core beliefs

How to Make a Movie: Letting Go

It’s funny how what you want the most can also be what scares you the most.

Coming from a novel-writing background, I’m used to generating ideas, finessing them, and then presenting them as a finished product. In the end, I can stand by my story, confident I did everything I could to represent my initial idea.

But this way of working is very lonely and there is hardly any room to grow and challenge your ideas.

When I first met with Caroline, I told her that I was attracted to filmmaking because of its collaborative nature. I was excited by the prospect of writing a script with someone else, sharing ideas and coming up with something greater than either of our initial proposals. It was even more exciting to imagine how a director and actors would interpret our words. Beyond that, a cinematographer, editor, costume director, composer and so many more people would each have their input. I loved the idea of having so many creative brains tackling and developing one idea.

But once I got started, it scared the sh*t out of me.

I must admit I’m a control freak. In writing a novel, I get to control every last detail. When hosting my conferences,  I handle everything from the venue to booking the speakers to making the name cards. It’s taxing and stressful, but stress is my comfort zone. I have a deep belief that when I’m stressed, everything is being handled.

Filmmaking made me challenge this belief. It’s impossible for me to control everything and that’s scary. I spent hours scouring the internet, studying up on how to film in a car, the pay scale for SAG actors, and permits for location shoots. Each time I brought this information up to Caroline, she calmly said, “Dude, I love your enthusiasm, but I want you available to make creative decisions. These are all issues our line producer/casting director/so and so will handle.” And she was right.

 

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Caroline, Monica and me at our first production meeting. 

For the first time, I’m working with a team, and I don’t need to do everything. It’s extremely difficult to resist the urge to research one more thing, but I’m forcing myself to let go, and trust that others will not only handle it but do it better than I would. I am allowing myself to collaborate and not let fear get in the way of what I want.

 

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