I got a call from my lead actor today saying he wouldn’t be able to film at all this week. The extended deadline for the TriMedia Film Festival is at the end of the week, meaning we’ll either have to scrap the movie altogether or complete it later this summer.
For the first few minutes, I was livid. I spent a ton of time working on this, as did all my friends that are helping out. We had been writing the story for a couple weeks, then spent about 25 hours total working on it in a period of two days. We finished filming at 3am one day and woke up at 6:45am the next day. It was physically and emotionally exhausting for everyone. Then to have my friend essentially say that we’d have nothing to show for our work was really disheartening. We didn’t have enough filmed to slap something together; everything we shot was at random parts of the story and couldn’t be edited into anything cogent. I think I’m pretty decent at editing video, but I definitely know my limits.
There are two ways to react to this situation. I could say “screw it” and just focus my energy on other projects. I have a lot going on as it is, and this film was just for fun anyways. Or I could convince myself that this is a minor setback and continue pursuing my goal. I now realize that I had made some mistakes and could have prevented this mess. For instance, my lead actor just got a full-time job that’s five hours away from where we were shooting. Even though he told me he was willing to work hard on this, I should have realized how difficult it was going to be for him to find time to play a big role.
I’ve decided to start from scratch and make something new for a different festival (Starz Film Fest). Their deadline is in a month, which will give the other people involved some time to cool their engines and come down from the frustration they’re going through right now. I had a long talk earlier with another one of my friends who’d put in a ton of hours acting. He was very reticent about starting something new because he’s understandably angry about the situation.
Sometimes you put in a ton of effort on something and have nothing to show for it. There’s a good chance that we’ll never finish that movie. But we can give up or carry on. Forgive the corny metaphor, but I’d rather play with the cards I’ve been dealt than just walk away from the table. Failures happen and it’s easy to quit. But I want something to show for this, no matter how many times I might fail.