Auld Lang Syne

“Auld Lang Syne” – what are you saying goodbye to this year?

This time of year makes me a bit nostalgic for what has come before and where I am at the moment. I don’t just mean this emotionally or intellectually, but also when it comes to the career I have been nurturing these past 30-plus years. In the case of my acting career, I could look back and be grateful for all the amazing people and projects I have had the joy to participate in. I can also be hopeful about my present status as a working actor by being, once again, grateful for the many auditions that I have been able to submit for despite the difficulties of the pandemic. As far as my writing goes, I have many projects to finish and a few to rewrite and, hopefully improve to such a degree, that its viability for a future in production stands a better chance. But when it comes to my directing career, I must say that I have most definitely dropped the ball.

"Instant Family"
“Instant Family”

I have found that filmmaking is a joyous and tortuous affair that live simultaneously. I also find that when you combine the writing of the screenplay and then directing said screenplay, it brings its own challenges to the mix. I have directed two features; one finished and released and one finished, but never released. In both cases I was not the original write, but I did make significant changes to the scripts that were brought to me for me to direct. I would love to say that it is much easier to direct someone else’s script. But, in my experience, that was not the case with the film I directed and was released. But we all know this. It is old news to say that making a film can be difficult at best and when it has been shot, edited, and distributed, we can all let out a sigh of relief.

What is more insidious to me, is the fact that there have been a few projects that I started and never finished. Perhaps it was out of fear, or no confidence in my direction or the performances that I didn’t get. It could have been I ran out of money, or passion, or interest in the unfinished projects. The truth is that I lost in faith in myself to finish the projects and do a good job. I abandoned the projects by always putting them further down the schedule at every opportunity. So, now I am at a crossroads with the projects that were one heralded as the next great film that I wrote and directed, to a series of ones and zeroes on hard drives on my desk with a labels of the titles of the projects that once was my main interests. I have on many occasions, sat down on this very chair and fired up those hard drives and loaded them up in Final Cut X Pro, but after a few hours of staring at footage I no longer connected with, I gave up. Sometimes the most courageous decision I can come up with is to let those projects go and never think of them again. This is much harder for me to do than say. I have rediscovered my purpose to tell stories and they lie in the new stories in my head, on paper, and in production meetings.

So, I finally say goodbye to the Christmas ghosts of my past projects and hello to the present works in progress. In all of my life’s endeavors; health, family, friends, and career, I say, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot And days of auld lang syne?”