coming out of the dark in between projects

Behold, she speaks!
So much has happened. Three steps forward, half a step back - of sorts.

I've temporarily finished my first film. I say temporarily because there's still so much that needs to be fixed. That's what I think and say in good moments. In bad moments I simply yell: "IT IS ALL CRAP THROW IT AWAY KILL IT KILL IT!"

It's not crap. I know that. I know because I know and because people keep telling me - so I've got my ass covered double. I got pretty fantastic feedback when it showed at a prelim screening in film school. The biggest problem is crappy sound and since I can't fix that (I suck at audio) it seems unsurmountable to me at times. Things I can't fix by myself make me uneasy. Can you say "control freak"?

But it'll be fine. (Hello, new mantra!)My producer gals have promised to find me someone who can fix the sound. Incidentally, if you know any sound engineers in or around Vienna who'll work for eternal gratitude and a heartfelt handshake - let me know, please.
I want to reshoot one scene but it's a small one and shouldn't be too big a problem.
And I'm in talks with someone awesome to do the music for the film.
So if all that works out I'll be happy. Maybe not utterly content - I don't actually know if my little fucked up perfectionist brain is capable of that - but happy in my heart.

All problems aside, there's really nothing that compares to showing your film - finished or not - for the first time. It's like being torn between looking at your own baby and watching other people look at it. Then there's the applause. I did ALL THE BLUSHING! I think we humans are somehow wired to well up with pride when people clap for us. Our hearts are applause-fillable.

I got good feedback too. Good as in helpful in regard to mistakes I need to fix. But also good as in people love and get the story which is a load off my mind. It's like someone handed me a certificate that says: Woman, you can tell a good fucking story. I have a strong story. And that's what's important. Lack of story can't be fixed. Almost anything else can. So now I'm waiting to get help with fixing it and finishing the cut until September.

Right now, the waiting entails taking some fucking time off to recuperate. Predictably, I fell into the big fat post-film hole. I felt depressed and sad and mostly meh. My body told me it needed a break but my brain was in high form telling me I didn't deserve a break because, really, what had I done? It's not like I had a final product yet! I had to develop gastritis to get the hint that my brain sometimes really doesn't know what the hell it's talking about.

So I went to the doctor. Got meds. Got the advice to relax. Decided that I had gotten lax on all my relaxing techniques and purposefully took some time off. I've been working out more, I started doing yoga again. I've been eating better. I try to leave the house every day even if it's just to get some groceries so I don't become a shut-in again. I read. I play WoW. I listen to music. I lose time on the intarwebs. I watch True Blood and am mind-boggled by the lack of togetherness in this season. (Really, that show is all over the place at the moment...) I relax by rewatching Everwood. Nothing - nothing! - relaxes me like Everwood except maybe Gilmore Girls. They're my happy place TV.

It helps that the heat has relented a bit and the weather right now is fitting my liking and skin tone a lot better. Cloudy skies and rain and wind and cups of tea always make me want to write, to create. This is part of relaxing as well: Getting into writing again which I missed a lot during production and post. Turning my focus to other projects even if the first one isn't finished right now. I can't be tethered to an undone thing if I can't do anything about it right this moment.

I still occasionally worry about it. Just like I worry about the fact that I'm not earning any money and should probably find a day job - but then that fills me with panic and I go back to relaxing. I'll probably try to get a mini job at a local Starbucks eventually, if only to fulfill the cliché of the filmmaker properly. It seems like something I could handle and maybe even enjoy.

Sometimes I worry that I will never make anything again or nothing good. And if I do that my films will never be heard/seen, I never acknowledged, never successful, never able to earn a living. Maybe I'm lazy? Why do I feel so empty? Maybe I'm just imagining that I'm creative and an artist... The worry, it settles into an underlying panic that has to be actively combated in order to make it retreat and give you back your confidence.

What I can do is pick the next story out of the hat and get to work on that. Then let other people help me make it happen. Get the directing high. Apply the lessons learned. Finish it. Let my heart be filled with applause. Then let go and pick the next one.

And for when I'm between projects I'll simply have to learn to relax. Work out, eat well, see friends, do other things I love.

We went to see the amazing Alanis Morissette in concert last week and that really got me out of the funk. I finally properly connected to her music. This song is my sorely needed reminder to just get my head out of my ass already:

I did some research and read what other people have written about the dreadful in-between-projects-phase and it's definitely different for everyone but it made me feel less alone. For those interested here are two blogs I read about that: "The between-projects zone" & "Artists between projects"

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