Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Learning to Stop
Long shoots suck.
Here's the thing: Some shoots are going to be long ones. There are unexpected delays, unplanned changes, unhappy turns of events.
In other words, things happen. Still, there are ways to avoid overlong shoots. Careful planning, thorough prep, communication with cast and crew, scheduling. I think, generally, I try to do all that. The thing that is difficult to overcome is my desire for perfection. Not that my work is perfect, but sometimes on some shoots, I just keep trying for it, long after I should simply call it a day.
According to the Guinness book of records it took Stanly Kubrick 125 takes to capture the scene were Shelley Duvall climbs the stairs near the end of "The Shining. I'm no Kubrick, but I think that I understand him. It's going to be on film forever. You want to get it right.
But in my quest for getting it right, sometimes I have forgotten about or ignored the schedule, believing the end result woudl be good enough to erase the the negatives. And though the end result has generally been acceptable to me, it has not as happy a day as it should have been for the client, or even for the cast, when the project has been long overdue.
When I directed for the stage, I was a perfectionist, but not so much so that I ignored the fact that there was an audience buying tickets expecting a show to be up and running opening night. I think that we have seen recent examples in the press illustrating what can happen when those types of realities are ignored in pursuit of something amazing, breathtaking, etc. Not only is the audience you are expecting to wow let down, but you put you cast, your crew, and your reputation at risk. So, as a director for the stage, I learned acceptance. You have to, or you go crazy.
Now I have to apply that same attitude to my work as a filmmaker. There's a time when you just have to sit back and say "Enough."