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Old December 8th, 2011, 03:57 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Saint Cloud, Florida
Posts: 1,043
How you can get lost

I joined this forum almost 7 years ago. What a ride it has been. When I first caught the filmmaking bug I was using a hi8 camera and Premiere 4. In a very short time I was able to parlay my talent into gigs. My first gig had me filming stars like Vivica Fox, Charles Barkley, and many other semi-well-known celebs. My inventory of equipment went nuts. I went from a hi8 to a few Canon XL1Ses, Sony VX series, HVR series, light kits, audio kits, green screens, and a lot of unnecessary stuff. I'm not sure what my goal was at the time, I think it went something like "I want to work on films as a shooter or director or...."

After a couple years I was doing all sorts of paid gigs, Hoover Dam, Pop Warner, corporate videos, weddings, shows, music videos, and misc events - I was even doing DVC and UWOL challenges. It was never full time money but it was full time work along with my regular job. I was having a lot of fun but didn't seem to get any closer to my non-specific goal. We started making our own serious projects in an attempt to get "known". It was a blast and I'll never regret or forget it. But it was hard sometimes, very hard. The industry as a whole will chew you up and spit your soul to the ground. People flake, projects get cancelled, economy crashes, greed happens, and life changes.

My last project, almost a full year ago now, was cancelled for several reasons beyond my control. I wasn't happy at all. I spent many long hours pre-editing, filming, writing, building, etc. I spent a lot of money. It was to be the "one hit" we thought would get us noticed. Anyone who saw the concept trailers were truly amazed and excited...we even had a well known director looking at the script.

As time went on, more and more of the "crew" obtained lives or had changes in life that no longer included being a part of the crew. It sucks. I found myself completely alone after the film was cancelled. Then in the months after the "crash of the US economy" I found myself selling off equipment to survive. I went from probably $10k in equipment to about $700 - One very small camera and an edit machine. Full circle I guess you would call it.

Now I sit in front of empty drives and a dusty camera. The motivation and will are gone but my dreams and mentality is still very much there. I want to make a new project but I seem to have this mental block now. It's been nearly a year and my creativity is dry as a bone in the desert. I've become the couch potato I made fun of not a year or so earlier... Today, this very minute I've realized this and want to help anyone else (newbies or vets) with a similar story get past this.

I started a new job a month ago and a co-worker is going to film school... It is both awesome and sad at the same time for me. I want so much to have that feeling again. It is great to see someone else learn and go through what I went through. This is what brings me here to this forum, where I started so many years ago. I want that initial spark back. I want to de-jade. So take what you will from my story and bullet points below...add your own...

To not drive yourself mad:

1. Realize that you may NEVER get noticed or become some smash hit filmmaker but NEVER stop trying.

2. Don't get lost in the mechanics and equipment. Always rely on your story and how you will visually present it. Even the crappiest of equipment can still capture your heart and soul in a story.

3. Do it for the right reasons, not for the prospect of money or fame, but for the love of moving pictures and storylines.

4. Never commit to anything you have serious internal doubts about. You will screw yourself mentally and rob from someone else who can follow through.

5. Have specific goals to work toward.

6. It's okay to take a break, no matter how long, and reboot your life...

With that being said I am here now, full circle, trying to live the words I speak. Stella is trying to get her groove back dammit! Help me and others... and GO!
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Old December 8th, 2011, 04:43 PM   #2
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Re: How you can get lost

It's easy to get lost. You focus more on the on the mechanics than the process. I've "tunnel-visioned" many times on various projects, video and otherwise, and have set them aside when they became more a chore than a pleasure. You find yourself spread WAY too thin, like having to cover sound, lighting, and video at the same time, spending three hours the night before a shoot prepping and checking gear, loading in the early morning, driving to the location, doing a 12-hour day, then reloading, driving back, and unloading. Done that LOTS of times.

In a way, it's like backpacking, where you find yourself out in the cold rain, in a wet sleeping bag with blistered feet, and wondering why you put yourself through this AGAIN.

I've come to realize that it's a group effort, and a good working group makes all the difference. But breathing space is important as well. Take a step back and re-evaluate your situation. Nothing wrong with that.

Canon XF300, Canon 5DMkII, Canon XL2, Rolls MX422 mixer, Zoom H4N, AT899 lavs, AT2020's, Azden SGM 1X shotgun, Manfrotto 501 head on 351 tripod
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Old December 8th, 2011, 06:29 PM   #3
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Location: Camas, WA, USA
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Re: How you can get lost


Thanks for presenting your story. I get the feeling that this post is part of the process of getting back into the game.

I'm curious... did you do this from a home base in Arizona or did you try your luck in LA?

Best of luck, whatever your next steps may be!
Jon Fairhurst
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Old December 8th, 2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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Location: Satellite Beach, Fl
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Re: How you can get lost

It can be like this with anything in your life. After 2,000 plus skydives and several runs at a national championship, I stopped jumping. I was wasting my time and money as well as my teammates. Like you said, never be afraid to step back and reboot. I do this with my video work as well. In my day job, I'm the boss and responsible for the entire project. When I go out and do side projects I make sure I'm not the boss and will not go near the role. It helps me learn from those around me, lets me get perspective on what I put my guys thorough on a daily basis, and refreshes me and lets me just relax and concentrate on one aspect of the craft for a while.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 01:07 AM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
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Re: How you can get lost

With video production, if you can't differentiate the difference between work and play while on the job, you'll be successful. If creating videos is a burden for you, you'll fail. It's really that simple.
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Old December 19th, 2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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Re: How you can get lost

I think it's important on #4 to tell the difference between serious and non-serious doubts. Everyone is going to have doubts at some point in a project-- many of us will have them at MANY points in the project. Sometimes you just have to tell that little voice in your head that keeps saying you suck to shut up so you can get back to work.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
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Re: How you can get lost


Sorry to hear about your hardship. as someone who went to film school 20 years ago and has never really made full-time money doing this work, I have a bit of advice. If you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.

Work a day job, and work your creative stuff in your spare time. pick projects that you have a passion for.

I remember day one of film school. An insightful instructor told us...'all a film-maker really wants, is an audience.;' that really stuck with me over the years. And now with the democratization of broadcasting via Youtube (it wasn't always like this!), you can reach literally millions of viewers.

And I realize that you probably had to sell off your stuff, and fortunately it's cheap to start up again. But selling your gear is like a carpenter selling his hammer and tools. They are the tools of your trade. There is work out there if you believe in yourself and what you're doing.

You only fail when when you stop trying. Like Winston Churchill said... "Never give in"

All the best!
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 10:12 AM   #8
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Saint Cloud, Florida
Posts: 1,043
Re: How you can get lost

@John - I've been in AZ the whole time. LA is an expensive dream for me.

Thanks to all responding here. It's a tough ride when all you hear from folks is how talented you are yet you cannot make that talent equate to much. This time around I'm going for a style that is nothing like anything I've done before. If I enjoy it. So be it. That's it and that's all. No more feverishly chasing the same dream 20 million others are hounding for. I'll make my own.
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