Change Your Stars

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If you could go back and relive a certain moment again, what would you change? Did you have to stop and think of what moment you would choose or did you instantly know?

I could tell you some of mine. Easily.

But then the question comes up, should you? How do we know that changing those moments will make it for the better, what if it make us worse? Everything we are right now is because of the things we did in the past. If you change the past, you become a different you.

But here’s the thing, if you change your future you ALSO become a different you.

We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. We can decide from this moment on how we will be different and how we will make a difference. I can’t change my financial situation in the past but I can change it in the future. You can’t mend broken relationships in the past but you can change them in the future.

In one of my favorite movies, A Knight’s Tale, the father tells the son, William, to “change your stars”. He is telling him that although his past is made of poverty and a low-class system it doesn’t mean that is how his future is supposed to be.

Whatever you past is, there is a future still coming that you can change.

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Seize the Opportunity and Forget the Worry

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The first time I worked on an actual movie set almost didn’t happen. At the time I had been working full-time as a hostess at a restaurant while getting my degree in Entertainment Business from an online program. To say that I was busy was an understatement. Then came along this film production.

In Minnesota we have indie films being made all the time but this was different. This had some decent A-list stars and for the first time I had an opportunity to apply to work on set. It was a really big opportunity in what had become a rather stagnant and slightly depressing time in my life.

Still I hesitated. 

Why? I was struggling financially. I was working 40 hours a week and barely making it. Even though I was living at home I still couldn’t seem to get ahead. I had no time, no money, and a very intense course load.

Even when I had applied I still had hesitation. Getting time off work was nearly impossible. They weren’t very lenient when it came to family emergencies how much more so when I wanted to go work for somebody else?

Even after I had interviewed and got the job as an Intern to the AD department (assistant director), I still was wrought with worry as to how I was to make this work. How would I get days off? How would I pay my bills? When would I get my homework done?

Then in a moment of clarity, I let it all go and stopped caring.

What is the difference between having no money then and no money now? Nothing. Even if is was super hard to get the days off that I needed, was it impossible? Nope. Couldn’t I switch my schedule up a bit and still get my homework done? Yep. It just took a lot of determination and a LOT of work.

It was totally worth it.

Working on that production turned out to be one of the best choices I made. I had a great time, meet great people in my industry, and for the first time I earned a credit of IMDB. And guess what? Everything worked out just fine with my bills, job, and school work.

Worrying is a part of our human nature but it is a fruitless emotion. It doesn’t help us move forward, it is a hinderance. If I had let myself to continue to worry until the point where I gave in to it I would have never had that experience I did.

You may be like me and be stuck in a dead-end/horrible job, trying hard to pay your bills, and wanting more out of life; but don’t let those things stop you from doing what you want and don’t let them worry you out of a great opportunity just because there are risks.

There will always be risks. There will always be worry. Forget the worry, take the risks, and seize the opportunity.

Picture is from the set of Thin Ice, the production I worked on.

Quitting is an Option

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When a ship is sinking I’m one of the last ones to get off no matter how bad it’s gotten. I know this. I have done this on many projects. Things go from bad to worse and yet I continue to hang on to the slight sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, things will turn around. Maybe I’ll stop being stressed out. Maybe this time things will be different.

When I commit to projects I commit whole heartedly with the intention of seeing the finish line. Couple this with the habit of just wanting to help people out and to see them succeed and you have a bad habit of taking on bad projects and not getting out fast enough.

If you are like me then you understand just how hard it is to stop something once you have committed to it.

I once worked on a film project and at the time I was eager to just get some work so I said yes to the project. I also said yes to a lot of other things that were ridiculous and stressed me out until I finally said no, left the project, and breathed fresh air.

So when did I know things were going to be bad?

The second after I committed all these things came to light and I realized things were going to be bad fast. It started with a bad leader, an undeveloped concept, and bad communication and when from there.

But I’m not a quitter so I refused to quit. Sometimes we really do need to quit. The only thing I regret is not quitting sooner.

Sometimes we need to realize when the ship is going down and to get off of it as fast as we can. They say quitting is not an option, but I think is some cases it is the best option. Things that cause us an enormous amount of stress can be good or bad, but you have to decide if the end game is worth it. In my case it was not.

Knowing when to quit is just as important of knowing when to press on.

Lessons Learned: Sometimes Failure is Good

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Two years ago I threw caution into the wind and decided to write/produce my own short film. Although I had worked on many projects, I hadn’t worked on my own project since college. This was my first time putting together a production in the real world, with out the backing of a film department in a University.

I had get the actors, crew, equipment, waivers, food, locations, and money all on my own. It was a daunting task. I prepared for over two months for a shoot that was to take place over two days, determined that things wouldn’t go wrong. But of course they did.

Things that went wrong:

  • The guy I got to direct it bailed one week before the shoot. I now had to direct my own film. I am not a fan of directing. That is why I had a director. But I had to suck it up and deal with it.
  • I was broke. Like seriously broke but some how I managed to pull it off and still feed everyone.
  • ALL of my production assistants flaked like baklava in the hands of a child. Now I had to do twice the work on set.
  • When trying to secure the first option for the location the contact decided not to communicate anymore. Plan B.
  • During the shoot the very expensive supposedly great camera we were using overheated broke down and thus needed to be rebooted via wifi at Mcdonalds.
  • The main actresses’ car broke down a few blocks from shoot pushing us back. Her boyfriend had to ride with the car back to their place. He happened to be my Assistant Director…
  • And then when it was all said and done the footage, we had bled and sweat over to get, turned out to be formatted incorrectly and so bad that it was unusable. So no film.

Needless to say, there was never a dull moment. Things weren’t all bad we did finish the days earlier than expected, everyone was happily fed each day, and we had a good time.

If I had to do it all again I definitely would have done some things differently. However it is only the fact that I had experienced it in the first place that would make me want to go back and change things. I had a lot of take aways from that that I can now apply to future projects.

I may not have ended up with a finished film but what I got instead was worth just as much. I realize now that no matter the outcome of the task, even if it is failure, I can still take something away from it that will help me in the future.