Excuses, excuses, we all seem to have them for not being creative.
We justify our lack of progress with statements like, “It was raining,” but then never reschedule a re-shoot, or here’s a classic example of grade A bull malarkey, “I’ve just been really busy.” Busy doing what exactly? Do you have anything to show for this said busyness? No. Translation: I don’t care. The truth is most of us are content with hanging out with friends in our down time or lurking on the net for countless hours wasted. Sick of this mentality? Then fix it.
Now, I could be broadly speaking to any creative type, whether you’re a writer, a painter, a photographer, a dancer, a…chiropractor? (hey, some people are artful at breaking bones – see Ip Man), it doesn’t matter. But I am primarily speaking to filmmakers. You may think your film career is going to line itself up nicely before you now that you have a fancy degree in Film/Media Production from your liberal arts college, but the reality is unless you start shooting weddings or senior portraits ASAP, your cash flow is going to be redirected toward the gross amount of college debt you’ve accrued and not to the sweet lenses and new DSLRs you slaver about. If you have free time, there are no excuses for being inactive in your passions. And not to be preaching religion, but if you have gifts, or things in which you are inclined to exceed, it’s a disservice to your Maker (or yourself) if you don’t continually strive to enhance those fortes; it’s just sinful and sad to be “lazy” as Josh Bailey’s recent blog talked about.
Intention can come after attention.
So, grab your camera, or grab your mom’s ridiculously nice one (which she bought and probably has no clue how to use (ask first, of course)), or ask your friend that has one if you can borrow theirs, and go out and just film something. Anything. You don’t need actors, but if you have them, great, use them! Sometimes all it takes is to simply walk around and turn the thing on and ideas come rushing in, so you don’t have to have a clear intention of what you’ll be capturing on film. Sadly, most of the time, it doesn’t work this way. It can seem very pointless and defeating, but I can assure you it’s not. Even if one of your outings doesn’t turn up anything usable, you still succeeded in learning how to use your camera slightly more efficiently, and that’s making headway in my book. Love your camera, and it will start loving you back.
Take myself, for example, I get home from my day job and I’m utterly exhausted, but on my drive home, the image of two people dancing in the shallows of a lakeside at sunset pops into my mind. What do I do with that image? Let it stagnate? File it under the “That’s A Pretty Image” section of my mind’s dusty library? Abso-freaking-lutely not! I go home, call my friends up, this great couple I know, and tell them my vision and ask if they want to sacrifice some of their free time to help me film it. And what came of it? Well, we went down to the sound and filmed it at the last minute during the waning golden hour.
The point of this is to encourage you to grab those moments, and like initiating a new workout routine, you need to force yourself to do it. Do it whenever you can, and I promise you, you will see an improvement in your skills, and the production quality will go up tremendously. If you need help, ask for it. Here is a great place to start. That’s the whole purpose of Filmpunch – to share and grow together. I don’t have a formal education in film, but I can confidently say that those who seek experience by actually experiencing will have more to show at the end of the day than those who stew about being a professional and remain inert. With that, I leave you with my latest project that was a culmination of various random outings goaded by the many brief inspirational flashes that struck me at the most uninspiring moments, or in the hours I was content with being lazy, and I’m pretty pumped with how it turned out. Disclaimer: I am not a professional, but I am getting better, and that’s what just getting out there and making something does to you.
I couldn’t sleep one night and I was sitting in my office and I realized that I was an independent filmmaker.