Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turning Thirty

Today I turn 30 years old.

Wow. It's a shocking number for a lot of reasons. My mother was 30 when I was born, for one. And I am nowhere near having a child. So there's that. Darren and I had always said we would make a film before we turned 30 and we achieved that goal. But on the negative side, we were lamenting today that were were on set for "Humboldt County," shooting our first feature, back in October of 2006. Yikes. That's way too long to not be shooting, I think. Though, in looking back, it's not like we've been slacking off. It was simply that releasing an independent film takes a lot of time and it delayed our work on our next feature. And now our next feature script is simply taking time to take shape. Sigh. I would have liked to have made another feature by now to be sure. We've always admired blue-collar filmmakers like Woody Allen and Sydney Lumet more than the current crop of filming superstars like P.T. Anderson or David Fincher because no matter what, Woody and Sydney made film after film after film.

Perhaps Darren and I aren't quick enough writers, I don't know. Maybe we'll get quicker as we gain more experience, I don't know. But a year ago, at this time, we were gearing up to premiere "Humboldt County" to the world at SXSW 2008. It was a heady time. And, looking back, things could hardly have gone better for us from there. We sold the film to Magnolia, released it theatrically and now appear to be building a sizable audience on DVD. Still, sometimes I feel like an aging rockstar reveling in past hits. I feel much more comfortable focusing on what's next. And what's next for me is my thirties, and hopefully, many more films.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Writing and Moving...

When some of my friends move, they say "I bet it won't be as bad this time." Not me. Every time I move, my inner monologue goes something like this:

"This is going to suck. It's going to suck harder than I can even imagine. Prepare yourself, Darren, for complete suckage. Prepare yourself and maybe it will not suck as hard."

And yet no matter how much I prepare myself for said suckage, I inevitably reach a moment -- where I'm sweaty and my arms are sore and there's still WAY more stuff that needs to be moved than has already been moved -- and the whole escapade has fully exceeded my suck-expectations and made me regret moving. I always end up deciding that I will never move again, and I condemn my idiot self for not adequately preparing for this level of sucky-ness.

And that, my dear LCLs, is the writing process. Or, at least, the writing process as it pertains to Danny and me. You see, we always go into a script (or even a rewrite within a particular script) trying to be fully prepared -- it's going to suck, it's going to be so hard, we're going to plunge into the depths of despair and depression -- and then we inevitably fall DEEPER into depression and reach GREATER depths of despair than we ever imagined.

We've always (so far at least) somehow maneuvered our way through the dark times, but we're constantly overwhelmed with the fear that each new challenge will be the one that finally bests us.

And I think, frankly, that that's how it's always going to be. There might even be some small comfort in that. Because if a script (or a move) was somehow less challenging than I thought it was going to be, it would probably mean that I was coasting, or at least that I'm not trying to get better. And if I'm not trying to get better, then I'm probably just getting worse. So I think I've finally come to a place of being OK with the roller coaster, a place of self-awareness that these dark times are an important (and positive) part of my process.

Unfortunately, being OK and self-aware doesn't mean I forgive myself for not preparing more for these damn dark TIMES.


p.s. I'm thinking of moving. I bet it won't be as bad this time.