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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Film Cautionary Tale

Photos of Bruce and me at the recent shoot for my short film ENCORE. These were taken by Kathy McIntosh of Well Placed Words, thanks Kathy!

Recent shoot? On February 20?! And there lies the crux of this post. When I say "short film" I mean a page and a half of script, two characters, one location and silent--no dialog. A simple, easy, really short film. We even kept the cast and crew to a bare necessary minimum. So I kept a running tab of how long it will take start to finish for this film.

Around a 100 hours.

What?! How could that be possible? Why would it take that long? Simple. The process of making a film is long and complicated, with many different elements and myriad details. All of which take time and effort.

What's the cautionary part of this tale? My realization that this time sink is true of all creative projects, whether filming or art or writing or jewelry making or...And my realization that all creative people always underestimate the time it takes to create, start to finish. Why? Because it's so much fun! We're doing what we love to do!

The caution: remember it will take more time, effort and energy to create. Don't beat yourself up about it, just recognize it and try (try) to put a little wriggle room in your projects.

Do any of my readers not have this problem? Do any of my readers have some solutions to this problem?

14 comments:

Ken McConnell said...

I was a film major in college. Loved my time on the set. Never been happier. Except for now, while writing my novels.

Films always seemed to take more time than we planned for them. Even after having done it for a long time. But the pleasure is in the journey and the doing.

Carol Kilgore said...

The only way I know is to figure out how long you think it will take . . . and double it. You'll be closer :)

Jim Murdoch said...

I think it’s a comfort thing rather than a fun thing: we spend so much time on a project that we get to the stage where we can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve noticed this with every novel I’ve written. I spend years constructing this universe and I don’t really want to leave it because then I know that I’m going to have to create another universe from scratch and creating universes, albeit imaginary ones, is hard work and it’s so much easier to just tweak away at the one you’re currently involved in. Letting go is hard. I’m at quite a loss now I’ve finished Left. Okay all the editing’s still to get done and it will get done but that’s grunt work, that’s not real writing. But although I’m running a lot of things through my head to see what I might like to run with next a part of me would be quite happy to going back to a poem a month and leaving it at that. But I won’t.

Ann Best said...

Oh, how fun. I love films! I've two scripts in embryo. Got a critique on one a few years ago. I keep wanting to come back to it. Reading your post is spurring me on!!

The time frame for writing anything is always off--for me at least. I have no solution to the "problem" !!

And thanks for your expression of sympathy on the loss of my brother.

Lynda Lehmann said...

Sounds like fun to make a short film, Conda, and it's perhaps more of a challenge to achieve the right effect or message than when making a longer film.

MY problem is that I'm doing creative things all the time, and I do lose track of time and other tasks!

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm a chronic under-bidder. Been that way all my life. So I add twenty percent to the total right away. If I estimate 20 hours I add 4 more immediately. $100??? Make it $120.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Ken, yes, even the big studios underestimate the time it takes to film and they should know better!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Carol--sometimes I think it needs to be tripled. But how to avoid not believing it'll take so long?

Talli Roland said...

My husband is a film director and I've seen first hand how much time it takes - yikes! I always try to give myself a cushion when writing, too.

Enid Wilson said...

When can we see it? Creative work is always labour of love.

Bargain with the Devil

Conda V. Douglas said...

Jim, ah yes, why many creative people never finish anything! Congrats on having finished and having the courage to go on to the next one!

Dave King said...

I've had the problem. I have it from time to time, but Jim's experience best reflects mine: if it takes that long, it becomes a part of me and there are withdrawal symptoms when it's done.

Kathy McIntosh said...

I think Jim makes an excellent point: we become immersed in a project, love the characters, etc. and fear of beginning again keeps us from jumping into a new project.
I double or triple my estimates of project length and most often run short, anyway.
The film was great fun and VERY cold! I had a walk-on part...more like walk-by. So I had time for photos. Thanks for the mention, Conda.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Ann,write the scripts! I've found that every write benefits from writing in a different format!