I believe that creative energy is wild. It ebbs and flows and we get stuck when we try to tame it, so I'm trying to take my own advice and follow where this playful energy of mine seems to want to go. Will I write some more about creativity and our need to play and explore? Probably. Do I need a break from that at the moment? For sure.
I've spent the last couple of months making the shift from writing about making stuff to actually making stuff, and it feels SO GOOD. One of the first things on my list was to edit my first short film, Ready for Lou, that I made with my partner, Dave Bergstrom. I wrote the script last summer, we shot it in the fall, and I just edited it last month.
I've wanted to be in a movie since I was six years old and though I live in Boston and can audition for student, indie, and occasional feature films, I'll be honest: most the of the stories aren't compelling and the characters don't appeal to me. I can't tell you how many films still center around the boy meets girl plot line or how many casting calls describe the leading female as "gorgeous" and/or require nudity. Don't get me wrong, I love a good love story, but in 2019, it feels disheartening to still see so many movies, particularly short, indie projects that still promote outdated stereotypes and rely on romance centered stories.
I desire to play characters who felt like the very real, incredibly nuanced human beings I am privileged to know in my own life and to explore real questions that I struggle with each day. I waited for someone to offer me the role I wanted, and as with most things in life, it never showed up.
I was shy for so long about making the first film because I was afraid it wouldn't be perfect. I feared that the finished product wouldn't be as shiny and snappy and powerful as the version I saw in my imagination. This perfectionism kept me from making a movie for a long time. Somehow I thought if I could avoid doing the thing I really wanted, I would haven't to be disappointed when it fell short.
But see, the thing is that here's no way to fast track your learning process and skip over your first try at something and go straight to being an expert.
There's no way for your first try at anything to not fall short on some way.
When's the last time you tried something brand new, whether it be paddle boarding or making a new-to-you pasta dish, and declared "Well, this turned out exactly like I'd hoped it would. No improvements necessary!"
Never? Yeah, me either.
If you're waiting to make your movie (or paint that landscape or knit that sweater) until you know what you're doing, you'll never going to be ready. You'll avoid having a beginner's version of your long-dreamed of creation and you'll also sacrifice any joy that you might experience by going for it. The price of pleasing your perfectionism is quite costly. You must be willing to trade joy for never having to feel awkward or scared. I used to be willing to make this trade so much of the time with so many things in my life, but I'm less willing to do this. Life is short, embarrassment won't actually kill you, and we owe ourselves the chance to see what we might do with the time and talent we have.
Making the six year old version of your thing can be scary and embarrassing and make you feel like you're a wobbly kid again, but the only way to get through your first time making something is to go ahead and make the first thing. And once you make that first thing, you might just be surprised at the permission you feel to go ahead and make the second. And the third. The first movie felt like a lot of pressure. But once you make the thing and prove to yourself that you can do it, you might just feel a little more free to try the next thing.
Head over to YouTube to watch Ready for Lou. I'm so grateful to Dave for being my partner in this experiment, as well as Renee Miller and Alyson Muzila, two wonderful actresses who took a chance on this first try. I'm so excited to share this with all of you!