The perfectionistic disappointment I had towards myself throughout October, that was reinforced by one-sided thinking, spiraled out in November. It would not completely fizzle out until December.
Since the beginning of the year, making Space Prairie has been my identity. As I reflected, yesterday, “If the film wasn’t a triumphant production, I wasn’t a triumphant person.” And in my mind, my performance on our first day of filming was underwhelming. I obsessed over what I should’ve done, or what I could’ve done, or why didn’t I think of that? instead of celebrating what I had done.
Because of negative thinking, my enthusiasm collapsed and fatigue took over. Before our first day of filming, I was exhausted with schoolwork and the pressure of getting the film off of the launching pad. When the magical day came when we began rolling tape, all perfection became vulnerable to reality—the reality of making the film in the shared physical (and not the individual mind). The imperfection of our footage consumed me as my thoughts spiraled.
Though there were reasonable regrets that I had of my direction, I believe that anything we would’ve or could’ve gotten on camera would have met the same scrutiny. You see, the fact that what was captured on tape wasn’t the exact pigmentation of the scene as was in my head, was enough to elicit scrutiny.
After month and month of preparing the way for production, I think I’d reached a point where I believed that dreaming about the film was making it. After season and season of asking people, “Do you want to be a part of the film?” anything else was a distant gleam on the horizon. When the dreaming ended and the reality of it began, I was taken aback. I had to adjust to it. That adjustment involved understanding how to cope with perfectionism. Space Prairie was no longer an idyllic fantasy, it was real. My fear was that I couldn’t live up to the potential Space Prairie had to be everything I desired it to be.
Before production began, I tucked this fear away and refused to offer it any validity. After production began, I offered it validity. “Am I ruining the film by making it?” (This is a continuation of the thoughts I express in A Reflection on October.)
Following our day of filming on September 28th, were two weekends of scheduled filming—sabotaged by gray, gloomy skies. Thankfully, we didn’t film on any of those weekends because I needed this time to allow the blisters on my feet (caused by the boots I wore on the 28th) to heal. It was during this time, that my thoughts drifted into the mire of discouragement.
Three weeks after our day of filming, was a beautiful, sunny, gorgeous weekend. On this mid-October weekend, my family left Illinois for Alabama and then Panama City Beach, Florida to be with family. The trip was an escape from the looming presence of perfectionism that had ensnared me—I abandoned it for fresh air. I needed to distance my mind from the film.
On the weekend after returning from the beach, we had a Space Prairie cast gathering introducing our newest member of the cast, Myranda. You’ll meet her, later today, in Space Prairie: Introducing Myranda. Anyway, after this gathering, I still needed time to distance myself from the film so that I could think objectively.
Enter November, I focused on schoolwork—though I was tired. Midway through the month, my family took off for Nashville, Tennessee. My Mom, in addition to her many other “hats”, is a professional songwriter. Annually or every other year, my family has taken songwriting trips to Nashville. We love Nashville. It’s our third home. (Our second is Tucson, Arizona.)
It was here, in Nashville, that I began to recover from my discouragement. I enjoyed our time together as a family, and the activities we did: from a walk in the park to tossing a Frisbee. Also, it was here that I read the biblical books of Daniel and the Gospel of Matthew. As I wrote, yesterday, “the positivity and power of scripture washed over me.”
Upon returning from our trip to Tennessee, was another Space Prairie cast gathering. The day after we got back, Jeremiah, Emily, Myranda, and I had a Space Prairie rehearsal (on November 15th). It was the first time Emily and Myranda got to step in front of the camera. We rehearsed several scenes where each of us interact with each other—in costume! In addition, we recorded voiceovers for a short film—a teaser for Space Prairie and Wes Brooks Productions, 2015. It is called, With Each Onward Dawn. It will be released, tomorrow!
With the passage of time, I began to heal as I distanced myself from the thoughts and feelings that drove my discouragement in October and early November. In November, I determined that production on Space Prairie would come to a pause. We would be in a hiatus until the arrival of the New Year. (This would benefit us during the busyness of the Christmas season.) During this hiatus, however, I worked to determine where we’d film once January set in.
With the entrance of Myranda—the completion of the cast needed to film beyond Scene 1, we aimed our focus on the indoor scenes as winter and its leafless trees rolled along. Space Prairie is a primarily outdoor film, but contains several indoor scenes mainly set in the household of our central characters. We now needed a place to film in—a place I hadn’t yet determined.
After month upon month of asking people, “Do you want to be in the film?” I took it for granted that we would have a household to film in after each “Yes!” came in. I now had to find the homeowner that would be enthused about our project, and would be willing to open up their home to us. I discovered this was a harder thing to ask than “Do you want to be in the film?” This story, the current status of Space Prairie, and my perspective on it, continues in A Reflection on December.
Among the other highlights of the rest of November: I saw my best friend, James, make his theatrical debut as Leonato in a performance of Much Ado About Nothing. My family also celebrated Thanksgiving with my grandparents and aunt and uncle in Missouri.
November saw me ease out of the negative thoughts that stemmed from my perfectionism, and December has seen the complete eradication of my former perspective, with an all new outlook.
2014 comes to a close with three more posts. Coming up… Space Prairie: Meet Myranda.
Upwards and onwards,