There is an old phrase that it is often good to remember – “Relax, it’s only a movie.” It’s a useful phrase to keep handy, because sometimes during production you can get a little lost, start rushing around and start making mistakes. Mistakes happen, but when you start rushing, and getting caught up in the “movie-making” experience – you can make bad mistakes – like wiping out the days work, or do stupid things that end up causing injury. People go nuts in this business, working so hard, not seeing family or loved ones. I used to do animation stand work, There were times I’d go to work at 10 am, and barely make lab at 6 am the following morning. When you are on set, and you have second breakfast before going home – you know you’ve been on set far too long. It did make for a not so lovely Thanksgiving when I came home after a 26 hour work day, got a few hours of sleep, and proceeded “face plant” dead asleep into the mashed potatoes my mom was serving. So when you are beginning to feel stress, and pressure, you may be losing perspective – remember it is just a movie, and no movie is worth dying for (or even getting hurt for.) Working too many hours becomes really dangerous, people die falling asleep at the wheel, and it is tragic – DO NOT LET THIS SORT OF THING HAPPEN TO YOU. Note the last time I worked 24 hours straight, I dropped the completed piece off at the client and drove to my teaching job. I fell asleep at the wheel I can’t remember how many times, and once if the road had curved left instead of right I would have driven into a tractor trailer instead of onto the shoulder. I left the car at work, and took the train home. That was a moment of clarity in a cloudy day.
Don’t be a hero – relax, it’s only a movie.
So now it feels like a good time to take a little break, catch my breath regroup and move forward.
The not so thrilling – Neither Hellion or Resurrection of Blake House made Shriekfest, and Hellion didn’t make New Orleans Horror Film Festival, but both Eerie and New Orleans announce Screenplays on Sept. 15th, so we will see what happens.
My schedule is all different now. School has started and these past two weeks have been dealing with settling in to the schedule with my daughters.Three days of school, and we haven’t missed the bus yet. So this may work out. A little structure could be a very nice thing. Instead of chasing the freelance, here I have a job, well several. I write, and work on projects 8 am to 2:30 pm, work on my marketing, connections, and funding projects, and then I get the kids. This way, I get to work, and save a fortune in child care. It helps to put things into perspective.
It was all fine, when I was single, I could chase jobs, change plans at the drop of a hat. I remember the days of having a date with a girlfriend, and getting a call from a production needing a focus puller. Now here is the secret – in this business NEVER, EVER, EVER tell a production you are unavailable for anything other than another job. I told the producer I had a date scheduled his response – “She loves you, she’ll understand.” Smiley face on that one. Another time I needed a root canal, and told the production I was unavailable, needed the root canal – they never called me again. So an advantage here, having a wife and kids, can’t just go running after the whim of work. It is facilitating the shift to a saner life – or as Karen Kramer said – “You mentioned kids, which means you need to get paid to come work” – yeah because a reliable babysitter is $17 an hour minimum.
It’s a business, and being grounded helps with the panic – plus – I manage apartments which handles rent, and my wife is wonderful and likes her stable job. So finally after years of being stuck on the rodent wheel of freelance I can step back and choose among the jobs I want to work on. Refocus, and reshape my career – Got to change 10% a year, or you stagnate – and look I have to fight to find time to write this blog – at least an hour a post (more like two.)
So remember – don’t get caught up in the lunacy of making a movie. Getting hurt, freaking out, doing dangerous things does not help anyone – not the project, not production, and especially not you.
Relax, take a breath, refocus – it’s only a movie.