts there.
So, where is all of this coming from? It takes so much work to make a film and when you do it in the capacity that I do, you’re left with nothing in the tank. You leave it all out on the field. You give it your heart and soul.
It’s natural to have thoughts like I do. I think it’s important to explore these thoughts and see what’s going to work best for you. If you LOVE writing and it leaves you satisfied, then maybe you stop at being a writer. If you feel as though you need more, then you should go seek that out.
Whatever you choose, just make sure the juice is worth the squeeze. As tired as I am, I still love it at the end of the day. It may kill me...but I love it.