I’m an independent film-maker. I don’t have formal training, experience or a job in the industry, which makes me an amateur. I work with unpaid actors, unpaid crew (unfed as well – our current budget wouldn’t be able to give them dry crackers to go with the free water) and only on weekends, very amatuerish.
We have had just one camera for 80% of the shoot, with variable and limited sound equipment – this proves I am an amateur.
This Saturday just past we wrapped up after a tough, complicated shoot. I’d personally managed to wind up one of our key actors, a very nice guy who was giving us his considerable talents for free and felt misused. He literally stormed off on me, and he was completely right to do so (thank goodness it was at the end of the shoot!).
I went home feeling like the world’s biggest asshole.
On Sunday we had a superb day of shooting. Everything went perfect – we started on time, finished on time and got pretty much every single shot we needed. Our location was superb, our cast and crew were all on time and fully committed. I had that lovely feeling where you know the footage is good, even before you see it.
I went home feeling like a million dollars.
This see-saw of emotions has been a constant since I began my film career last year. I have improved immensely in terms of organisation, getting a concept across to the cast, crew and my co-Director Joseph Cargnello. I can organise a multi-camera, multi-angle, multi-layered shoot with specific technical requirements without: a) shouting at anyone, b) wasting time or c) losing sight of the purpose of the scene.
But it doesn’t matter how clever or skilled I get, that see-saw is always there, that flip between happiness and despair. From what I’ve read and seen in interviews with professional Directors of every stripe this emotional coin toss never, ever goes away. You just become better at dealing with it.
Yes, I’m an amateur.
But I’m a Director first.