Why is it when people have a dream, the first time they set out to fulfill it, their expectations are that it will just be perfect and magical on the first try? I am completely the same because for some reason, I think that if I can’t accomplish something on my first try, I must be doomed for failure. Even though we might know that the “right” expectation is to make a lot of mistakes on your first attempt, somehow that sneaky little expectation for perfection creeps back into our heads.
For me, I thought that the first time I made a film would be the most incredible experience in the world, and people would see it and think that I could really be something some day. Then I made my first film, and all those thoughts just went flying out the window.
The Windy City
My first professional film is Avarice, but there is a little unknown film that nobody knows about because I don’t really brag about it too much. I was living in Wellington, New Zealand, and my friend Sarah and I wanted to make a little video about the city just so we had something to remember it by. Wellington is known as the “windy city,” so I thought it would be great to show that in the film.
I came up with a little story about a girl who loses a scarf and a guy who tries to save the day and retrieve it for her. The night before, we tested out the scarf in the wind, controlling it with some fishing wire, and it worked beautifully. I was on my way to being a filmmaker for the very first time.
There Was No Wind
The next day, there was no wind. So anytime we pulled the scarf with the fishing wire, it looked like the scarf was possessed. Further more, the main actor had actually been in real productions before, and he quickly saw how I really had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I thought I had planned out the shots, but for some reason, nothing was working out, people were tired and not really having much fun, and we were walking all around the city trying to fit in as much as possible.
I don’t think I have ever felt so discouraged in my life. I was talking so big about wanting to be a director, and here I was, screwing up this tiny little film that should have been so easy to do. I was leading my friends into disaster, and my entire career was being flushed down the toilet.
The Clouds Parted
I honestly probably would have just stopped, but Sarah insisted that we finish. So we went to the top of Mount Victoria to finish shots with the girl, and a miracle happened. I could see all the shots line up perfectly in my head and how I would be able to edit them together. It was the first time I could see it clearly, and it was literally like the clouds parted. We rolled through the shots, and everyone started having fun.
The film obviously isn’t Oscar worthy or even festival worthy, but I’m proud of it anyways. I feel like we all have to go through those experiences of being knocked off a high horse in order to get to the really good stuff in life. I’m sure that was just the beginning of my humbling experience, but at the end of the day, I had a completed film.
The wind idea never worked, so it has lovingly been named The Possessed Scarf:
What are some failed attempts you’ve had trying something new? What life lessons did you take away from that?