filmmaking, bloomsbury style
Sometimes the combination of circumstances becomes so wild and crazy that you have to sit up and pay attention. A few weeks ago I discovered that I was being sent to London for work (I am helping out with a very cool documentary film project). I love London and they really do it up for Christmas (think “Love Actually”) so I was excited. But there was another reason that it felt so fortuitous.
As I have mentioned before,probably verging on as nauseum by now, I am a fan of Aaron Sorkin and I often joke that there’s a part waiting for me in something he’ll do in the future. As it turns out, I have two artist friends in London who are LA-bound and we were talking about The Newsroom since they will soon be in the show’s casting orbit.
When I first found out about my upcoming trip to their side of the pond, I joked that we should do a short film together, something Sorkin-esque, to warm up the inevitable. I admit, I was probably about 50% joking and 50% serious. Turns out they were 100% serious and not only did I find myself writing a roughly 8 minute short for the three of us to film but, last Sunday night, we filmed this simple and intense short film in my rented hotel room in the Bloomsbury area.
After they left, I sat there next to my half-packed suitcase in wonderment. Not just because it was such a fun and creative shoot but because we actually pulled it off.
I usually say that my ability to write is a combination of literary learning (reading plays, reading screenplays, taking classes, reading books on writing) and complete innocent bravery. I dive into certain projects without realizing that they should freak me out. This was definitely in that category.
I suppose my beginner producing efforts can be described the same way- as a combination of reading about creating work (Christine Vachon is my favorite, and surprising many of my top books on producing have “killer” in the title.. which is weird) and then just brazenly moving forward. While this might not necessarily be the best practice, I always have people who are significantly more experienced around me so I don’t completely come unhinged.
But there is something about simply going for it. Announcing that you are filming a short overseas on the one spare night you have, and then doing just that. I think it’s probably because of all the learning and then in spite of all the learning.
And it’s fun to be wildly ridiculous, especially when you can make those seemingly fantastical visions a reality. I think I might be hooked on that, on starting with what seems impossible and refusing to accept that definition.
I did get to soak in quite a bit of the city’s holiday splendor as well, and eat the best gluten-free pasta I’ve ever had. And now we move into post-production on a short that started as one emailed missive- “I’m coming to London in two weeks.”
Here’s to a new year filled with amazing opportunities that we cannot help but embrace with a huge YES.