QUIET THE INNER CRITIC
Well, this week has been an interesting one to say the least. Experiencing the full range of emotions, things started as they normally did, 4:00 AM on Monday morning. I woke, fired up the Keurig and brewed my morning cup. Relaxing and still waking up, I enjoyed that cup to completion. It was time to edit.
Utilizing the L cut I had mentioned last week, the scenes were coming together nicely. I even had my doubts on a small little fight sequence, but it actually cut together perfectly. Molly throws a punch that wildly misses Erin (it wasn’t supposed to be so obvious) and yet, I was able to cut it together nicely making for an amazing transition. Erin hit the ground like a champion, fear in her eyes. I was proud of this one.
Continuing, I finished my cuts for the morning just in time for Andrea (my girl) to awake. Curious and eager to see my progress, I happily showed her the results of my efforts. She watched, stoic and with a lack of emotion. I was left disappointed.
Disappointed in what? Was it the result or her underwhelming emotional response? What was the spark that started this emotional spiral which eventually erupted into flames of doubt and depression? Why did this happen?
When I show one of my films to someone, I don’t watch the movie myself, I watch the audience. I look for their reaction. I try to gauge where the picture is working and where it isn’t. Are the jokes hitting or falling short? Is the emotional arc effective? Is the flow as expected? All elements that are important to the overall success of the picture.
When Andrea sat and watched the few scenes I cut together, she gave no reaction. This sends red flags to my brain stating something isn’t working right. Down the rabbit hole we go. What isn’t working? I just spent 3 hours on this, how could she not react? I thought this was funny, is it not? What the hell went wrong!?
In my defense, Andrea I don’t have the same taste in movies. I would say ‘What About Molly?’ isn’t her cup of tea, but it is mine. With that, I should not have taken it personally. I should stay the course and continue on. However, I didn’t do that. Noooooo… I chose to panic, get discouraged and doubt my abilities. I became my own worst critic.
DOUBT TO DEPRESSION
With the doubt quickly escalating, I re watched most of the film, frustrated throughout. I told myself to continue on, finish editing so you can get a better picture of where the movie is at. And so I did.
Over the next two days, I quietly edited in the mornings, judging every frame. Finally finished, I rewatched but a few scenes and was left pissed off and afraid. The depression was full on and in my face. I needed to step away.
Andrea could tell something was up. Me being very internal decided not to talk about it at the moment as it would only frustrate me further. Instead, I did yard work. I listened to music, cleared my brain and redirected my attention. Further into the evening, I fired up Superbad as a good reminder to myself of what a REAL movie looks like. I laughed, disconnected and went to bed.
The next morning was filled with something new and it wasn’t more editing.
FACING THE FEAR IN FILM
That’s right, depression sets into fear. All of my fears popping up, I was almost into full blown panic mode. Those fears are listed below.
How am I only at 45 minutes of film? I don’t have another 45 minutes to shoot! My film is going to come up short...Fuck…
Why did I write this scene? Why did I write any of these scenes!? I wish I would’ve done this differently…
I’m letting people down. My ‘What About Molly?’ family is NOT going to want to work with me again.
I’m NOT good at this.
This was a waste of my time.
This was a waste of money.
I’m a fraud.
People are going to laugh at me…
Honestly, number 3 hurts the most. My ambition is always greater than my skill set. In fact, it always will be. I have dreams and goals of creating some amazing movies and working with the same people on several projects. I don’t ever want to let someone down and so when I think I’m doing so, it fucking hurts. It pains me to think someone might not be proud of the work we accomplish. It pains me to disappoint.
With the fear slapping me in the face, I didn’t have a choice…I MUST continue on.
Looking inside and analyzing your fears is important. You can fully understand what you’re afraid of, acknowledge it, address it and move on from it. You have to get used to facing fears. They are barriers and if you want to grow, you need to break through. There’s no other way. What’s the worst that happens here, someone laughs at me? Go ahead, at least I tried.
Sitting back at the computer, I went back to frame number one. I began putting the film together as it is intended to be seen. I even added some music where I think the cues should come in. I played, I laughed and I enjoyed. I didn’t hate things as much as I did. The fears started to go away. I began to crawl out of the hole, towards the light, resetting my attitude to come back and shoot another day.
It’s a slippery slope. Editing never seems to go well. You never have the film you wanted, right from the word go. It takes work. It’s the final rewrite of the picture. If you loved it immediately, this job would be easy and not worth doing.
I’m not saying all the fear is gone, it’s not. I will keep these fears with me through the finalization of this project. It’s just who I am. The important part is that I acknowledge them, faced them and moved on from them.
Things are not always going to go your way, it’s part of life. The important part is to keep moving forward. Control what you can and don’t worry too much about the rest. I preach to my Molly family to enjoy the ride, don’t worry about the result. I forgot to take my own advice this week. Something I need to do a better job of.
Feel like setting yourself free? Share your fears in the comments. Address them and move on. It’s very therapeutic.
- The Failed Filmmaker