Filmmaking, Like Life, is a Journey David May 27, 2014 Columns, Critical Information, Featured, Film The most important part of life is purpose. “What am I doing in life?” is the question everyone asks themselves every week in bed when they have no purpose. When you do have a purpose, you only value it by success, often leading someone to lie in bed asking what are they doing in life, when success doesn’t come fast enough, is fleeting, or is marginally tangible. As a filmmaker, our success is built on workmanship, and the creative and financial response to said films. It leads to many filmmakers feeling despondent even though they are doing careers most others would kill for. The great philosopher Alan Watts gave a speech talking about the path of humans in life. We’re taught to go to school, progress until we get a degree, get a job, then at forty a sweeping wave of disappointment because life structure is built like a musical composition, but without the crescendo. The point Watts meant to make is that the journey is meant to be appreciated, instead of focusing on the end. We’re supposed to enjoy every step of the way since time is indeed passing by and as it progresses, our attachments to what make us uniquely individualistic begin to suppress. As a filmmaker the journey to even getting one film made can last a life time. The endless finance calls, cast rehearsals, set meetings, distribution events, festivals, and release dates makes each film feel like a marathon, and each step being a goal toward getting to the next instead of a journey to be admired. You base your success on something arbitrary like what other people think of what you did. For hundreds of years people thought America was by China, why are we judging how we view a movie and its thematic subplots on what a handful of people think of it? While that’s truly important for financial success, that’s not the only success you garner when entering filmmaking. I would imagine every filmmaker has a movie that made them catch the “bug.” Mine was The Empire Strikes Back when I was eleven. I saw that Super Star Destroyer come in from a commercial break, then Darth Vader talking to the bounty hunters and I was HOOKED, man. No turning back. When I failed out of school at 21, I asked myself what I was going to do with my life. It came back to that ship. I failed at doing something for money, something everyone else told me I was good at. I had to choose something I was good at. In the end it was Film and I never looked back. As we work on pre-production of several movies, I can’t focus on the end date, because I’ll never have a chance to go through this process again. Neither will anyone else, as each step takes us further away from when we started. The goal is always the same. What is my purpose? It doesn’t matter if you chose film or not the path is the same. You can’t get bogged down on what has or has not happened yet. You can’t be focused on what other people are doing, they are not you and their destination is not your journey. You need to remind yourself of everything you experienced every week when you lay in bed. What are you doing with your life? The answer is yours. The composition is the same, it’s up to you to listen to the music playing. Lights, Camera, Action.