The Challenge of Growing

[flickr id=”6211074514″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]The frenetic pace of the Creative Producing program continues.

Everyone is exhausted.  Some are hopeless at times, faced with a seemingly staggering mountain of work ahead, new project ideas to pursue and new concepts to understand.

Growing is challenging.  We often forget when we’re going through the motions of everyday life how hard it can be to do what it takes just to grow.

I knew as soon as the program started that I was in for a fast and wild ride.  I had come in with what I thought was a pretty good sense of movies and storytelling, but I soon learned – to my delight – that the rabbit hole goes so much deeper.

Even though I’ve been at Columbia for less than 2 months, the boundaries of my understanding have been pushed and expanded over and over again.  It’s been exciting and exhilarating for me, and its boosting my confidence as well.  All of the limits in my understanding and all of the false premises I’ve held about moviemaking are being challenged and replaced with a sense of how things really are in the movie industry.  I have the feeling that by the time I graduate from Columbia, I’ll truly be ready for anything.

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The challenge, for now, is overcoming the obstacles to my own growth.  Keeping up with the pace.  Staying centered and balanced.  Taking things one step at a time, even when I want to take more.

In my Screenwriting class yesterday, our professor shared an analogy in story development with us that applies to being in grad school at Columbia as well.  When you’re writing a story, it should seem like your protagonist has a number of different options before them, a number of different pathways they can choose.  As they go through one door and close it behind them, their options shrink: they have, in a sense, defined a part of their journey by that choice.  As they continue on their path, their journey becomes more and more defined, until finally they are faced with only one door: the inevitable ending to their quest, based on the choices they made.

I know, looking back, that my time at Columbia will make sense to me.  That there will be a day in which I’ll have figured out my approaches.  I’ll know what I need to apply as a filmmaker and producer, I’ll have a plan, and my work will be to just put one foot in front of the other.

But right now, it feels like I’m standing and looking at 20 open doors, wondering which one to enter.  But I think that’s the point of being here at Columbia.

We’ll never be able to explore every pathway.  We’re not supposed to.  All we can do is take Columbia one step at a time, hope that we will be able to learn something about ourselves from the doors we choose and remember that even as we struggle, we have just as much to share with and give to others as we always have.