It’s been quiet. After major deadlines at my day job that meant a bunch of late nights and even more early mornings, several colds, and non-stop short film production, I’m now going to bed earlier. And sleeping more. And spending time not doing much as I prep for post-production on Socorro, the last short film of this year. It’s about a traveling musician in a semi-futuristic world in search of love and companionship (and his quest to take out a bad guy). Another of the 2014 shorts, Funcle, had its premiere on November 8th at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival and I’m sending it out to meet a few more submission deadlines. It’s about the two genderqueer buddies pictured above.
Although there are still a couple of months left in the year, it seems as good a time as any to check in—how did I do with this year’s resolutions?
- I made four shorts instead of six. This is fine by me. (Or, using active voice: I’m fine with this.) The four are Winter’s Eve, Athanasia, Funcle, and Socorro, and I had a private screening of the first three to a small group of good friends and my family. These were a blast to make and share. If nothing else happens with them I’m content. The main reason: throughout it all, along with the pressures of work, I battled a bout of mild depression and seem to have won. Note to creative types who get bogged down easily by life at moments: read, rest, eat well, take walks, drink tea, and get some sunshine.
- I’ve got two feature scripts in decent shape. Not perfect, but not bad. My major goal for next year is to pick one (not six) and run with it.
- I’ve been mentoring. As I mentioned in an April post, mentoring is so much more valuable than being a mentee. I’ve confirmed this as true. I’ve been guiding three actors on their quest to hone their skills, and although it’s a long process, I feel I’ve been able to provide the right amount of encouragement and guidance, as desired and requested by my mentees. A good start was casting them in my short films.
- I’ve lost track of my movie retreats. Being the mother of a two-year-old at age 45 is damn hard. What I’ve learned in this process: patience grows thinner as you get older, or perhaps during middle age. As I’ve said before: read, rest, eat well, take walks, drink tea, and get some sunshine. Do this with your two-year-old and it makes things a lot easier.
- I got out more! I’m happy to have made several new friends in 2014 (I hope you know who you are!). Life is good.
The gist of the above: despite Republicans now controlling Congress, bees dying, drone attacks, and bad things generally persisting, life and creativity go on for the artistically minded. Find time to relax. Then start all over again (at a slower pace, as needed).
You may be lucky—you may be one of the 8% of Americans who’ll actually make it through all of their 2014 resolutions. Cinemulatto wishes you the best of luck! I made a few of my own resolutions in January, so since the first quarter of 2014 is behind us, time to check in.
How are you doing with yours? Here’s where I am:
- Write and produce six original shorts around a theme. I’ve already downsized this to five shorts instead of six (let’s hear it for stretch goals). Still, production for one short is complete, editing is underway, and I’m in the middle of production for the second short. In the spirit of Zero Dollar Shorts, I might set an offshoot goal to post all of my undistributed films online for free. Please leave a comment if you’d like to see this happen.
- Complete five feature scripts (four rewrites and one new one). I think I’m on track with this one. One of the five screenplays has been submitted to a staged reading competition and the second is in review with a reader. It can happen!
- Find a mentor. I came to a conclusion: I don’t want a mentor. I want a mentee. To this end, I now have two aspiring actors who’ve decided to take my guidance and work toward roles in indie films. What better way to organize and solidify what I believe I’ve learned from 25+ combined years of drama and film experience? And what better way to force myself to know what the hell I’m talking about, and to make myself fill the gaps in knowledge I know I need to fill?
- Hold four “movie retreats”. I’ve done one retreat so far. Three to go.
- Get out more. I’m not doing so hot on this one, but I have been doing a healthy amount of socializing while I film, making this goal two-fold: also become known as someone who has a mellow film set, who’s there primarily to build community, have fun, and be creative. A passion should never be work.
I’ll do another check-in after June. I encourage you to do the same. Onward!
Cinemulatto has so many things that can potentially delay writing, reading, watching movies, and making movies: a day job, a partner, a teenager, a toddler. My loved ones aren’t “obstacles” because, well, they’re my loved ones. Still, having a full life takes work. Oh, and throw in the aging process. I just celebrated another birthday on December 30th. Contrary to personal belief, I’m not getting any younger. Energy often has to be finagled.
That said, I still hope to use every morning, lunch, and evening hour possible to meet a few film goals in 2014.
- Write and produce six original shorts around a theme. I’m almost done editing six shorts I shot on my DVX100B during 2010-2013, and I promised myself I’d be completely done before embarking on new projects on my Canon 7D. I figure I’m done enough. At the time of his passing in 1996, Krzysztof Kieślowski was working on a trilogy of feature scripts inspired by The Divine Comedy, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. My 2014 shorts will explore death and how people deal with it, whether it’s their own death or someone else’s. Hopefully not all of these will be big downers.
- Complete five feature scripts (four rewrites and one new one). I also have a few script drafts lying around, one completed as long ago as 2005. Time to dust ’em all off and make ’em strong! With any luck, I’ve gained some insight and additional skills over the last 8 years. The genres range from comedy to drama to crime thriller to musical comedy, so the process should be mostly a blast.
- Find a mentor. I have a few leads up my sleeve. Preferably, I’d love someone who’s been in the industry for decades and has had varying levels of success, and I know this will probably mean old white guy. I’m surrounded by a community of creative people who are very similar to me, so I’m looking forward to working with someone who, on the surface, I may not necessarily have a lot in common with. Building bridges, digging deep, learning new things!
- Hold four “movie retreats”. Take one day off work per quarter and devote it solely to watching whatever’s next on either my Netflix or general movie list. Turn off my phone. Take food and bathroom breaks as necessary.
- Get out more. Not only leave the house, but leave it after 7 PM and actually go out and meet people! My networking skills are rusty. Despite being forever the introvert, I can’t keep learning about myself and the movie world around me if I become a full-time recluse.
What are your film goals for 2014?