Why do I have to be so dramatic? It's not like I've had some amazing revelation, seeing everything in stark relief, completely upheaving my life. I have come to a few realizations lately, however.
I've ignored you all for some time now. I'd apologize for it, but instead, I'll let you know that it wasn't for nothing. First, I spent the past weekend embroiled in the production of a short film, something we've come to call "Mr. Right". It was our submission to a challenge from the Colchester Film Festival. Specifically, the challenge was to produce a short film of five minutes or less in 60 hours. No pre production before the start time, save for finding actors and locations. It was a fascinating experience. It was the first short film that we completed as a team. What was the team? We're calling ourselves Belding Projects, and have been for quite some time. The core team involves Nathaniel Rae as the director, Benjamin Tracy as the DP (co-director too maybe? I'm not too clear on all these roles) and myself. I'm usually the writer, though sometimes I get the chance to act as well. We had great actors helping as well. Crucially, it was the first film we completed as a team. Our first ever production, The Belding Project, was only a tiny fraction of a larger project. It's a five-year-old fight scene (a terrible one) and the project was never completed. Since then, we've each done our own things, some with more success than others. It was only this past weekend that we first completed something (though we were missing the fantastic Benjamin Tracy). It was the schedule that really pushed us through and forced us to deliver a product, no matter the quality. I don't think what we came up with was that bad, though you'll constantly find me assuring friends and family that we're planning to edit the thing all over again. We'd tried shooting something very different before, and it just felt like a bunch of guys trying to film something. This time, we were more like a film production. We had a table read of the script in five minutes rather than a day. We had our location scouted and planned out in a day rather than a month. We filmed everything in two days rather than...uh...never. We're amateurs, and you'll see it in our final product. But we finished something. What you won't see is all the times we didn't finish something, and how we learned from all of them. They all helped us complete it this time.
Another big realization hit, this time from visiting an art museum. It'll come across as simple and benign, but it felt like a sledgehammer to the side of the head. You don't feel it too much on the actual impact, but if you survive it there are repercussions for the rest of your life. I'm not sure what exactly brought it on, but it likely had something to do with the breadth of art available for viewing. The one consistent theme across it all? An artist does what they need to do. The art is the purpose, and you let it take you to where it needs to be. You don't mold the art to the purpose. Until now, I'd been treating my writing as an eventual cash cow. Just find clients who want to pay you to do the writing they want, and you'll probably make a living eventually. It's not like I won't be doing any of that from now on. A man's gotta eat, but there's so much more I can do. After that art museum, I sat in a coffee shop and wrote something that I really wanted and needed to write. I wrote more that day than I did any other, and it flowed in a way I'd never really experienced. It's a piece on success, which I've written about to death (especially considering it isn't something I've reached myself), but it's honest and real. I think I'll try to sell it, if only because that's what you need to do if you want to eat. No matter what happens with it, I know it'll inform any writing I do going forward, and I can only go up from here.
I decided when I quit my job that I'd put more of my time into doing things I want to do, things I could put everything that I am into completing. It's not entirely clear how it happened, but I've just taken a leap in that direction. Nothing's clear just yet, but I'm being carried forward by a strong current that I just can't ignore.