I recently wrote and registered my very first feature screenplay (eeks!). It’s an absurdest, comedic noir. The main character, Margaret Mathewson, already has a twitter handle (@MsMatthewson). I registered with the WGA, it’s pending with the patent office right now, and I sent myself a copy. I’ve been sending copies to a few friends of mine who may help me produce it.
But I’ll be honest. I have no idea what to do next.
I know it needs money. Real money this time. I want this script to be done right and I’m tired of calling in favors from all my creative friends. Of course I’m grateful to even have creative friends who I can call in favors from… but I want this sucker to be done right. I want to be able to pay people so they bring their A-game. I want to be able to pay myself at least a little so I can spend more time concentrating on creating a great product rather than doing it in my (spare) free time.
Like I said, I want it done right.
And like I said, I have no idea what to do next.
But here’s the thing. I like not knowing what I’m doing. I like a good challenge. I like to be out of my comfort zone. And I like learning.
So I’ve done the only thing I can do… set up an action plan and a list of goals and start. I’ve got a list of books that I know are helpful to learn independent film production. I know some resources on the web that I can look up to learn how to learn more about film production. I can ask around and reach out to people. I have a goal for when I want to start production on this thing. And it’s coming up. Which means I have to figure out how the hell I’m gonna get the money to do it.
But I’ve done this before. Many times. So this is just another one of those times. I know it’ll take a lot of steps and a lot of hard work and a lot of uncomfortable moments where I’m out of my element and a lot of note-taking and reaching out and learning.
And I can’t wait.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a movie to figure out how to produce.
I had an epiphany a couple weeks ago.
I was sitting in my bed with my computer watching Netflix. I had a hankering for some classics so I watched “The General” by Buster Keaton.
And here’s the thing… I laughed. A lot. That shit was hilarious.
And it boggled my mind. Not that I was laughing at a comedy movie (after all, that’s what they’re for). But the fact that I was laughing at something a man created almost 90 years ago. The humor and expressions were so classic and so human and so real and so identifiable that I was entertained. I was entertained even though it was shot with technology barely more advanced than the fossils I see in history museums compared to what we have now. It made me laugh despite the fact that the civil war themes feel so far gone and not something I can readily identify with anymore. It made me laugh despite the fact that there was no spoken dialogue.
It was magical.
And I realized that’s what I want to do. I want to tell stories that can long outlast me. I want to connect people through laughter. I want to make people feel more human through simple storytelling and honest reactions. I want to become a part of the very fabric of our culture through art that people for generations can be entertained by.
I don’t know much about Buster Keaton’s personal life. I don’t know what his daily struggles were. I don’t know how much debt he had or what he was thinking while filming “The General.” I don’t know how stressed he was or the hardships he faced. I get to see his body of work. And it’s still entertaining and funny.
That’s what I want. Not to worry about the stresses or the frustrations except what I can learn from them. To be a good and balanced person that can do her best work and be present and enjoy it. And to actually do the work. Good work. Quality work. And lots of it. So that someday, when a person 90 years in the future is curling up on their floating space bed and using their internal brain-scan chip to surf the internet, they could stumble upon something I created. And be entertained by it. And feel more connected to humanity through connecting to creations of the past.
Whoa. Like… deeeeeep, man.