Today a great friend sent me a really well timed and much needed pep-talk email about my current producing efforts, which included encouragement to post positive stuff on the ol’ social medias about it. After all, I’m getting a lot of stuff done and successfully putting together the jigsaw puzzle of a feature film. If I’m not always 100% in control of everything, the world doesn’t need to know, does it? After all, who wants to work with a Debbie Downer?
He’s totally right. If I do post vaguely negative things on Facebook about producing, it’s meant in jest. I’m making light of the frustrations in my own way, but I know how it reads, and I know how I interpret that kind of thinly veiled negativity when other people do it. I usually think “hey man, don’t put bummer vibes out into the world, there’s enough of that out here already.”
My awesome friend wasn’t reprimanding me, he was encouraging me – and it really helped. He was saying “hey, you’re almost at the finish line, you’ve done so much work to get here, you should be so proud of yourself – failure is not an option!”
He’s totally right about that too. I am proud of myself for having played a massive role in raising nearly a million bucks to get a feature film off the ground. I’m proud of the creative work I’ve done with helping my writer/director refine his script, and I’m really proud of how well I’ve kept it together when the workload and the pressure has been overwhelming. I am totally rocking this, and (if I do say so myself), I am very good at it. I’ll knock this project out of the park, but I’ll knock the second one out of the stratosphere. I do feel very positive most of the time.
Even so, it’s a roller coaster ride, and it’s hard to stay positive all the time. Right now, for example, I’m dealing with a small financing shortfall that came up totally unexpectedly. It’s a problem we couldn’t have planned for, but that we need to solve on extremely short notice. We’re supposed to tie up our final contracts with our various funders by the end of this week, which means we need to fill that gap in, what? Three days? It’s a challenge, to say the least.
So, what’s a girl to do?
Not give up, is what. It’s a tough situation. But it has also brought some great people out of the woodwork who have been offering various kinds of help, and we might actually be able to put together what we need as a result.
If we can’t, there’s a very real possibility that we will lose some of the funding we’ve fought very hard to secure, and will have to start fundraising again. For a project that I was getting ready to shoot in April to suddenly go back to square one (or square three, let’s say) would be devastating, but c’mon. I’m not going to set myself on fire over it. I’ll start again with a new strategy and build the damn thing back up again.
Hopefully, the doomsday scenario will never come to pass, and you’ll be reading my gleeful production diaries in a month’s time as I shoot this sucker. And if not, then you’ll be reading my if-not-gleeful-then-at-least-very-upbeat fundraising diaries, as I piece it back together.
I started this blog in order to share my as-unvarnished-as-possible experiences as a first time producer with the world in the hopes that they might amuse some, help others, and help me by giving me a safe space to share my feelings, my triumphs, my failures and the lessons that I learn.
When I started down this road, I found the process of producing a feature film exceedingly mysterious, needlessly so. I didn’t understand why it was so hard to decipher the process, why it was so confusing to navigate the paperwork, and why everyone was always so tight-lipped about the details of how you actually raise money and get this shit done.
I wanted to pull the curtain back. Perhaps that was naive, but I still aspire to it. Obviously, I understand the necessity of keeping certain info confidential, but that doesn’t mean the reasoning behind it shouldn’t be explained. I don’t need to divulge the dollar amounts every funder is giving us in order to explain to you how financing works (and doesn’t work). I don’t need to name specific actors or agents in order to shed light on the world of casting. I certainly don’t need to incriminate anyone in order to explain the fact that some people in the film biz are hustlers.
I want to keep talking about the process because doing so helps me understand it better. I intend to stay as honest as possible here, and share my every challenge with you. I need to talk about the frustrations and setbacks because there are so many of them that not telling other people about it seems like a terrible disservice (here I am forced to admit that I vainly hope other aspiring producers read my blog in search of insights).
I want to talk about it all because even though it’s an infuriating process, it’s also incredibly rewarding and I couldn’t be happier about having thrown away a stable job in order to do this insane thing. I want share all that without being negative. I need positive energy, so that’s all I’m going to put out. Reap what you sow, etc.
Hashtag I love producing.