Oh sometimes I just can’t help but stick my foot in it. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should just let things go. I should just let people have their little rants and mind my own business but sometimes – well, most of the time…okay almost all of the time, I can’t help myself.
I have this overpowering need to just give people a piece of my mind. And it does not come from a healthy place. It comes from a co-dependent mothering, narcissistic lecturing, highly evolved – or so, in the moment, I let myself believe – prophesizing kind of way.
Alright, so here is the low down. I watched the spawn of our weekend of collaboration as sent to me by the director of my 48 Hour Film Project project. He cc’d the rest of the folks involved and I spent the day fending off emails from irate 22 year olds.
I realize that I am being completely patronizing here but it is with a smile on my face and because I think all of us have to go through this process. I cannot count how many films, plays or projects I have been involved in where I have flipped my shit because either I thought they were going to suck or because they did in fact suck.
There was a nasty incident during a high school production of the Crucible in which I essentially went over the deep-end on and off stage and no one chose to enlighten me until after the run. In the future people, a little heads up would be nice.
But I digress - although not too far, as my acting in this piece was not too far of a leap from my disastrous attempt at Puritanism.
All of this to say no was too happy with the result of the project. And while I suppose it is kind of a violation of privacy I am going to share a snippet or two of the emails I received.
“Have you SEEN the monster we have created? It's up on youtube. And it is every bit our worst fears come to life…. I have absolutely no desire to see this again on youtube, let alone a big theater screen. So unless by some miracle he decides to do the responsible thing and not turn this thing in for the screening, I will not be attending.”
“It's the type of stuff the other groups will look at and be able to take comfort in knowing they did a better job. The type of stuff sure to garner copious amounts of eye rolling throughout the theater. The type of stuff you watch and feel embarrassed for the people involved. I've seen it happen before. I guess I am mad at myself that I didn't see it coming, mostly.”
“In a nutshell, its the type of stuff that, when I started getting into this stuff, I would think to myself "At least I'll never be involved in something like THAT." Cause this type of shit is all the same. Its always the same slow pans, the same longing sideways glances, the same contrived misery. Its all the same. This is the type of shit you hope you never have to watch again after your INTRO to Media Production class. I'm sorry I'm getting really long winded hear. I apologize if you read all of this.”
And so I wanted to just let it go. I really, really did. But then there was this part of me, the part whose big ass was in 95% of those shots and was fully aware of their contrived misery that just wanted to tell the kid to lighten up. We aren’t vying for an Oscar for Christ sake! We were making a Fantasy film utilizing a rubber band for a prop, a character of Aunt Erma and the line of dialogue, “So what’s your story?” Seriously, how good did we think it was going to be? We had no script, the director passive aggressively let one of two cast members go after we filmed the first scene and we were all hung over as hell. Probably not the best conditions for making a great movie.
But I didn’t say that. I said this –
Listen. It is what it is. Yes some people hate it but (Unnamed Dude) – and I say this in the kindest way as I can – Dude, you are rife with negativity.
It was an experience and you hadn't made a movie in a while and you did. There is joy in that. You finished SOMETHING. Whether or not it ended up the way you envisioned it, you finished it.
My god it was an experiment- we knew that going in.
In all honesty, is it the way I prefer to work – no. Do I think my acting was good – no. Did I enjoy every minute of the process – no. But it is ART people. It is a gamble and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to but if you can’t take pride in the moments you do enjoy, if you can’t learn something from the process then you aren’t an artist and you most definitely don’t have a chance at a career because you will be angry and burnt up and spent before you had a chance to find your voice.
As far as the whole it should be burned thing – Fuck it. Show it. Let people come to their own decisions. If they hate it then you will be validated in your disgust and if they find something in it then there is another learning experience – an opportunity to see that even in a mess some people can find beauty.
And at the end of all this the one thing I can say is that IT WAS A 48 HOUR FILM FESTIVAL. We weren’t out to save the world guys. I am a professional and even I get that it was a game. It was supposed to be fun. Maybe (Unnamed Fired Actress) with her heaving chest had the right idea. She might have been a little much but it was a positive energy and that is something from which we could all probably benefit.