Making Movies

Do you ever have something weighing on your mind for what feels like forever? An item on your creative to-do list? An artistic task you desperately want to complete? That happens to me, too. Sometimes it takes accepting help to make moves. Or, in this case, to make movies. Over the weekend, with the help of a film goddess, we finally brought into reality the culmination of five months of magical thinking.

I can’t even express how good it felt. And how fun it was.

Here’s how it started. Five months ago, our project manager drew up a content schedule for us to loosely follow (that reminds me, I should look at it again…) and the first item on it, slated for the beginning of January, was ‘Factory Man Video’.

Factory Man video. A music video. Shawn and I had done our previous two music videos ourselves. And it was hard work. It had taken a lot of planning, communication, planning, shooting, editing. Did I say planning? And the whole time I felt like I didn’t really know what I was doing. We had plans. And we made it happen. But I had the sinking feeling both times that I was operating in a vacuum. What I really wanted was a creative collaborator who I could exchange ideas with. Someone one step removed.

So, for this new video on the schedule, we entertained every permutation of possibility. First, we thought we’d make it ourselves (like the other two), but we felt ill-equipped. Our camera is medium-quality, there are only two of us, and I was having a hard time coming up with ideas that felt right. And I really wanted this video to improve on the other ones.

One weekend in January, we powered through and made a video in one day. We took a few weeks to edit it. But, after weeks of working on it, it just wasn’t doing it for us. It felt… jenky. Unpolished. In a bad way. I showed our final product to my friend, a filmmaker, and she told me that it was terrible. She was right.

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a still from our failed attempt

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outside shots from our first (failed) attempt. Did I mention we shot these scenes in -4 degree weather?

So it was back to the drawing board. We tried to find local videographers. We corresponded with a Vermont firm (above budget); we contemplated renting a better camera and re-doing it ourselves; we even considered going out to LA for a weekend to make it. Meanwhile, months were passing. January, February, March, April. Still, the first item on our content list was unmade. It tormented me.

And then. Then our team had the best idea ever. They called me and ran it by me: to fly our Blue Elan digital content manager to us in NY for the weekend. Yes! That was the answer! I was overjoyed. I knew it was going to be really special. And it was.

When we planned it, the weekend felt so far away. And then it wasn’t. Then it was Saturday and I was on my way to get Dee, our content manager, from the airport!

It was a magical weekend in a million ways. We had such a good time bonding that making the music video was a bonus. And we didn’t just make one music video. We made two!

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shooting with Dee

It was just as I’d hoped. Having the perfect person there to share ideas with brought those ideas into reality. And they still had a touch of magic clinging to them from the magical places they’d come from. They glittered in the sun.

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this is my ‘how are you so amazing’ face

The process was so much fun. I love to make things. I love to collaborate. I love the feeling of bringing an idea to life. And when I feel a soul-connection to the person I’m working with, the whole experience is enhanced.

The first day of shooting, we made the first video. It was ambitious. And the final product was even more beautiful than I imagined. High off of that accomplishment, we woke up the next morning ready to make the next one. The Factory Man one. The one that had been hanging over our heads for five months.

The process of making this video was slower. It was almost like the creative block from the months of trying was carrying over into the making of it. We built an entire set outside. It took like five hours.

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Ham enjoyed the set.

We were all tired. Energy was flagging. We tried a few things. I was getting discouraged. And then Dee said to me, ‘it’s almost like the feelings you have about the Factory Man video are informing this video. Use it! Use those feelings. Use that energy. Let’s try it again!’

And that is when I realized what makes a professional. Going until you get it. That time, we got it.

And now we have two new music videos in the line-up! I’m so glad that I can stop worrying about ‘Factory Man.’ It almost feels unnatural to not be thinking about it. It was on my mental list for so long. But it’s done. And I can’t wait to share it. Both of them.

This experience was another reiteration of a lesson that I am learning over and over again – that it’s important, illuminating, nourishing, and uplifting to connect with other artists. To ask for help. And, when it’s offered to you, to take it.