Stumbling Forward

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Lately I’ve been feeling that my work just isn’t very good.

I’m not slacking off in class or neglecting my homework.  I’m truly putting forth the best effort I know how to.  I’m just traversing the learning curve that is required to become a good producer.  And I’m finding that the curve is steep.

There comes a point any time you’re becoming something new or fulfilling a new role in which you’re in the thick of learning, when it seems like all the feedback you’re getting is filled with constructive criticism (or just plain criticism), and when it seems like you have to fight an uphill battle just to take a few steps forward.

After intently focusing on becoming a producer for the past few months, I’m convinced that to be an excellent producer is one of the hardest jobs in the world.  It requires dipping in to every field connected to your film, and even some that aren’t, and being able not only to understand the difference between work that is brilliant or mediocre, but knowing how to convey to artisans how they can make their work better.  This requires understanding every job connected to your film production well enough so that you can “talk the talk” with those you’re working with, and hopefully be able to inspire them to the actions that are in the highest good of your movie.

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A writer can simply focus on creating a good script; a director can focus on how to take that script and tell it through observable actions on screen.  A producer has to man the helm so that what is created not only has brilliant writing, directing, acting, editing, sound, special effects, etc., but also must be a sellable, commercially viable product.  The buck for everything truly stops with the producer, from a project’s start to its finish, and as I prepare myself to be a successful producer there seems to be no end to the learning curve.

Many of us Creative Producing students have been up to our necks this semester, trying to take in the information we’re learning and apply it as best we can.  And I know that at least for me, I’ve been stuck in that particularly frustrating part of the learning curve in which it feels like I keep submitting work that just isn’t up to my potential.

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The good news, it seems, is that what I’m experiencing is common.  A professor of mine told me recently that “this is the point of the semester in which it can seem like all hope is lost,” but by the end it gets brighter, and students tend to feel more confident and fulfilled.

So I’m not sweating these bumps.  Who cares if I’m not in love with every treatment I write right now or if I stumble on a pitch?  Filmmaking is not a career for perfectionists.

Sometimes the only way to learn is by stumbling forward.