I feel like I haven’t worked on my script in a LONG time. It’s been at least three weeks. The irony is that I returned from San Francisco determined to make a big push to get the script done and to start raising independent money and instead… nothing has happened. It’s nobody’s fault, really- I had to deal with moving out of my apartment and went to New Jersey to shoot that medical lecture- but now it’s practically November and before I know it Spring will be here and I’ll be sitting by my printer waiting for it to spit out the first page. The race against time (which slows down for no one) seems to be a constant theme in my life, and usually time wins. By the time a script gets done, it feels stale or worse: someone else has come out with something similar. That’s my great fear with this one. It’s original and has a “hook” that is so unique that it’s practically a given that someone else will be making a similar film any day now.
So that’s what keeps me up at night. And should probably motivate me to get back to work on the script. Instead, I’m editing a “trailer” for the medical video that my clients will use at an upcoming convention. That’s the problem with these paid gigs. They pull you away from what you really want to be doing, but you can’t ignore the money. (Or maybe you can. But I can’t. Too many student loans). It’s that whole tradeoff: the freelance work gives you the money to do your own thing but takes away the time you need to do your own thing. You sell out now and then so you don’t have to be a sell out all the time. Oh, life’s paradoxes.
I have to admit, I really do enjoy editing. Even something boring like a “trailer on medication safety” can be a challenge. It must use the same part of my brain that I use for the logic portion on standardized tests or the brain teasers in the back of in-flight magazines. I love that crap for some reason. And editing is similar, because you have to splice things together in a way that is logical and creates an emotional impact. Not an easy task when you have six hours of a guy at a podium and people listening in the audience. I was struggling with it until I decided yesterday that the piece needed some music. And what music do we use when we have a “docu-drama” related to an “issue?” Anyone? A hint: Ever seen “The Thin Blue Line?” … The answer: Philip Glass, of course. I sped over to Tower Records, found a CD (I had no idea which one to buy so I just picked one), came home, played it (it was PERFECT) and threw it onto the trailer. Voila. All of a sudden everything said felt important. Powerful. You have to love Philip Glass. Once, a fellow director told Spike Lee he was having Philip Glass do the music for his film. “One note or two?” Spike asked. He’s right. No other composer has had more success or created more moving, moody, emotionally effective music with so few notes. It’s fairly amazing. It’s the kind of music that makes you think, “I could do that” but you really couldn’t. So now the trailer is “powerful” and hopefully the client will like it. Thanks, Phil.
I have just decided I’m going to write this afternoon. Work on the script for a few hours and get back into it. That’s what I’m going to do.
After I go get my Halloween costume.