Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to Blogging

Hello again, friends! Whew, it's been a while, hey? So much has happened in the past few days that it'll be tough to update you in one blog post. So I'll stick with the big news. Last week we submitted a rough cut of Abandoned Allies to its first film festival!

This is a huge milestone because we've been in post-production for about two years. This also means we're on the fast track to have it totally finished by the end of February. What a wonderful feeling to be this close to finishing the film. There's still a significant amount of tweaking left, but we are on our way now.

The team of folks who helped us submit the film is absolutely wonderful. There are so many thank yous to write. I do want to quickly thank Surry, Annie Beth, Kyle, Chris, Zach, Patrick, Drew, Steve, Sally, Adger, and my parents for being such solid forms of support during these past few weeks. They really stepped up to help make things come together (and keep me sane). I'm so appreciative of all the people who have helped make this film. It's a wild adventure, and I have to pinch myself regularly because I feel so lucky to be doing this work.

While working on the film, I have been dog-tired.
Even my pup was wiped out. Don't know why he
sleeps with his tongue sticking out, though.
That said, the past few weeks have been even more intense than usual. I've neglected some important things while trying to make the film ready for its submission, and that hurts me deeply. The list of stuff that's been neglected is probably longer than our credits.

So I'm thinking through ways to improve efficiency for the next film. How can I improve as a producer/director? What can I do to help my team (work better, stay happy, do amazing things, etc.)? What tasks are distracting to me, and who can I find to do those tasks so I can stay focused? My mind works over time on these things so I can make the next film better and more quickly. I can't stop looking back and analyzing it, so that I can make the next film faster and better.

This form of "debriefing" after a period of intensity is probably instilled in me from my days at Camp Don Lee. We'd go on sailing trips, and almost immediately debrief after we returned. It's a good practice, and one I hope to take with me throughout my career. I'm lucky to work with people who are honest and unafraid to give feedback on the process, so I hope to debrief with them next year when we finish the film.

Equally important, though, is a bit of R&R after a period of such intensity. I hope my teammates are resting up. I've already given myself some small rewards: a chocolate chip / peppermint milkshake, two new pairs of jeans (bought on black Friday for 50% off, of course), three days of sleeping in, about five hours of cooking/baking, a night cuddled up with my dog on the couch watching delightfully mindless TV, an hour playing the guitar for the first time in years, and some serious quality time with family and friends that I've missed terribly over the past few weeks. There are a few more rewards on my list, and I plan on checking them off soon.

While there's much more work ahead of us, I'm feeling like a huge weight has lifted. In fact, the other night I was just describing how I feel like a fog has lifted. I can see the future of this film much more clearly now, and I look forward to seeing what happens in the coming years. It's a lot of hard work, but I see it already bringing awareness to this important segment of U.S. history and how it relates to today. So, cheers, to that.