Keeping Yourself Engaged
The best way to stay engaged is to never set a date. The span betwixt a ring and a legally binding contract ain’t just 30 steps down an aisle. Here’s a helpful tip, if you never make any decisions, it’s impossible to plan an event. Wait. Why am I—a happily married person—trying to help people not get married. OH! I mean how to stay engaged in a project. Got it. Sometimes I get so confused by the titles of my posts. Why must the English language be so malleable and filled with double entendre?
When you’ve been working on a series for five years—and this post actually marks five years, our first shoot day was February 7, 2009—sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself engaged. I’ve been ruminating on the machinations of four super-powered roommates and one confused, inter-dimensional ne’er-do-well for 1,826 days now. Prior to this, I’d plan out multi-episode storylines and they’d fizzle out within a couple episodes. Either because of a falling out within the production team or because, without an active audience, the story would lose it’s new-story luster. This story just happened to be the one that we were working on with YouTube started picking up steam. It happen to be the first one with a cast member capable of generating some traffic our way. It the first time where a significant amount of people kept wanting to know the answer to the big question: What happens next? That does more than anything else to keep me engaged as a creator. PoPs was always designed as a 10-episode thing. Did I think we would still be working on it five years later? I don’t think I would have been able to conceive of that. I’ve always been interested in each of our stories. The time they took to make never seemed to mean anything, prior to this. I mean, it’s not like we were doing anything else. Being in production on something like Green’s Nursery or Twisted Thicket held nothing but vague ideas of festival submissions and the feeling of working on SOMETHING. I wasn’t just wasting my time. I was telling stories. I even made episode one of PoPS because I wanted to enter it in a pilot competition. That was the main impetus. Putting it online was essentailly the afterthought when it didn’t get selected. Now I only submit to festivals with a web series category and it’s just to get the submission requirement for an IMDb page.
Still, five years of thinking on one story can start to wear a little thin. Every once in awhile you need to break it up. That’s why we made Channel Battle:
We shot it in one night and a week and a half later I was putting it up on our page. It felt great. Sometimes I’ve worked on projects for friends that were a switch-up. My buddy Suede, the villain on PoPS, is a musician and he needed a show of his edited:
It was like 20’ish songs, 3 cameras, and then several editing passes based on notes. After that project I was relieved to get back to working on PoPS. Back to the land of linear storytelling in a fictional land.
But I’ve planned maybe three shorts in the last year that I’ve back-burner’ed because I didn’t want to lose momentum on PoPS. I was seriously trying to get one together to shoot in October, but I realized it would conflict with trying to get episode 8 exteriors shot before the cold season. PoPS took precedent. Still, I’m feeling a little restless. We have to get our last 3 shoot days of episode 8 done, and it’s looking like early March for those, but I need a little side project. Enter the Studio 360 Scary Short Film Fest. A 30-second horror film, to be judged by Wes Craven. There’s no real prize to speak of, it just sounds fun. Surely, we can make one of those happen in the next month.
So I suppose the best way to stay engaged is to take little breaks if you start to get worn down. Focus on a different story, if only for a couple days.
Thanks for reading.