For years (four, to be precise) I’ve wondered whether we movie-makers have gotten into the best occupation on earth, or if we’re just gluttons for punishment. Who in their right mind would want to spend a month in the feverish, non-stop, stress-filled, running-around-in-circles activity we call making a movie? That naturally leads to the question, are we in our right minds? But this isn’t about getting personal. The question is, why?
Theory number one:
It’s the fun of seeing our friends when we get together.
Well, that could be it. But that can’t be the only reason. I’m sure if we wanted to we could come up with some less hectic way for us to have fun. Bingo, perhaps. Or watching a movie. Sitting around, staring at each other wondering what to do is a luxury I’m sure we’ve longed for when we have seven or eight people involved in a “spirited discussion” over how to film a scene. A bit tiring, to say the least. Aggravating, to say the most. No, it can’t be an innate craving for each other’s company that drives this madness.
Theory number two:
It’s because they want some source of creative output.
There are a lot of other, safer, healthier ways to enjoy creativity than hanging out of a second floor window to clean a smear off of the glass so it’ll look nice for the filming shoot. There are easier, less-frustrating ways to amaze yourself than witnessing first-hand how a strong wind and large cardboard walls do not get along. Burning oneself with hot glue for the sake of a fake door, cutting one’s finger for a bottle that matches Malfhok’s hat, hitting one’s sister on the head with a falling prop, straining one’s arms holding up a blanket background. . . all these things seem a little hard. Why not try water-coloring? Why not make something out of play clay? This theory seems a bit strained. (Like my back after hauling a dozen wall units up two flights of stairs.)
Theory number three:
It’s because they want the praise at the end.
Here at last we’re getting to the core issue. Of course! We knock ourselves out for a month so people will look at the finished project and say “Oooh, ahhh, the boom shows in that shot.” (I’m kidding.) Who doesn’t like praise? But if we do this JUST for the praise at the end, we’re pretty fanatical about it. It took more than the hope of praise at the end to get us through all of that. This theory is practical, but not the end-all answer.
Theory number four:
It’s because they’re computer nuts.
Computer fiends would be a little more accurate. But, for goodness sake, if we wanted to just have the thrill of cutting together clips on the computer, why go to such trouble? Film a glass of water evaporating and put it to some classical music. Why spend months of preparation time making elaborate costumes, sets and props? Why film a whole twenty hours of footage to cut it down to forty-five minutes? The logic here is a bit shaky.
Theory number five:
It’s because it’s part of a world-domination tactic.
This is getting ridiculous.
Theory number six:
It’s because they just want to have fun.
What? Fun, you say? How can you even think that all that was fun? It wasn’t! It was a nightmare! A major stress! A joy! Oops. A joy? How did that get there? Have I lost my mind? (Don’t answer that.) To sum it all up, it was fun. It was more than fun. Aside from the times when the entire cast would be laughing because the lines went wrong again, aside from the near-hysterical fits of giggling when someone fell through a prop, aside from discovering how witty we could be while filming in an uncomfortably warm room, we learned about ourselves. I don’t want that to sound stereotypical. We really did. I learned when I needed to stop for a bit and when I needed to push. I learned that it’s okay if a prop doesn’t look like it came from WETA. I learned that I have a real problem with delegating jobs to other people. (I also learned how to make fake ice-cream, but that doesn’t count.)
To sum up, we’re addicted, and that’s all there is to it. It’s easy to say “never again.” But then we review the outtakes, the behind the scenes fun stuff, and the “inside jokes.” The way this shot looks great and that one could use some work. The way we get excited over each finished scene. The way we learned to work together and make things happen, it was worth every minute.
Will we make another movie? Absolutely. This year? Well. . . we’ll have to see. My metal hot-glue burns need a little more time to heal.