Well, I had an interesting weekend. Here was my schedule:
Sound mix for a film
Story meeting on upcoming serialized novel
Location scout for a film
Went with my family to a birthday party for a friend’s kid
Sound mix for a film
Friend’s birthday party
Sleep in HAHAHAJUSTKIDDING woken up at 8:30am by kids
Write as long as I can until
Hanging with kids while wife goes out for a mani-pedi then comes back so I can go to my
Sound mix for a film until 1:00am
Notice how I didn’t mention little things like “meals” in there? That’s because I barely ate. Didn’t even think of it until my body was like: “GARRETT! Grab a hot dog, motherfucker!”
Let’s put this in perspective a different way. Here’s what’s going on in my life right now:
1. Co-writing a top secret serialized novel with my buddy and fellow podcast host ZC Bolger.
2. Co-writing an even more top secret serialized novel. More details on this one as my NDA is released (kidding, but I’m keeping it on the hush for right now at the request of my partner).
3. Writing Non Zombie III all by my lonesome.
4. Wrapping up post production on a short film I directed in August last year; high priority because the producer (who wrote the short film script and the feature) has agents and producers aching to produce the feature film for a multi-million dollar budget. I’m the editor, colorist, sound mixer and DVD producer on the film—there’s also a special effects artist working on it.
5. Re-editing a short film I wrote and directed in September last year for a 48-hour film festival. The film didn’t win the 48-hour festival, so I’m re-tweaking it and sending it out on the more “general” film festival circuit.
6. Finishing editing and all other post-production on my directorial debut (which, interestingly, will be completed after the three short films I shot after it) Overnight.
7. Completing my first feature-length script, Rebel Yell.
8. Managing the release of Hit Girls (which, if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should).
9. Wrapping edits on Zach’s first novel (Danny Calloway and the Puzzle House).
10. Formatting the We Make Movies Survival Guide 2013, a compilation of awesome filmmaking articles put out by the film collective We Make Movies.
Don’t forget that in addition to all of those relatively temporary projects, I’m still posting on here at least twice a week, recording the Story Telling Podcast and starting up a whole ‘nother podcast with We Make Movies.
And don’t forget I have a 9-to-5 job. And a wife and two kids.
I’m not gonna lie to you, Dearest Reader. Sometimes it feels like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
Then I kick myself in the ass, stop feeling sorry for myself and get back into action.
Here’s what I’ll bet you DIDN’T realize from those lists above: Even spending 9 hours a day at my job Monday through Friday, I’m spending a MAJORITY of the time in my life on the two things I love: Family, and Art.
“But what about free time?” people sometimes ask me.
What the fuck is this ‘free time’ people talk about? Is it video game time? Well, I like my video games. Is it party time? I like me a good party.
But would I rather do either of those two things more than writing a book or directing a film? Never. Not in a million years. If you like playing Call of Duty or getting drunk with your friends more than creating your art, then you should probably look for a stable, steadily advancing career that gives you as much free time as possible to do those things. Just ditch the art if it’s not what you enjoy doing more than anything else in the world—because why would you be working toward anything less?
We’ve all got relatively little time in these frail little bodies. If you want to do art so that you can be famous, let me just say that I’ve gained more fame through this blog (in terms of eyes on my name) than I have through any of my books or movies. If you want fame or riches, there are better avenues.
Guide your life by what you want to do MOST. Then, even if you’ve got as much shit going on as I do right now, you’ll never feel overwhelmed. I can’t feel like I’ve got “too much to do” for very long. I mean, what kind of complaint is it to say “I’ve got too much fun to have?”
Because that’s what it is. Fun. It’s a big, fat game.
Yes, I take it seriously. Yes, I try to deliver to my audience as best I can. Always. On time. Under budget. Profitably.
But it’s a game. Never forget that. You’re the star quarterback. Your team is your family, maybe your agent, your support group, your workshop, your film collective. The other team is the System. The publishers. The studios. The investors who don’t want to give you their money. The time and space that you have to wrestle from the universe to create your art.
On the other side of the field is the end zone. Your book, or maybe just your manuscript. Your feature film, or maybe just your short. Your goal is to get into that end zone, more times than the other team knocks you on your ass.
Maybe you don’t win the game. Maybe you never reach that end zone.
Pick up and move to the next field.
You might not make the movie you’re working on now. You might finish your book to a loud chorus of crickets.
Write the next book, direct the next film anyway. If you love what you’re doing, you should keep doing it. Sure, there may have been some aspect of it you didn’t like. Maybe your 1st AD was a dick. Maybe you struggled SO HARD with that opening chapter. (*snicker* “so hard”). So refine your process and eliminate those things that make it not fun any more.
And keep going. Maybe the final product wasn’t up to your standards (or, apparently, anyone else’s). Keep going anyway. As a wise man I know likes to say: “No one writes fifty crappy stories.” And no one makes fifty crappy films, either.
That may sound like a sucky answer, because it just means “gut your way through it.” Well, again, if you enjoy the filmmaking process, that shouldn’t matter. I’ve posted before that my first film was terrible by my current standards. But those twelve hours of filming were awesome. I still feel that way, the rest of the cast and crew still feels that way. The films I’m finishing right now are awesome. Three years from now, I’ll look at them in a different light. But I’m loving every moment. I’m improving all the time.
Every day, I’m juggling a lot of projects. But every single one of them is fun, every single one of them is awesome, and my life wouldn’t be as fulfilling or complete if any single one of them were missing.
Want more like that? Check out this post: Daddy, Where Do Books Come From?