it’s a wrap… sigh

Yes, I know it’s cliche. Forgive me.

This past weekend was crazy, stressful, exciting, tiring, sweaty, and truly productive. We shot and wrapped my film company’s first production. A short film, some might even call it a skit. I call it a milestone. I was sure up until the day of that something would go awry and we’d have to cancel it. And with the one exception of a missing piece of equipment, it went off without a hitch!

Yes, friends. I am in that post-production (but not yet post production!) glow, and now it’s time to kick my social media campaign into gear. With that said, here are some key links I hope you all check out and decide to follow:

http://www.facebook.com/dancingwombatproductions

http://www.vimeo.com/dancingwombatproductions

http://www.instagram.com/dancingwombatpr

http://www.twitter.com/dancingwombatpr

By the way, my company name is Dancing Wombat Productions. šŸ™‚ Why? Well… the short answer is I like wombats. Look them up. They’re odd and adorable and can probably claw your face off if you’re not careful. The longer answer is that the “Dancing” part of the name is a dedication to a friend of mine who died not long ago. She had dreams and hopes, and we worked together briefly on helping each other pursue those dreams and hopes. I never want to forget her, and I want my efforts with my company to help honor her.

Finishing principal photography on this project is the culmination of months of work, despair, wallet-emptying, and steppingĀ way outside my comfort zone. I made a lot of connections with people I never thought I’d meet. A talented and easygoing director. Fantastic actresses. A jack-of-all-trades musician and production crewer. And other people have supported me in this endeavor in so many ways. My mother, various friends, even some co-workers. There are so many people who deserve credit, without whom I would never have gotten to this point.

Hah. This is starting to sound like an acceptance speech at an awards show, isn’t it? Alright.

This whole thing is all the crazier considering the writing projects I have going on at the same time. My work on my manuscript is being taken to the next level with a very skilled editor. Plus I’m working on another manuscript I hope to self-publish sometime this year. It’s been such an uneven month for me. I’m a pretty impatient person, and sometimes it’s felt like I haven’t been doing anything or getting anywhere. And there’s plenty of areas in my life where that is still the case. But in this one area, this creative area, I’m beginning to see results and I can barely believe it. Of course there’s so much more work to do on this first project alone, but… no one can ever tell me I haven’t done anything ever again.

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paying your dues

You’ve heard the expression. But do you always know what it means?

It’s usually pretty obvious. Don’t expect to start at the top. Everybody starts at the bottom. This is common wisdom my mom has repeated to me more times than I care to admit. She most frequently brings it up when we talk about me finding a really good job. And I guess, for a lot of jobs, this is true and fully to be expected. It’s unreasonable to hope to be hired on as the VP of… whatever. Oh, there are exceptions, of course. There are always exceptions.

And there are jobs that this sort of thinking doesn’t necessarily apply. Like mine, for example. I admit, there’s no realĀ trick to becoming a published writer or produced screenwriter (actually, I think there are some secrets that help with the latter), and I’m not talking about achieving Rowling, Patterson, or King success. There doesn’t seem to be any particular process to follow. A writer writes, then endeavors to sell said writing, then (hopefully) sells it, and umm… gets paid. šŸ™‚

It’s not an especially complicated, climb-the-corporate-ladder sort of career. To be a published writer. (The publishing industry is a little different, of course, and that’s for another time.) For a while now… weeks, months, (years?), I’ve been sort of marching in place in between steps. Writing? Done. Try to sell it? Umm… not… so… much… yet. But I know what to do next, and the only thing in my way right now is me.

But I also want to work in film. That’s my ultimate goal. And that’s much trickier. There are many ways in. Most, however, involve the concept of paying your dues. Hoping to be hired as a director for a multi-million dollar feature film your first time out is not something you should count on. Even hoping to be hired as a director for a no-budget indie is a stretch–though more realistic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it for yourself. Work for yourself, as my mom puts it. Produce your own film. Raise the money yourself–or with a partner or team or whatever. Maybe even direct it, if you’re the best choice. Many of my film school classmates have gone on to do just that. One in particular, Joshua Overbay, recently completed work on a film titledĀ As It Is in Heaven (not to be confused with the 2004 Swedish film of the same name), and by all accounts it’s very impressive. How did he achieve this? Undoubtedly, a ridiculous amount of hard work and perseverance. Another classmate has just launched a web series calledĀ Movie Night, and while I haven’t yet seen it, I hope and expect itĀ to be extremely entertaining. There are others, and it both encourages me and fills me with just aĀ teensy bit of film-envy. And impatience. (Like why can’t I do that? Well, I probably couldĀ if I set my mind to it.)

It’s no small task to set out to do something like that. And even in a way, it does involve paying your dues. But not in the way I’m used to thinking of it. To me, paying your dues just means to prepare yourself for the long haul. This will not happen quickly, and it will not be easy. It may not even be all that “fun” sometimes. And maybe that’s what it means, ultimately, to pay your dues. Get ready to work hard.