Why leave anything on the table? I’m greedy like that. But honestly, who only takes one bite of something they like?
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“It’s one hour until Monday.
One of the reasons starting a film studio is interesting is because there are the external ensured challenges — no money, no time, no guaranteed success, a lot of very hard work. Everything you’re aware of when entering the business.
Then there are the internal (in-house) challenges you’re not aware of but continually arise. Like the amount of work it takes to keep up with social media pages. And how those pages should look. Feel? What’s the theme? How should they be designed? At random? Color-coded by post? Maybe just fragments of photos, so someone scrolling needs to click on the page to see the full picture.
These aren’t things I ever thought about before finishing the Going Green script. But now, I’ve had to catch myself with thoughts of — What should the poster look like? What month do we release it? How much money am I willing to spend on a plane ticket to fly in an out-of-state actor? — challenges “solved” are only met with more challenges to solve. To have fun with. To wonder about. It’s all a puzzle.
But those challenges, good ones to have, only become real by finishing the script.”
That’s as far as I got last night into this week’s Pen Sunday post before reaching another new challenge. Is it better to release a worse product on time or a better product late? The answer probably depends on personal philosophy. But it also depends on preparation and execution. Two factors that are continually and endlessly important.
Anyone can execute a great idea poorly. It’s much harder to execute a mediocre idea to perfection. I remember as a kid, that my father figure would always tell me to “stop being lazy.” And I didn’t fully understand what he meant because I was an active kid. I played on sports teams, hung out with my friends, eventually worked a job, etc. In my head, I couldn’t be lazy because I was doing so much. Lazy people, to me at that time, were the old school internet stereotypes of the 16-year-old pothead burnout who never left his moms basement. And because that wasn’t me, how could I possibly be lazy?
(The irony of that stereotype in the modern era is that the 16-year-old burnout could be working 10–12+ hours a day on something that’ll eventually net him millions of dollars. Or a stable lifestyle, if they’re passionate enough about whatever they’re doing.)
No, I didn’t always do my dishes. Or take my clothes out of the dryer. Or try hard on my homework. But lazy? Couldn’t be me.
I think back to the punk rock band painting a wall white for their music video story that I told a few weeks ago. Had that been my video, would I have gone to Home Depot, bought the supplies, and painted the wall too? Everyone wants to tell themselves yes.
Creating something you want to be great is good because you receive instant feedback and understand, immediately, how much farther you have left to go. And how much more work there is to be done. Watching Going Green, all I see are the in-hindsight changes I would’ve made. Some of which are small and correctable, but all of which come as a result of not knowing what I didn’t know. So I forgive myself for it. Because that’s not the challenge.
The challenge is embracing the idea that to make something “good” in film, there are ten to fifteen different processes with five to eight individual steps that all need to be executed correctly. This is possible, at the very very least, by putting in a lot of effort, and trying very very hard. If however, I now know that process x will take 30 hours of correct work to do, and I choose to casually skate by only doing 15 because the production can still move forward at that point — the one, I need to accept those consequences. And two, what’d be the point of that?
a note to self — go hard
I’m changing the structure of the newsletter. From next week on, a movie segment will be added along with the usual Pen Sunday story. I’ll be suspending, at least partially, the Pen Sunday soundtrack until then.