You can't just choose to be an astronaut, wish as hard as you like but if the thought never leaves your mind, it simply can't become a reality. However, if you look at all of the requirements of being an astronaut and work backward to find a way of achieving those things, you'll either succeed or know why you've failed and can try again. The same is true of any aspiration.
We humans are helplessly bad at predictions, by our very nature we filter out information we don't like and create optimistic, warped conclusions. We evolved to do this. That doesn't mean that you should shoot any lower, quite the contrary. It means the mental map you built to get you there doesn't show the rivers, valleys or volcanoes that will slow you down or stop you in your tracks. If you can learn to avoid excluding negative information in your decision-making, then maybe you can simply walk around the volcano before finding yourself engulfed in lava.
Analogies aside, my point is that making a good plan is the only way to reliably achieve ambitious goals without a good amount of luck.
I'd rather rely on logical reasoning than luck, any day.
With that in mind, I'd like to briefly explain why we're making the films we are, and not shooting for the stars just yet.
We want to make some incredible films, we want to make a whole bunch. But to do that there are some things we want to get good at first. The quickest way to reach that goal is to be wrong.
Ideally, we'd like to be wrong a lot, in many different ways, in a very short amount of time.
So to do that we devised a system, we'd reverse engineer stories around production goals, so that we could focus on different areas of filmmaking and get our hands dirty way ahead of the competition (whoever that is). That way we can learn hard and fast, mess up a ton in the process and come out on top.
Here are some of the areas we've focused on in our productions:
- In Shadows - Fast turnaround times. We wrote, shot, edited, composed music, colour graded, sound designed and uploaded in a little over 24 hours.
- Coffee Break - Logistical nightmares. We had 72 hours and we wanted to make things as difficult for ourselves as possible, we shot in a single day in 8 vastly seperate locations, rigged explosives, shot with multiple cameras, created stunt tables and dust explosions. All for the purpose of seeing how we did under pressure.
- Stuck - Lighting. We spent a lot of time experimenting before we shot this short, and we learned a ton while doing so, we wanted a higher production value than all our previous shorts and I think we achieved that. An abstract narrative helped us focus on the production and less on the acting, (Sean will attest, he is not a professional actor).
For our next production, which had to stall for almost half a year while we all finished up certain things in our lives, we'll be moving up to another level. We're focusing on three things: Dialogue/Acting, Action Choreography/Editing and Production Value.
We want this next short to be a level above all that we've done before, in every way, from music to visual effects to title design. And we're well on our way to getting there.
This short is the second to last before things change. We have some great stories we want to tell, but for that, we need to finish our initial learning experiences. These good stories require more than just us and our sub-par acting. We need real actors, a professional sound recordist, many pieces of rented equipment, a set (we've already started constructing one) and some very difficult VFX shots. We're working on all of these and can't wait to show the world.
Until then, it's back to the land of mistakes.