2018 In Review (Part 3: Reflection)
Wedding season wasn’t technically over for me, as I had 2 weddings left, one in September and one in October. But let me tell you, I was burnt out in ways I had never been before. I had moved out, taken a full load of summer courses, and completed a whole summer’s worth of weddings. And it was taking an unknown toll. I had already begun contacting couples saying I wasn’t going to be able to complete their wedding project with the time I had available through the remainder of the semester. I honestly was becoming disinterested in working on video related things for the time being (which is rare) and late in September, I found myself in the cardiology wing at Huntsville Hospital with irregular heart rhythms. That same weekend I was supposed to film a wedding for a really good friend.
Rest assured everything is 100% fine, but the inside joke in my family is that events in my life have to be over the top EXTRA before I will recognize, learn, and change. The doctors said they couldn’t trace the heart palpitations back to anything, but I know in my heart it was stress related, and it was God’s way of telling me, “Son, you need to slow down”. And so for the remainder of this year, I didn’t work on anything video related, save for a few school jobs here and there.
I was raised on the “When a task is just begun, never leave it until it’s done…” motto and so having to make the choice of letting couples know I wouldn’t be able to capture their wedding was not fun or easy for me. I don’t quit. I push through. I sojourn. And here I was, having to face the reality that I had signed up for too much. Luckily I had some friends, Nathan and Jonathan over at Cardinal Films (go check them out —> cardinalfilms.co ) who were able to take my place and I’m extremely grateful I had people I could call on to help me.
In the midst of having to let go of those weddings, it provided some much needed time of reflection and resetting. I soon realized that there were other projects I wanted to focus on instead of weddings. I mentioned in my previous post, that weddings will always mean something to me. It was the first phase of my filmmaking career where I learned that people loved my work, were willing to compensate me for it, and I learned that this passion of mine no longer had to just be a hobby. I could live off this. Overall I had enjoyed the stories I was able to tell, but I needed something else, and I didn’t want to get “typecast” as a wedding filmmaker. So I backed away from weddings and I rekindled my seemingly lost love for creating narrative films. Stories that I feel personally connected to. I realized I needed desperately to get back to that. And so I began writing. Writing everything I could. The notes app on my phone is literally 30 notes deep of legit film ideas I could do. Inspiration will come in random flashes and I immediately type it down. Don’t know how many I will flesh out into scripts, but case in point, being forced to slow down and think allowed me to refocus on the dreams and goals I’ve had since I was a kid: I want to make movies that people pay to go to the theater and see. Period. There is nothing I want to do more. What I’ve got to do now is concentrate those goals on stories that matter and stories that inspire. That’s easier said than done.
So 2018 is a mixed bag for me. I feel that over the past couple of years, I’ve really had to focus on myself in ways I wasn’t comfortable with. I’ve had to confront things that I don’t enjoy. There have been times where I’ve invested time and energy into people and things that have bitten me in the back. But film has always been there. It’s been the one constant in my life where I can see the immediate results of my pouring into this craft and investing in this craft. It’s been “loyal” to me. Sometimes I feel I obsess over it a little too much, but I truly believe that the time I’m investing in this, when I could be doing other “fun” things, will pay off in ways I can’t imagine. I accomplished a lot personally this year, but when looking at the numbers, I wish I had done more. And that’s ok. With weddings, the output was high and I had something new every two weeks it seemed. With my new focus, that won’t be the case and I am finding ways to be ok with that. It doesn’t mean my work matters any less, or I am failing as a filmmaker. It just means I’m being more purposeful. And that’s my goal for 2019. Be more purposeful in all aspects of my life. And it’s my hope that I start to build the foundations of a future I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid.