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-


  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.

  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.

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


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