Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finished, Finished? Finished, Finished! (Soon.)

The film isn't finished ... YET.
Yesterday I talked about our next steps with the film, and when we'll be finished with it. It reminds me of a conversation that gets repeated regularly these days. When people find out we're almost finished with it, they usually ask me what's next (either with the film or my own career). Often, they are disappointed to hear what comes after we finish the film: more work.

When we talk about finishing the film, it's important to define "finished" so we're all on the same page. There's still a lot of work left once the film itself is finished because this is an indie film and we most likely won't just hand it off for distribution. In terms of production, though, finished means that we're no longer going to tweak the film. We're not going to change it anymore. It is what it is and won't change anymore.

As an artist, you can tweak a piece of work endlessly. Art history has taught me this repeatedly. Monet painted the same subject over and over again. He painted the same static hay stacks 25 times 1890-1891. Those stupid hay stacks! I love 'em. My point is that an artist can be obsessive about studying something, so it's incredibly important to find a stopping point.

What good would it do for me to continue tweaking the film and never show it to anyone?

Finished, then, means we are comfortable with the story line, we've fixed the problems, and we have done everything in our power to make it the best we possibly can with the resources available. Boom. Done. Print to DVD and move on.

When we're finished with post-production, there's a whole new world of work ahead because this is an independent film. We will work on design, branding, marketing, communications, event planning (premieres, screenings with Q&A sessions, etc.), film festival applications, and plenty of little pet projects that spin-off of this one. But we have to finish this one first.

So we finish the film and then start sharing it. The idea--in the long run, anyway--is that we continue sharing the film and having conversations as long as it takes to bring about positive social change. In those terms, then, I have no clue when we'll be finished because social change might take a lot of time. Might being the key word.

This I can tell you: we will be finished with the film in the coming months because it's time. It's time to be finished with it so we can share it. I mean print-to-DVD finished. Show and sell finished. Never tweak it again finished.

Finished, finished? Yes. Finished, finished!

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