A couple of months ago I had a psychological evaluation. The psychologist told me I was in the acceptable range, but cautioned that I border on ‘manic’.
I admit, I like to keep busy. And creatively, last year has been my biggest. After returning from South America, I’ve put most of my energy into one project – the pilot of my sitcom The Real.
It’s a huge undertaking – essentially putting myself through my own devised course in television-making. I have learnt so much – from the writing, rewriting, casting, running rehearsals, set-dressing, location-scouting, organising props, directing, coordinating cast and crew, editing, post-production, and a thousand other things. I wanted to do as much as possible by myself. But of course, filmmaking is the collaborative medium, the one that incorporates writing, theatre, design, music, and photography. Even keeping costs and (production levels) to a minimum, 25 people have helped or worked on some aspect of the production so far. That blows my mind.
I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved and thankful I was stubborn enough to just plunge headfirst and not give up during the (many) stressful moments.
I absolutely love directing. But I never planned to be a director. I got a video camera and started filming things to cross-train and supplement my screenwriting. Rather quickly, it took over. The four years I spent running around with a DSLR prior meant I hit the ground running – I already knew a bit about f-stops and shutter speeds, the importance of light and framing.
I spent years reading books and blogs on screenwriting (and still do) – much of what I learnt, through repeated immersion, is now second nature, things I do without thinking, that I take for granted. My directing is not there yet – I still feel like I’m faking it. One of the main differences is screenwriting practice can be done in private – directing practice requires participants/guineas pigs. I need to reach the same level with my directing – to that end, I’ve reading several books on directing (I’m good at applying book-learnin’ – in my teens I taught myself to juggle from a couple of paragraphs sans pictures in an old book). I also spent three days last week in Melbourne at a ‘directing actors’ workshop.
And next of course, I need to find some more participants/guinea pigs.