posted by victor @ 1:29 pm June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was a musician in a former lifetime, and playing in bands was a blast — but it did something kind of sad: It killed my ability to get lost in music and just “be a fan.” I remember listening to records with religious fervor, getting lost in a magical world that inspired me to be a part of it. But doing that for real meant stripping away a lot of the gloss; pretty soon watching even a favorite band live felt more like homework than a magical experience. I played way more than I listened, and the bands I loved shrank down to a handful. Then years later when design replaced music for me, I helped publish a local alternative music magazine, and the hipsters writing and editing the mag — including my girlfriend at the time — turned me on to all kinds of amazing music… We were able to catch many of these acts live and in small venues, and at some point I realized it was back: I was able to be a fan again!

Some time after that, a similar sort of inspiration moved me to try my hand at something else: I wanted to be a filmmaker. Many years — and literally thousands of screenplay pages + several short films later — here I am with my first feature. Getting here involved making a study of film; watching any movie (even a “bad” one) was interesting and very often enlightening. My fear, of course, was that the process would render me unable to “just enjoy” movies as I once had.

But fortunately, this has not been the case. Sure, it’s a little more difficult for a film to successfully pull me in, and I have a sharper reaction to crappy (or even un-awesome) filmmaking — but when it clicks, damn, it clicks even bigger. It’s like gaining some idea of just how impossibly difficult it is to scrabble something together that even works a little has made it that much more exhilarating when a film actually fires on all cylinders. I have somehow retained the capacity to be utterly blown away by movies. I’m still a fan!

finish line

posted by victor @ 6:24 pm June 17, 2010 in film,life,Uncategorized,writing

It’s done! Yes, the film is done, made, finished, complete, wrapped. I know this because at my writer’s group meeting a couple of weeks ago — when they ask if anyone has any announcements — I finally raised my hand and said that I’d just finished my first feature film. Because it was actually finished… Like, finished finished, as in through with post-production, with screeners making the rounds to various distributors (so everybody visualize whirled peas!).

Why no hollering from rooftops? Well, “finishing” turned out to be a little softer than I’d imagined, trickier to nail down than other phases of the operation. Like, say, wrapping the shoot, where cast and crew are not showing up tomorrow and it’s hugs all ’round. No, it’s more like scooting away from your desk late one night, hitting “render,” then going about your bidneh until this version makes the internal rounds and we’re all happy with it. So over the course of a few days a while back, we were happy with it, and I quietly realized, “So…it’s finished!” Then promptly spaced out, worked on other things, and took a trip to the desert. Now I’m back and we’re still finished. So it’s true!

People say that making a film is more like running a marathon than a doing flashy sprint, and I agree. I’d go one further and say it’s like running a marathon comprised of many, many, little sprints (some flashy, some not), with l-o-n-g breaks in between to assess, review, and prepare for the next. Also, the “finish line” is pretty amorphous and entirely subjective. Kind of “not with a bang, but with a whimper.” Only not as pathetic as that sounds! Plus it’s not “over” yet. Still need to get that distribution deal sorted! Just…one…more…step…!

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