Once upon a time, an Australian filmmaker I met on MySpace (back when social networks were just starting to gain momentum) helped with the encoding of one of my short films and then asked me to tell him about the experiences making said movie. What followed was a letter that detailed various aspects of the project – from my scriptwriting process, through production and all the way to my very first acceptance notice from a film festival. If it weren’t for his inquiry, I may have never taken the time to sit back and reflect on the journey of trying to make something from little to nothing; all that went well, all that went wrong and nearly everything in between.
His one, simple query led to what became my production notes – a filmmaking diary of sorts – which is something that I would have otherwise never even considered writing at the time. I underestimated the importance of production notes. They can be therapeutic by helping filmmakers get an overview of what the timeline and progress (or halt) of their project looks like.
Writing to Quito made me realize that I made lots of poor decisions in trying to get a project off of the ground. The letter also caused me to notice when and where I gave up on doing what’s best for my project, me and my long-term professional goals; the moments where I pulled through and the rewarding results that came out of less-than-ideal circumstances. Although you might not understand if you’ve never made a movie, I’m almost certain that you can still relate to the feeling of wanting to give up on something that you once thought you wanted more than anything in the world.
When you’re making a movie, it's easy to get off-course, especially if you don't have a clear idea of what you're aiming for. In that case, it helps to have an end goal and not rely on making it up as you go along. It's also easy to not notice all of the areas where you should've done something different -- especially if you're rushing and everything becomes a blur in the mad dash to get a film in the can.
It wasn't until I wrote my letter to this Australian filmmaker who I met on MySpace, that I realized how many mistakes I made trying to salvage something that wasn't working on so many levels. I also realized that I was delusional about what I could accomplish with the things that were available to me.
Has anyone ever asked YOU a question that led to deep reflection on an experience that YOU otherwise wouldn’t have given a second thought about?