Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Show business is equal parts inspiration, drudgery and magic.
You work for months and months gestating an idea and, most of the time, it goes nowhere. I was telling someone today that, if I had ten bucks for every treatment I've written that went nowhere, I'd be able to finance one of 'em.
Then, a couple of times every ten years or so, something gets off the ground and then you gird yourself for the soul-killing drudgery of it; where you walk, lift, lug, trouble shoot, travel, lift, lug, eat at crappy buffets, lift, lug, sleep on hard beds, travel, lift, lug, climb, trouble shoot, sit in traffic, travel, lift, lug, argue, fight, try to sleep, get lost, skip some meals, get sunburned...
You get the idea.
Several times on 'first unit' we laughed about how 'manual labour' filmmaking is.
Then, once is a while, you get a couple of hours of downtime and you go snorkelling.
Naturally, your wife (and friends) rib you a bit, about how 'hard' you've got it ('cause all everyone sees with social media is your highlight reel) but you know the truth.
You're underwater with all this work you've got to get done.
T-minus 18 days 'till I board a plane to go shoot 'second unit'.
And we start editing tomorrow.
Here we go...
Friday, April 29, 2016
Spent my week shooting the aerial unit for the big documentary series (and feature-length doc) my biz-partner and I are producing (with our team and some key collaborators) this year. When I was trying to explain to my wife why I was so fried each night after flying and filming all day, the best I could come up with was...
"Imagine getting up at 4am, driving an hour and half to the airport--skipping breakfast 'cause you're up before all the restaurants--then jumping into a helicopter that's alternately roasting (sun) or freezing (high altitude) and flying around like you're--literally--riding a roller coaster all day, then driving home (2 hours now 'cause of traffic) collapsing into bed, sleeping three hours ('cause you're jet-lagged) then doing it all again the next day, and then the next..."
Something like that.
Thing is, we're getting awesome (and I mean AWESOME) footage.
By FAR the best thing I've ever done as a director. Much of it has to do with our amazing cinematographer (a long-time collaborator and friend) as well as a wonderful setting and amazing gear and crew (all set up by my exec-producer/producer biz-partner) along with a very compelling subject, but still.
It's still little 'ol me writing and directing, and it's gigantic and awesome and amazing.
I felt almost emotional seeing the 'rushes' from day two.
"It's like we're actually making a movie or something..." I said. "Like, this NEEDS to be seen on the big-screen..."
A powerful moment.
Something to be very thankful for.
I feel like I'm flying...
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
We opened the pool this past weekend.
One week ago, we had eight inches of snow on the ground, this week our pool is open. Death gives way to life, blah to blast, cold to warm, dark to light. It all comes back 'round...
It's a fun thing about life. Don't forget it; especially if you're going through a tough time today.
One of the best things about growing older is that you gain a certain degree of perspective; you realize that, even if things SEEM really bad right now (like when it snows in April), if you just hang on long enough, things will turn around.
There's a lot to be said for just putting one foot in front of the other, continuing to move forward (however slowly) until things turn back 'round...
I find myself dealing with levels of tension and dysfunction at work these days that would have absolutely crushed me years ago. These days I just keep moving forward (one tiny step at a time sometimes) and *know* that it's gonna' break eventually.
Now--pay attention--when it *breaks* it doesn't mean you immediately go from zero to hero.
Sometimes you have to let the water warm up for a few weeks.
And then, after some time and some Sun, you'll be able to jump back in...
Friday, April 15, 2016
When was the last time you worked so hard you could hardly see straight? I mean SO hard you couldn't stand, could barely walk and, when you did, you started randomly bumping into things?
Think about what you do, and ponder that one a moment.
When was the last time you pushed yourself to the brink, the real edge-of-your-ability limit where you absolutely, positively, unashamedly can't do any better or any more.
Do you preach that good? Write that good? Love that good?
Better hope so 'cause I'm smack dab in the middle of the biggest, most important production of my ENTIRE life, and I've been doing this for TWENTY years!
That story board up there is the 'private' one that only me and my associate Jeff get to use; it's the one with the most 'mojo' the most 'possa' the most magic. It's the one where we go to sweat the details and push the limits. I spent two full days at its altar this week, busting my a$$ to try and achieve greatness. My business partner made the mistake of calling me halfway through and you bet your butt I snapped at him;
"I'm not in the MOOD to argue semantics with you right now, I'M WRITING!!"
(Poor guy; it's not his fault. Patient man)
I'm writing this today to try to inspire YOU to reach for more; to dig deeper, to go farther to push yourself...
'till you start bumping into things...
Monday, April 11, 2016
My shoes at the end of last week's first 'real' run as part of training for this year's triathlon.
The first week is always the toughest.
It's almost as if you haven't already run all the races you've run, like you've haven't logged the miles you've logged, like you have no experience at all.
It's this same way every time you begin again, doing whatever.
Start a new job. Start a new relationship. Tackle a new assignment. Cook that favourite recipe you haven't touched in years. Open your Bible. Go for a run.
It's tough. Halfway through starting up that new thing you'll be wondering if you can finish, wondering how you ever did this before, questioning whether or not you've got what it takes, wondering why you started up again in the first place.
Waiting for your left ankle to go numb so your achilles will stop hurting.
"Why did I do this?"
Ever felt that way?
It's amazing to me (being as old as I now am, and having done as much as I've now done) to realize how relentless life is. See, it doesn't CARE what you DID. It cares about what you're DOING. Your body doesn't give you credit for the miles you ran last year, it wants to know what you've done for it lately.
True, muscles have 'memory' and you will get up to race-shape much faster than the first time you started doing this, but it's still gonna be hard, you're still gonna' wish for death several times along the way and wonder why you thought you were fit for this anyway?
What have you done lately?
How good was your last sermon? Did you hit it out of the park? How good was your last pitch meeting? Did you change your client's life (even just a little bit?). What about last shoot? Did you nail it in every aspect? Did the client leave feeling well-served and lucky to have you? How about your last staff confrontation. Did you handle it with grace AND truth? Did your last disappointment or betrayal destroy you and steal your joy, or did you shoulder it, mourn, and then keep going?
When was the last time you ran 5K? The last time you read your Bible every day for a week? When was the last time you ate fresh-cooked Oatmeal instead of the packaged kind? When did you last complete your wife's 'honey-do list' on the weekend without complaining? When was the last time you were happy and fun with your kids at breakfast instead of grumpy and tuned-out? When was the last time your friends felt like you loved them? Did you chase your wife around the house this weekend? Last weekend? When was the last time 'bro? When was the last time you took responsibility for your actions without begging off, by subtly shifting the blame to someone else? When was the last time you were completely honest, regardless of what it was going to cost you? When was the last time you walked by faith and not by sight?
What have you DONE, that's awesome, lately?
Yes. I read Hebrews 11 this morning. And it messed with me.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Monday, April 4, 2016
The say Paris is the city of love.
More like the city of cigarettes, congestion, rude waiters, awesome baked goods, tiny spaces and nicked up cars.
Oh, and lovely wives of nearly twenty years.
And my kid (one of four) who took the shot.
That's love that lasts, love that's useful, love that's real.
My take on Paris.