So I signed back up to shootingpeople.org a website and resource for budding writers, actors, filmmakers and all things related to film. I have not used it for a few years as it is a few years since I last made a film. Now that I am on the lookout for a producer to get my next project rolling, it seemed a good time to actually take some sort of action.
Having not been on the site for a good long while, I decided to take a little look around, especially as I’m paying for the service. I came across a pitch section that I am pretty sure was not on the site before. Basically, you pitch your project and ask for what you’re after – a producer in my case – and hopefully said person will see it on the site and get in touch.
As I have always said, film and television are collaborative, you need others to do good work. The pitching of scripts or stories, however, introduces another element of the creative process that some like to ignore or feel themselves to be above; acceptance and the need to be appreciated.
There will always be those people who proclaim that they do not care whether they are liked or accepted, they are going to do their own thing. Whilst this is, to a degree, laudable, only the exceptionally talented can really take this stance. If you are lucky enough to be considered exceptional amongst your peers, people will want to work with you, your talent allowing you to pick and choose your collaborators. Even so, the exceptional still have to display their talents – be accepted – initially before they can become choosy.
The truth is we human beings crave appreciation, some more so than others, but we all have someone in our lives, whether it be work life or personal, that we want appreciation and recognition from. The pantomime that is the annual Academy Awards, in these cynical times where everybody tries to show they are above such things, invites derision in some quarters. It is overlong, self-important, self-congratulatory and indulgent. It still matters. No matter what social media might spout; it’s sexist, it’s racist, it’s run by old farts, all of which is true, it still does not take away from its relevance.
It’s not just the Oscars. The Golden Globes, Palm D’or, Baftas, Emmys, they all matter to the content creators; writers, directors, makeup, set design, cameramen and women, special effects and every other type of job that is involved in film and television production. Though winning the awards is obviously nice, it is the acknowledgement of your peers, people who understand what you do, that gratifies.
Before all of that – or not, which is the reality for most – you have to persuade others of your vision, make them believe that you’re worth that which is most precious to them; their time. Not only must they believe that you’re worth it, they have to believe the project is worth it. Even after all of that, a good script, a good team, actors who are committed, you can still end up with a project that fails.
It takes only one believer, that one person whose opinion you value, that you respect enough to want to show them that their encouragement or attention was not unwarranted, that you have the wherewithal to push through with your project, that you can overcome the fears and get your work done.
Of course, your belief in your own project is where it all starts. Unless you are one of those outliers who happens to write something brilliant first time out of the gate, you’ve been working on things, rejecting things, rewriting, feeling disappointment when you thought you had nailed it, only to find out that it maybe isn’t quite….right.
A creative endeavour may not be necessary for existence, like oxygen or food and shelter, but for our sanity, to feel alive, to get that perspective one may never consider, life needs the content creators, the writers, the filmmakers, the creatives to believe, to feel relevant, to create.