#33 – A Juggling Act

Last week I released a new post. Admittedly it had a deliberately provocative title because I had grown noticeably delusional with the internet and how I had been using it to promote my work – and how it treated me, and other creatives, in return.

One particular statement seemed to resonate with quite a few readers – I didn’t realise people actually read this blog apart from Neil James! That sentiment was that Facebook posts about boobs, food or political statements get more ‘attention’ than a film I post. Now, I can understand the misunderstanding, but I just wanted to clear up my thoughts a bit. I’m not at all suggesting that my film is bad, or that pictures of food are more entertaining (perhaps they are!), but rather, Facebook/Twitter are not the best places to release a film – especially for free. I am not, or nor will I ever be, reliant on views or likes to validate my work, or how I feel about the films I make. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be spending so much time and effort on them. I guess the ‘endless disappointment’ comes from the realisation that I am still very far off where I need to be as a filmmaker. Releasing a short film online has become largely pointless for me because of how fleeting it all is, and I want to make work that has a better relationship with its audience. In this case, the old way is still the best – in my opinion. But having said that, the internet has done a lot for me. It has put me in touch with hundreds, if not thousands, of people I would never have communicated with ten years ago – and most of those people watch and support my work regularly. Without the internet, who knows, maybe I’d be making my films with only a handful of people ever seeing them. So it’s neither here nor there. I was just making a point that I have to figure out a different way to release my films – I’ve released nine short films online now (for free) and I can’t keep doing it. Simple really.

Having said that, in little over two weeks, The Missing Hand has had over 1000 views, which is a great achievement considering how long it took my other films to reach that milestone. Again, I don’t rate my work on how many views it has had, but rather, it’s nice to know people are watching it, and largely, enjoying it. I’ve had lots of positive feedback, and people seem to ‘get it’, which is always a relief. The sense I get from completing a film (the final stage) is one similar, I would assume, to letting your child leave home. It’s out there now, and there is not much else I can do apart from wish it well.

I’m struggling to find time to edit Punch Bag at the moment. I could be doing it now rather than writing this post, but it’s a Thursday and I start work on False Witness tomorrow – a feature I have a crew role on by the same team who made Three Acts, and I don’t want to get into Punch Bag, realise a problem or know where or what edits I need to do, but won’t have the time till next Monday to fix it – those three days would be genuinely hellish! So I’ve made the decision to do other work and leave it alone for another week. I do have an assembly edit now, and I have been working on the music for Man In A Suit, so I’m entirely to blame for my lack of urgency with it. I am definitely more at ease with my ‘way’ of editing a project – it seems I do have a very routined avoidance of it until suddenly I’ll smash it out in a week. I thought I had got over that stage and actually started the smashing, but then a bunch of paid work come up, and anything you’re doing for yourself has to take a backseat with dollar is involved (unfortunately). One of the other tasks getting in the way was writing a feature script called Brick Wall. I managed to do that in a week, which was good – it now exists in some readable form, which I’m happy about. It was always my intention for Brick Wall to be my first feature film, but another idea The Cult of Nigel has taken over – the reason being is that we are aiming to produce The Cult of Nigel without a budget, whereas I’d need some cash for Brick Wall. So I’ve been making plans to launch a fundraising campaign for years (perhaps you’ve noticed the hints recently?), and it was just about to happen (6 weeks away) when I realised that it was best that we postponed it, yet again, till next year. And honestly, it may never happen, who knows? But now I am going to concentrate all my free time on prepping The Cult Of Nigel and finishing Punch Bag – that is still somewhat difficult when you consider that I’ve just relaunched my showreel business and I start work on a feature in April – so, it’s still a juggling act. But it’s all part of the fun, right?

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