This year I’m shooting a short film. I haven’t done one in five years and I’ve been itching to shoot one since we wrapped on the previous one. Back then, I had a lot of things going on—and I’m really surprised that I was even able to do it. I’ll talk about that process in another post. What I’d like to focus on here is discipline.
I went to a party this past weekend and there were a lot of artists there. I was talking to one and he said he wanted to get back to making films but he just didn’t have the inspiration. I think inspiration is like a spark, it can only get you so far.
A spark can’t keep you going through the scriptwriting process; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. That initial spark or idea is great but you can’t ride that to the end—you need discipline and grit. There will be days that fo’ real life is saying “aye, you need to handle this first.” Write! It doesn’t matter your situation, we all have issues that we have to fight through and yours may be way worse than mine. It doesn’t matter—you’re an artist and you have to get your work out no matter what’s going on around you. So you have to make time to write, just like you make time to go to work. We’re playing a long game, we can’t let these temporary things stop us from producing our work. In filmmaking, the script is the foundation the film is built on. You have to put as much time into this as possible.
This process of getting up and writing is hard and some days I don’t feel like doing it. So this is how I do it on a good day: I wake up at 5:30 a.m.; brush my teeth, wash my face and think to myself as I look in the mirror, “damn I’m getting old.” Then, I listen to NPR’s Up First to get my blood boiling over something Trump did. Then, I journal: I write three things I’m grateful for. Sounds a little Oprah-ish, doesn’t it? Then I write about whatever is going on in my life and make coffee for my lovely wife and I go into the garage and write. I bought Highland 2, a scriptwriting software that’s really dope; you can set a timer and once I’m done writing, it tells me how many words I typed. I listen to jazz or classical music when I write, I don’t know if it helps but it feels good and that’s what counts, right? So once I finish writing, I go for a run for about an hour. I hit the shower and head to work.
I have to stay consistent with this process because this is the only way I can get better. There is always a reason I can’t write but if I truly want to make the best work I can, I need to put in the work. I look at my script and short film as an important milestone in my career. I can’t half-ass it to be my best. I have to whole-ass it. So—I would like to welcome you to walk with me on this journey to make a film.