Thursday, July 26, 2007

My first documentary film, did I do anything right?

After almost seven years, this question remains unanswered. The bigger question of why, after graduating with a BFA in Ceramics way back in 1969 and having started two businesses, would I want to make a film in the first place? I won’t even take a stab at that one, except to say that I ALWAYS wanted to make movies. In the late 90’s my plan was to retire in a few years and fish and build hot rods and maybe finish a series of paintings I started back in the 70’s. But I kept remembering that I always wanted to make movies. Every time I would see another film, every year I would stand in lines at SXSW, I would remember how much I wanted to make movies. And if you are reading this, you probably want to make films as well. So in 1999 I took a comprehensive film class in Austin, Texas, Production One by Steve Mims.

After that class I realized that I was likely to old to start yet another career, that this was a game played by MUCH younger, smarter and more creative people and that the chances of making a “First Film” that anyone but a few friends and family would even want to see were minimal. The odds are stacked as there are literally THOUSANDS of films made in the US each year and only a few hundred secure any kind of distribution deal. But then I remembered that I ALWAYS wanted to make movies. I did not know it at the time, but other events were unfolding that would soon open the door to my first film.

The final assignment in the class was a five minute film and I was pretty discouraged at that point since everything in class had started to feel too fast, too chaotic and very out of control. To top it off, when we screened at Dobie, my film was by far the worst in the class. Seriously, I am neither being modest or self-deprecating, it was a horrible, painful three and a half minutes. It would have been much worse if I actually had the time to stretch it out to five.

During the last few days leading up to the screening I was ready to put my desire to make a film in the same box as my boyhood dream of going to the moon. Ain’t gonna happen!

But then, once again, I remembered that I always wanted to make movies. So I was in conflict about why I even took the class for the last few weeks and after the screening I felt like a complete idiot to still hold onto the desire to do something cinematic. After the screening most of the class went for beer at the Dog and Duck on Guadalupe and I did not want to look the rest of the class in the eye after such a lousy showing. But I went anyway thinking, “They have already seen the worst, how much worse can it be?” I decided I would stay for only one beer and then go home and let go of yet another post mid-life crisis fantasy……………..

No comments: