I made a film. [Hold for applause and/or wanking motion] It is difficult to pinpoint a specific motivation beyond simply wanting to, an admittedly broad enough class in the taxonomy of desires to cover genera from “Iono” all the way to “why not.” Making the film was the means to an end which was making a film. Which is all really just to say: I didn’t have any grand designs re what to do once/if the film was completed. And so it remains. The problem with putting things off until the times come is that ultimately the time will come:
Notwithstanding a long, sad list of mistakes and regrets over limitations in equipment, time, experience, ability, and most everything else save perhaps moxie, and aided by enough distance to reflect on what was done properly and enough alcohol to forget the rest, I am fairly happy with the result. A masterpiece it is not, but there’s a lot on screen that I’m really proud of (blah blah blah), and it’s a pride dwarfed by (blah) the amount of fun (blah) I had in making it (blah). Banal clichés aside, once the smile of smug self-satisfaction relaxed into its usual scowl and the memories of laughs dimmed to vague recollections of something happening to someone somewhere, what was I left with? Seventeen minutes of playful whimsy viewed by no more than a few dozen friends (none of whom are my otherwise amazing and supportive and, apparently, extremely busy wife), a handful of festival rejections (another one happily came in while writing this!), and a lingering niggle of chagrin seem to be the more notable contents of my Me and I gift bag. The unfulfilled wish for the film to reach a wider, praise-lavishing, acolyte-turning audience not only sits as an embarrassingly vain disappointment unto itself but also compromises what I hoped would and should be a singularly satisfying accomplishment. My thoughts regarding the experience of making the film, of real achievement, are now intertwined with unpleasant feelings of unrequited longing, unfulfilled promise, and, weirdly, paradise lost. I have cast a pall on myself.
Assuming the drive to create was as pure as I want to believe, why must it now be sullied by a demand for attention often seen in your garden-variety mental patient? Part of it is functional in that some form of positive feedback would have facilitated or at least made making another film more likely, if not via wheel greasing of future cast and crew then by validating the push to carry on, to avoid filmmaking being added to the list of creative larks that shriveled malnourished and unattended to on the vine of my aesthetic life (see, e.g., my discarded standup career). But there’s another part of it that reeks of pure egoism. It’s probably normal, but I’m not sure it’s helpful. I did something I think is pretty great. Why can’t that be enough? And will it ever be? Will the drive to create lead me to do something even better, or will the fear and expectation of recognitional failure prevent me from even trying? These are important questions, and the answers are elusive.