You know, every day I think about filmmaking, and I have some wacky distinction that changes the way I perceive things.
The crazy thing about filmmaking is that it’s one of the only artforms in which you have to really get out of your comfort zone to practice.
I mean, you want to learn to play tennis, you get out on the court and you start hitting balls. You want to learn physics, you get in a classroom and get studying. You want to learn to drive a car, you get in a car and start figuring it out.
Okay, the last one was a slightly bad example.
A SHIFT IN THINKING
The point is that filmmaking requires a massive shift in the way you think in order to learn it – you’ve got to force yourself out of your comfort zone. You’ve got to really make that effort in order to practice even just the basics.
Tennis requires just getting onto a court. The basics would be hitting some balls lightly. The basics of physics will require some books. Driving a car, simply getting in one and having someone teach you the basics of the pedals and what they do.
But to practice the basics of filmmaking? You’ve got to actually find at least some money in order to shoot. To interact with a film camera using even the basics can seem like a lengthy step compared to pulling out that book and studying, or hitting that court for tennis lessons.
So this isn’t to belittle other endevours and the trials and tribulations that people go through to achieve success with these various pursuits.
You only need to watch the any collection of days from the two weeks of Wimbledon any year to see just how mentally strong a tennis player has to be!
I just wanted to illuminate the struggle of learning filmmaking from the ground-up. Finding the funds to get any sort of project off the ground is something many of us struggle with.
If only it was something we could practice on our own in order to get really good, we’d have exceptional filmmakers everywhere! Whereas the physicist, the tennis player and the wannabe driver can practice on their own, the filmmaker-to-be needs real life expensive cameras on which to practice!
HOW TO GET OUT THERE AND REALLY IMPROVE
So I’ve been trying to get out and shoot something four times a week. Anything. Maybe there’s not a desperate need for an expensive camera.
The field is king in this game. Once a week isn’t enough.
Too many people just do the weekend thing. I know their on job commitments and family commitments and all the other commitments, but there’s a way to find time for all this. You make time rather than find time. It’s there if you want it.
Can’t find time to shoot in the day due to work commitments? How about the night? The night will suffice. Just stick up your china ball lights (very cheap, afterall) and you’re good to go!
This weekend thing, it loses your flow. Really. Even if you have a good weekend, by the time the next Saturday rolls around, you’ve lost all the momentum you worked so hard to achieve the week before!
It needs to be hardcore and sustained practice to create the snowball of progress we all desire to get really good at this stuff.
Here are some ideas:
- Four nights a week. At least.
- Get a journal. Write in that journey about your progress after every shoot/experiment/mess around with a camera session. Write down everything and anything.
- Get a blog like this one. Talk about your successes and failures – exagerrate them if you like, but talk about your progress.
That’s the main thing here – you need to get in touch with your creativity and then analyse it creatively afterwards. That’s powerful.
That’s a journal or note taking session after every day of handling a camera. Every experience should be charted and examined. Even if you’re not posting all your experiences on the net, having a journal is really useful.
Not only can you go back and look at it months on to see just how far you’ve come, but you can chronicle your current ideas and experiments so that you know where you’re at!
ABOVE ALL IT’S THE PROCESS
It’s the process. I think you’ve got to love the process. When you have a bad day (and I’m not just talking about filmmaking here) and you go home feeling down and wanting more for yourself, you have to LOVE the process in order to be free. To pick yourself back up. To continue.
You have to do it for the process, become enamoured with just doing it mechanical like as a constant series of shifting states.
No state is permanent. You’ll see many many changing states in your journey.
But you have to rely on the process. Trust in the process. Know that even if you have a bad day that, a rejection, a lapse of focus; it’s all part of your plan, your longterm plan to get really good. That you have tomorrow and the next day, not to mention the next week and month, to make up for that bad day!
The field may be king, but the process…the process is princely!
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO STATE
What the heck is a state!? I talk about it a lot on this site.
As far as I can see, state (as I use it in this form) was brought to the forefront of the self-development community by Richard Bandler and John Grinder (the co-creators of NLP) in the 1970s.
I use state in my writings to reflect the state of mind that one’s in – be it positive or negative.
Sportsmen know all about state. That golfer who hits a terrible shot off the tee and then has to take the long walk to where his ball now lies…he knows all about state. He can walk through the baying throng of fans and keep his composure ready to take on the next shot. He clears it out of his mind. That’s state. That’s powerful!
I see my state as twisting and ever-changing these days. I’ll have the odd day when I feel down about something, but I see it as part of the masterplan of sorts. It can’t get to me. It will soon fade into the positive state that is shortly following it.
Just like seeing through the matrix of the world all around us, I start to see patterns emerging all around. I’ve begun to see these same pattern repetitions in my states.
It’s important to realise that your next great state is only a thought away. And that’s no new age mumbo jumbo. We are what we think and we can change it at any time!
This is key.
It’s late and these are my current thoughts on self development and filmmaking. I realise this may be a little esoteric and some readers may wonder where I’m coming from with all this. But hopefully people who are actually out in the field of endeavor can relate to this and pull something from it.
It’s good to have an outlet for attempting to describe thoughts and personal breakthroughs.