15 Sep so, what’s next?
well, I’ve pretty much recovered from my trip to the UK and France in August. I will (hopefully) have some great photos to share with you soon. that’s always the trick with shooting 35mm… you don’t really know how they’ll turn out exactly. like, I know they looked good through the viewfinder… but did I expose them right? did I hit the focus? was the film stock still good? heh. I guess that is part of what makes shooting on film so much more of an adventure than shooting on digital. (I do have some nice iPhone pics too!)
but, this is not a Europe blog, this is a “what are you doing blog?” after wrapping HarmonQuest I was really looking forward to taking some time off. between LBTXIV and this show I’d worked for 2 years straight. now, you may say “2 years? most people work for 40 years then retire.” which is true, kinda. but the thing is, most people get vacation days. time off. holidays. etc. two years in the entertainment industry is pretty tiring. especially with the end of HarmonQuest. in addition to editing the 10 episodes, I was also cutting the new Louis CK/Albert Brooks pilot, “The Cops”, plus I was directing the retakes for HarmonQuest and we had a boatload of them. I was basically doing 2.5 jobs. and it really wore me down.
so after all that, the last two months of not working have been great. but I think it’s important to explain what “not working” means for me. I’m not just sitting around in my underwear, eating cheetos, and playing video games. as nice as that sounds. no, I’m keeping busy. and in order to do so, in true Germanic fashion, I created a spreadsheet. everyday I try and fill as many boxes as possible.
part of this why I do this, immediately is the “crossing things off to-do list” effect. it feels good to complete a task. there’s satisfaction in seeing the boxes turn green with each “X”. another reason I do it is to keep me moving around, mentally and physically. some projects are too big to try and tackle at one time. that can make them seem a little overwhelming. but if you give yourself the freedom to “not finish” right then, well the goal appears much more achievable. I don’t need to write this entire treatment. I don’t have to clean my whole apartment. I don’t have to do all my accounting. I just need to do the time allotted. now a big task is a bunch of smaller, manageable ones that are a lot easier to get going on.
additionally, I’ve found that long sessions often yield diminished returns. that is, as the amount of time I spend on a task increases, the quality/quantity of my work decreases. for me, the best way to combat this is with sprints. I’ll clean for 30 minutes, then write for an hour, then watch an episode of the Twilight Zone, then write for another hour. by switching thing up, I keep from getting stale. and again, it’a liberating knowing that I don’t have to complete task “A” right then and there.
I also have a weekly to-do list that has specific action items on it. these are broken into groups like “creative”, “smalls”, and “admin”. some of those fit real nicely into the spreadsheet, others not so much.
the greater idea behind all these is to not waste energy thinking about what I need to do, but rather spend that energy on the actual task. I don’t have to wonder about what project I should be working on, I just need to look at the list. this technique is something that Teal and I have developed over a few years and as it turns out, there’s a lot of research and theory behind it. some of it dating all the way back to 1927 and the Zeigarnik experiments.
but the to-do lists and spreadsheets are merely a means to the an end. and what is that ends? well, I’ve decided to take some time off from editing to pursue writing and directing full-time. I really enjoy the process of editing, and I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking and storytelling, but I want to tell me own stories. and as great of a gig editing is, at the end of the day – I’m an employee. I’ve got a certain responsibility to my employer to be in the office everyday, and as such I found that I couldn’t spend the amount of time I needed to brainstorming new projects. I couldn’t take off for a 11am meeting in Beverly Hills on a Tuesday. I couldn’t fly home for two weeks to write a script.
as I was mulling over this decision I got an offer for another editing job. it was a very, very nice gig. multiple years, Union, close to my apartment, and with some of my favorite people. turning it down was one of the hardest decisions of my professional life. but it was very much a lateral move. it wasn’t the sort of gig that would propel me to the next level… and at least for the time being, that is what I need.
it’s a scary thing stepping out into the unknown like this. but I think the timing is right. I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated with what I’m working on and how the adventure is progressing. my twitter will also be a good place, follow along at @lukeguidici.
it’s an exciting time and I look forward to sharing it with you all.