I had mentioned in yesterday’s post that this was coming.
I almost feel bad for putting this up. It’s this mixed feeling of guilt and disgust that roll around in my gut as I think about this whole concept. But at the same time I know me five minutes ago, or me ten minutes from now would kick my own ass if I didn’t post it.
When Alice ventures down the rabbit hole all the pretty images of life as a child drift away and she is left with an exaggerated version of the reality most of us face – minus the whole off-with-your-head thing, hopefully you don’t put up with that every day. Disappointment, frustration, fragility, fear (lots of f’s here), confusion, uncertainty. All these new aspects of life were now laid on the lap of Alice’s pretty dress, each with its own quandary.
The video above is aptly entitled Wonderland.
As much as directing is about collaboration with those you’re working with, the business side of it can often feel like quite the tug-o-war. Part of me hates admitting it. I’m stoked to be doing what I’m doing, and the people I work with have given me amazing opportunity. But I’d be a moron not to acknowledge the business of things.
There are three very important, but somewhat contradictory principles that I always try to keep in mind.
First, we all work for someone. I realized this at a very young age. Many of us have the privilege of being our own boss, but don’t let the title fool you. We still work for someone – a producer, a DP, a client. Somebody.
Next up (consider this as a pick-me-up after that first one), they hired you for a reason. You’ve shown something in the past they liked. They see something in you. You’ve got a certain je-ne-cest-quoi, kid. Hold your head up high, believe in yourself, and do what you do best.
Finally – and this circles back to the first point – know who’s signing your cheque. Artistic integrity is incredibly important, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you get final cut. You will learn to pick your battles, and you will learn that even though the client/producer/DP chose you for the way you do what you do – they still see things their way. And ultimately, when the delivery date comes, you want to please the person you’re addressing the invoice to most. Your most important role will be making sure they leave completely satisfied. You want to maintain your good reputation, you want return business… or more importantly, you want to stay in business.
As you muck through projects that perhaps aren’t your favourite (I’m working on one now for a beverage client), allow it to motivate you towards a passion project. Heck, if you can swing it, allow it to fund your next one.
Try to learn something new on each project. Perhaps its coming ever closer to the perfect colour profile on your camera. Maybe it’s pushing yourself to experiment a bit with lighting. Or it could be something as simple as breaking in a new piece of equipment. Allow each project to not only allow feed your wallet, but also feed your mind.
So that when you are on that project where you are given final cut, you’ll be able to give it the very best of your experience.