….But I did. Last night I shipped 3 hard drives with almost 5 terabytes of media to my editor. After 2 very long months of extremely long days – every day – I got through the “first edit” of my documentary. It’s by no means finished, there’s a lot more editing needed to cut it down by half, there’s music to be composed and a narrative that has to be written, but I take great joy in the fact that I got through this part of the process – because it damn near killed me.
When shooting a documentary, you don’t work with a script or a storyboard – or at least I don’t. I have a pretty solid idea of the “story” when I set out to shoot, but there’s always twists and turns with every situation and every interview. But I love surprises and I make room for serendipity to happen. What results is a lot of content that needs to be crafted and arced into a story. And I’ve just finished defining that story and laying the foundation.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact there have been times when I’ve wanted to walk away from this because it was so overwhelming. Trying to tie 11 different stories into one, and looking through 150 hours of footage multiple times can be overwhelming for a team of editors, let alone one individual. I’ve also had my share of low moments these past few months with a grant application rejected and a broken promise by a friend, but somehow I got through it. I got through it because I had desire.
Having a strong desire for whatever it is one wants to achieve is essential. Many times we say we really want something, but that is far different than having a true desire to make something happen. In order to stick to something (anything) and follow through with it – no matter what – that desire must be strong and come from within. It’s something that can’t be copied, taught or faked – you either have it or you don’t. It comes when you are true to yourself.
It’s hard to stay true to yourself. Many times, well meaning friends or spouses try to distract you from your purpose. I see this happen a lot when a significant other, who may not understand that in the creative world, the line between work and pleasure is quite blurred and sometimes may feel somewhat resentful of all the time their partner spends on “work”. I’m lucky in that my husband is also my business partner and has a full understanding of those blurred lines between work and pleasure. He also knows that when I have such a strong desire to do something, that he shouldn’t get in the way of me following that desire. That is truly selfless and well meaning.
Since beginning this lofty project, I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people who are in a slump for one reason or another. They look to me for some kind of guidance. I don’t really know what to say, other than to tell them to listen to their true self – the one underneath the clutter of the ego – and to trust what it tells you. If I get one of those calls during one of those low moments in my life, I try really hard to stay positive even though I feel like a big fake, because I’ve temporarily succumbed to my own self doubts. At those times, I try to be utterly honest, relaying the bitter with the sweet and say that bad times don’t last forever. But you have to let your spirit shine.
I wrote a blog once about the human spirit. I feel that the spirit inside me is ageless. I know when people come up to me and say “you look good” – what they really see is my spirit – which never gets old because I keep it alive. When I’m true to myself, my spirit soars and I look back at my defeats and rejections with a different understanding and acceptance.
So today, with my spirit in tact and my desire ever so strong, I rejoice in the fact that I accomplished something – something that’s really meaningful. That brings a big smile to my face and great joy in my heart. What a feeling – it’s priceless.
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