While I’ve posted my struggles with body dysmorphia I haven’t really gone in depth on how this has affected my confidence to make my films.
Coming from a small coastal town, having most people tell me that I’m “way too ambitious for my own good” has quietly seeped its way into my subconscious and made me doubt my ability to make things happen efficiently.
Most evident was when I was in film school. One of my professors gave us an in class assignment of how our production company would work out budgeting and breaking even – we were given about 20 minutes to work out the first few details to give us an idea of how things would work once we graduated. My response was simple: to produce one of my documentaries the cost for a small 3 person team for travel, editing and other production expenses along with limited distribution (as in “available only in these theatres”) would be an estimated $150,000 – this would also cover merchandise for the film that would be available for purchase online and at the theatres at a special table next to the ticket booth, I also mentioned that to attract more theater goers to make sure I either break even and make more than the invested I’d be available to do a Q&A the premiere night and the closing night.
The professor’s reaction was that of his jaw dropping and telling me “wow, you’re certainly ambitious and talking a big game, but you won’t be able to do that right out the gate – best you start small” While he was right, and I have already done the small time promotion steps of distribution (see on the side bar Forever Boogies). Not once, did he mention we should think small when talking about our potential productions hitting theaters. What was so wrong with my idea then? It was too big of a thought for a person who was coming out of nowhere.
That professors reaction, along with the fact that I’ve had it drilled into my brain that I’ll never be the person I imagine myself being – has served as a giant disservice for my career. I’ve made proposals after proposals with low production cost and thinking how I could get all things done with just under $40K for a documentary. Thinking “if I could make it happen with just $1,000 [the true cost of making Forever Boogies] I can make a larger film happen” but what will that leave me with really? I won’t have an adequate team, the film quality will probably be shit, and then that means I won’t have the reach I’d love for it to have.
So, time has come – and after fail Crowd-Funding campaigns [in great part due to doubting my abilities as a filmmaker, and over all abilities to create compelling content] to tighten up my boot straps and make things happen for real. I’ve gathered up a small team of people, and have adjusted the budgets for my next three documentaries. All of which will be pitched at the same time to several documentary production agencies. Why all at once? Because they are all compelling stories, that need to be brought into fruition for the audience to see. Self doubt is no longer accepted at this production table.
Wish me luck.