There's always fear and despair

Skipping stones with my Nephew on Vestmannaeyjar

I've finished countless creative projects- everything from short live action films to music albums to video games- to books- to two hour long animated films- and more-
On EVERY project I really care about there were periods of FEAR and DESPAIR- 

The easiest projects wherein I felt NO FEAR and no DESPAIR were the paid gigs or the projects that were not any expression that meant anything to me-

The projects that meant something to me were/are the hardest- I'm feeling it off and on with the game I'm working on right now- 

The fear "is this even going to work? Is it all broken?" 

And the despair "this is terrible, its never going to work I should just quit- its doomed"

I have a TON of finished projects but I still feel this fear and despair- I don't think it ever goes away if you continue to challenge yourself and push your limits-

If you stand still and do whats comfortable- what you already know you are capable of you don't feel the fear and despair-

If you don't put any of your sincere self into your work- if you don't risk any bit of yourself in it- if you don't leave yourself vulnerable you don't feel the fear or despair-

There's a lot of other things I could be creating that would probably be more widely accepted but it wouldn't do anything for me- it wouldn't make me FEEL anything-

The flip side to the fear and despair is you are feeling these things because you are gambling- you are risking a part of yourself- the bad feelings are the feelings of a potential "loss"-

BUT since you are gambling you can also WIN- which FEELS great- which creates real JOY and happiness in your being- 

The past few years I've become well versed in the world of cryptocurrency and have been investing/trading in that space- that space taught me that if you don't take big risks you can't make big gains-

In creating things- if you don't invest emotionally you can't win emotionally- if it's paid work you will be paid currency but that currency can't buy you the emotional fulfillment-

The currency can buy you drugs that you can use to attempt to experience external/artificial positive emotions but those don't last as long as the real ones-

There's this thing I've seen creep into the "creative" culture- it's this emotional disconnect in peoples work- this hipster apathy- work thats says nothing/stands for nothing other than snark or smarminess-

This people are risking nothing so they'll gain nothing for creating these works- they might gain currency but they'd be making a lot more in crypto markets anyway ^_^ So I don't see the point in doing it-

Back to the fear and despair- if you have these feelings take that as a good thing as it means you are BRAVE enough to take emotional risks- you are brave enough to take a chance on sincere expression and that's a great thing-

So you're going to have these feels- just keep your head down and keep moving forward-

One more thing on getting it done- I don't know if I read this quote somewhere else or made it up myself haha-

When you are on a long journey with a large project- don't look out at the horizon while you are moving forward on your journey because it will seem like you aren't moving any closer to it-

So for a project- stop comparing your current progress to the finished project- the finished project is the horizon so it will always seem 1000 kilometers away-

Instead stare down at your feet- these small steps on your path are progress- focus on the small bits of your project that you are getting done day by day and before you know it you will be at your destination-

I used this perspective to finish my three animated feature films- each film was made up of 1200 - 2000 animated shots- each day I had a shot quota- it ranged from 5 -15 shots- 

I stopped focusing on the finished film and instead focused on those 5-15 shots each day- with each one I finished I moved another small step forward-

On my current game project I use daily checklists using Hack N Plan and OneNote to keep track of my small steps-

My mind will still sometimes look up at the horizon and freak me out with the fear and despair and that's when I remind myself to stare down at my feet-



Comments

  1. As I am working on the screenplay for my first animated short film I am feeling this fear. Instead of asking myself if it is possible make something happen in the stop motion world, it happens nonetheless. Even if I loathe the idea of animating a 2D businessman on his smartphone without any 2D animation experience, I will do it because I know it will send an important message in the film. Just keep on going whilst listening to the old Forever Alone Filmmaking Podcast. I'll get there. That's all that matters.

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  2. So true! I think that sometimes artists will quit when the fear comes. Your advice is good and I know it comes from experience.

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  3. so good to go back at this place and get motivated like good old days!

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