Updated: Jan 27
I’ve always been a little embarrassed that I don’t dream as big as the actors I work with. I don’t know if it’s built into an actor’s genetic makeup to talk about “making it big”, or how every project they work on is going to be a blockbuster hit later on down the road.
It seems like whenever I produce a show, direct a show, or even write a show . . . the actors somehow have this idealistic optimism. I’ve had actors tell me that they had a dream this short was going to be picked up by Netflix. Is Hollywood the next stop? Will we have [insert famous actor] making a cameo?
Where does this joy come from? This spirit? The complete joy of making art where they're happy on set? I love hearing actors talk. There's just something about it.
But then, when they’re finished, they look at me (the director/producer) and ask what’s going to be next. It’s almost like they want me to lay a blueprint for how I’m going to get this project to their dream. I don’t have a powerpoint or anything for them. Heck, I was so busy organising the shoot I barely had any time to think of what happens after it’s all finished.
So when the actors ask me about the plans for the project, if Netflix is, indeed, going to pick it up, I usually kind of blank and mutter something about “We’re going to put it on . . . and then . . . and . . . ” etc. etc. etc. Then, I finish with a confident, “Let’s get back to work!” as I walk away, patting myself on the back for my deflection skills.
I’m not saying I have low expectations for every project I work on, or that my plans lack direction. But, for me, the journey of making art is . . . primarily the act of making art.
I’m a one step at a time kind of person. If I’m on set, and if I’m working to make art, then my focus isn’t on dreams for the future. It’s on that moment, and the making that art. Before I think about getting on Netflix (the actors’ go-to viewing platform), first I think about getting something finished.
And I feel like that’s my greatest strength and greatest weakness at the same time. On the one hand, focusing on generating content for so long, I have a lot of content to choose from when it comes to producing work.
On the other hand, I’ve been so busy generating content and making art that I’ve fallen short on something that makes art really sweet.
If for no other reason, you should hang around actors because they’re good dreamers. Despite how awkward it can be, I've come to enjoy hearing about actors' dreams, goals, aspirations. It's kind of intoxicating to be surrounded by that level of optimism.
On the complete opposite side, you should definitely hang out with producers because, besides being a buzzkill, we get stuff done.
What about you? Are you a dreamer? Are you practical? What’s your artistic style?