Never put off to tomorrow… what you can do today. This is my personal philosophy. Nobody escapes mortality. If you want something bad enough… go after it.
Tomorrow, I have the wonderful opportunity to speak to fresh film school grads, and this has caused me to reflect a great deal. What possible advice can I give… when things are changing so rapidly? The old barriers are gone, and yet, new ones surface.
How do you keep going? How do you stick to your guns, your passion… when the logical thing to do… would be to give up?
Yes, this post goes a little dark. And a little self-indulgent. Forgive me, but this is my blog after all. ;)
We recently wrapped shooting a short film that I wrote, co-directed, and co-produced. It was very much a labour of love. And while I’m fond of telling people that the reason I made this film… was because I was just fed up with the industry and wanted to just DO SOMETHING. That would be slightly disingenuous.
Yes, last summer I was fed up. I really didn’t feel like waiting around for what… 5… 10 years to have a piece of my writing produced? I really did just want to do it. Just make something. Film something.
If this was going to be the last thing I was going to do in this industry, I really wanted to come away with a piece of work that I could be proud of.
But this wasn’t the complete reason.
Truthfully, I’m a big believer in the notion that life is too short.
What are you waiting for?
Nobody’s going to hand it to you. You’re going to have to seize it.
Last year, I had a bit of a health scare. Relax, it’s not as bad as you think! And on a scale of 1 to worst things you can have, it’s really not bad. It was more the not knowing part. And if you’re wondering why you haven’t heard this before, that’s because I virtually told nobody outside of my family.
I’m telling this as a lesson to you all. Be mindful of what your body is telling you. Don’t ignore it. Like I did.
I had been having symptoms since the spring, but chalked it up to stress. Hey, not knowing where your life is going? Combined with the fact that I was doing the CTV Diverse Screenwriters Program at the time. Yeah, a wee bit stressed.
Finally, I bit the bullet and went to the doctor in late summer. It took a couple of weeks to find out why the tests were abnormal… and as I said… nothing to worry about. I actually feel fine, and compared to several of my friends who battle with their own conditions– ones that really affect their quality of life– I’m really not complaining.
Long story short… life is short. My frustration combined with this mortal fear were really the major factors… the catalyst… if you will… for pushing forward, pushing to do this film, and refusing to give up.
So last fall, I dived in. I completely dedicated myself to working on this film, while trying to balance looking for work and continuing to write. Though, I have to admit. The best form of procrastination from writing? Making a film… hahaha.
And I’m very proud of my team for all they accomplished over the Easter weekend. We made a film that we can all be proud of, and while I would love to think that I would’ve pushed to do it ordinarily… I know that mortality played a big part in slapping me in the face. Hard.
Especially now, as I see my parents growing older, and witnessing the struggles of close friends and peers, nothing has solidified things more for me.
This is worth doing. The arts are a noble pursuit. And I would be happy to spend the rest of my life doing this.
It’s not an easy path. And for all those new film school grads, I’m sure some will luck out right out of the gate, while others will drift about… lost… as I often felt… and still do feel.
But what I’ll tell them tomorrow… is that it’s worth it.
Why spend your life doing anything less… than what you know you were meant to be doing?
Now, four after graduating, I do feel more settled. More at peace.
I pushed myself to the limits of what I thought I could do. And it was hard. Very hard. But at the end of the day, I think I reached a state of… catharsis. Yes, let’s call it that.
I set a goal for myself. And with the help and support of so many glorious friends, supporters, and family, we did it. We made a film.
And so can you.
Blood. Sweat. And tears.
The only way it’s done!
Soldier on, my friends.