A year ago if you had told me that right this minute I would have a film that I made by myself, that I sent out in the world, that it had been screened on both coasts of the US, in giant multiplexes, had just been in a fine art division of a fest in Germany, and was about to be screened in Dallas and the next day, freaking Hollywood... that it had even won two filmmaking awards, and was up for further adventures, I would have laughed at you. And then taken a breath and laughed some more and said something like, “Oh, you stinker!"
Ridiculous goals if I’d had them, but I didn’t.
But then it kind of happened like this: I didn’t start with a film in mind at all. I started with a goal of writing a sonatina and it just kept growing. I ran with it! I finished it! ...giddy not to have to answer to or wait for anyone else’s schedule, input or approval... but moreover, its theme of ADD practically gave me an imperative to hyper focus on it all by myself.
If I wasn't already an outsider locally, I’m sure setting myself up to be one. How dare I go rogue and presume to call myself a director, a cinematographer, an editor, and everything else that has joined “Composer" on my imdb page? Not to freaking mention, performing violin after just picking it up two years ago? "Just who do you think you are, and what do you think you're doing?!?" demand all of the completely imaginary voices of my colleagues, alternately snickering and yelling, which may or may not reflect any of their feelings in real life. Well, I'm a composer, who is also visual. I think I'm doing a tiny project all the way through to learn a bit of perspective about the whole process... right up to and extending into film festivals and hopefully a good entry path into a distribution model.
I entered a ton of festivals in lottery mode, knowing that odds are notoriously slim. Mainly it was to push myself far beyond that always-referred-to “comfort zone” to thicken my skin and inure myself against failure. And now each time I see another “Not Accepted" in my inbox, I completely agree with it. Yeah! You're right! I totally get it. Ha, I can't believe I even submitted it! And it really does suck to have to be judge and give people bad news, I feel for you. And it was close to final deadline and you probably had nowhere left you could put it, or it didn't fit what you're doing. Also maybe it just sucks! And then I move on.
But also, when the occasional “Accepted" comes in, I completely agree with that, too. Yeah! You're right! Isn't it awesome? Especially since I did it myself... but you probably don't even know that unless you read all my project blurbs, right? So it's kind of double plus awesome, isn't it! We are global artistic community and we are the luckiest people in the world.
Then I move on… no. Disagreement has to have its turn with both of them as well. To the acceptances, I say all kinds of terrible things in my head, the nicest of which is Oh, honey, is this not sub-par? To the rejections, I say, Well, you probably didn’t see the latest version or didn’t read the cover letter or didn't watch it or whatever, so what.
And THEN I move on. All of this self talk zooms by faster and faster, by the way.
Is my audacious plan of inuring myself to failure working? Yes, I’m certain of it! Is it making me question reality? Yeah, a little bit.
Meanwhile, I’m digging into a new concept: division of labor!