Tonight I went to a play about a pianist, Clara Shumann, a brilliant pianist and composer of the romantic era. The play was her addressing the audience and explaining how frustrated she was by her life. Too many children, too little opportunity to perform, always the wife of… She had such a passion for her art that she made it work somehow. Seven kids, mad husband, the constraints of the world as it was then for a women but she still composed and performed, and lived her life.
And it struck me, what are we if not our passions? What is our life if not the pursuit of what we must do. Sure there are livelihoods to be made, children to raise and bills to pay. These are all necessary and even enjoyable, well the kids are at least. But where does our passion for our art really sit in our daily lives? How easy it is to forget that we have anything but our day-to-day commitments and obligations? But what about our obligation to our soul, our sanity and our art?
So what can we do when we feel like it is all slipping away? Return to the source - watch the films that thrilled you and inspired you to become a filmmaker. Find the screenplay to your favorite film online. Most of them can be found one way or another, and read it…revel in it. Watch documentaries about filmmakers that you admire. There are some amazing ones out right now. I keep recommending the Spielberg one and there’s a great one about Brian De Palmer too.
It’s like falling in love and staying in love, you have to make a routine of reminding yourself what it is that gets you hot…in a cinematic sense that is.
Read about it, obsess about it, plan your time off around exploring the essence of film. We live in LA for Christ’s sake, we are surrounded by film museums and film festivals and specialized independent movie theatres.
Seek out like-minded film nerds and spend hours in Denny’s arguing over deleted scenes in obscure French films, or how insane Scorsese is or why Tarantino is any good at all, or how digital is so much better than film…or not. Find your tribe, populate your imagination with actors, go to plays looking for characters to write into your scripts, or actors to cast in your shorts. Find your lust and hold on tight like you’ll never let go.
If there is one thing I can guarantee it’s that time goes by fast and before you know it you will stop calling yourself a filmmaker because you aren’t making films or even planning to make films. There’s nothing sadder than someone who used to be something.
This Valentine’s Day give yourself the gift of finding your passion for yourself again. Believe that you are worthy of it and focus your world around what you really do. You are a filmmaker damn it, so act like one!!
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, or anything and everything about the NoHo Arts Community, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com. Follow us on Twitter @OfficialNoHo. On Instagram @NoHoArtsDistrict and Facebook @NoHoArtsDistrict.