Perfection vs. Execution
The video below took place after I had my production epiphany for episode 5. For me that’s the moment when you capture something so perfect and wonderful that it doesn’t matter how hard production is, it’s all worth it. Ep5 has been such a roller coaster of complications and victories that it’s hard to know where I stand at any given moment, but I do know that as tired as I was in the video below, I was genuinely happy and excited about how things were going.
Let’s pick up where we left off last week. I said that the 38-setup intro sequence we were shooting last week was going to be the most technically difficult of the shoot. That’s probably true, but we got it all and the footage is amazing. We even had a massive scheduling miscommunication resulting in me sitting on the ground and re-organizing the entire sequence shooting schedule in a couple minutes, the destruction of our one professional light, a misunderstood medical emergency resulting in me having to essentially puppeteer one of our actors, and we still finished an hour ahead of schedule.
We got our crane shots:
The title of the post this week is in reference to a comment someone left on our production blog. For weeks I’ve been talking about all the complications that have arisen and how we’ve been dealing with them and carrying on. This person said, “Don’t let perfection stand in the way of execution.” That is staggeringly good advice and we’ve been very good about following it. If we were waiting for perfection, we’d still be sitting at the starting line. We have had the entire scope of human drama stop scheduled shoot days for episode 5; I’m not even exaggerating right now, our current list of reasons for rescheduling includes a birthday and a death. We’ve pushed ourselves so hard and fast that several of us woke up the next morning feeling like someone had beaten us in our sleep with a sack full of bitterness. Locations gone, offers of help rescinded, actors dropping out or suddenly incapacitated. I realize that I might sound like I’m complaining again, but I’m actually chuckling as I type this. Everything has tried to kill Ep5, but we’re still on our feet and so far the footage we’ve gotten puts every other episode to shame. I don’t know if I’m tempting fate right now, but we’re going to get through this, and Ep5 is going to be outstanding.
My general thoughts on the issue of perfection versus execution is that if you want to turn your idea into anything tangible you have to set your sights on execution every time. The only time your project is perfect is as a pure and unsoiled concept. The only way to actually force it into reality as a tangible thing is through a series of limitation-imposed compromises. But if you can roll with the punches, you have a great group of people working with you, and you work as hard as you possibly can, you can still achieve something closer to perfection than you ever imagined. That’s probably why I’m still doing this.