There are 24 hours in a day.
People with office jobs like myself, spend 8 hours of that working. When you add in an hour getting ready, eating breakfast, an hour of exercise, eating lunch, an hour commuting, an hour cooking dinner (and eating yet again), two hours of quality time with my wife, and finally seven hours of sleep, you're left with 3 hours that may or may not even be there since days don't always go as planned.
For a person that values their creative downtime, much like a grade-schooler values recess, those leftover 3 hours of my day are a vital source of joy and self-worth, and I'm constantly trying to figure out how to gain more of them; and maybe more importantly, not be so mentally exhausted when I get to them. The obvious solution here would be to turn those 8 hours of work into 8 hours of profitable creative playtime so that I can make money while playing and continue living this life I've grown accustomed to living. However, making any kind of art form profitable is no easy task, and in most cases, seems to happen unexpectedly over the course of one's career. So for now I'm left with that small fluctuating window of playtime that comes and goes with the passing of the days, and that's fine.
Working creatively around a 9-5 desk job has taught me to be proficient with how I mentally spend my time. I often find myself developing stories and outlines in the shower, on a run, sitting in traffic, or over lunch at my desk job. My screen is covered in sticky notes with character arcs and plot lines. I've found that the most important thing for me is to, despite the seemingly oppressive nature of the 40-hour work week, just keep on playing; to keep on writing scripts, and to keep on making movies. Finding time to create will never be easy around work, marriage, and will indubitably get even trickier if and when my wife and I decide to have kids in the future; but if creativity is a priority, the time and energy seems to find me. Because creative stimulation is essential for my well being and my wife knows this.
While shooting MEOW she spent the night at my parent's place because we shot all night and our apartment was so full of film equipment that there was literally no place for her to sleep. When she got home that morning and found me splayed out among the wreckage, after the hurricane of light stands and bounce boards had decimated our apartment, she just sat beside me as I awoke from my stupor and smiled saying, "how'd it go?" I grinned groggily and replied, "awesome." Several breakdowns about the state of our apartment and the importance of our impending wedding would follow in the next few days but still, she knows what makes me happy and I hope I can be as selfless as her someday.
So on paper this 12 minute movie about a young woman and her possibly demonic cat is exactly that. A short and silly horror movie. Simply meant as a short vacation from the seriousness of life where we can poke fun at some of our fears and anxieties and gasp and laugh at how ridiculous they can be. Still, spending countless hours, days, weeks, even months, crafting this thing amidst our wedding and forcing my wife from the comfort of her own home to sleep at my parent's house for the sake of 12 minutes of cinematic escapism is surely insane, right? I assure you that my landlord definitely thought it was. So it has to be more than that.
After making this movie and many others I've learned exactly what I stated above. Making this movie is my chance to play as an adult; and not just play, but to flex those creative muscles and get better at playing. For me it's as important as physical exercise, and I think the rest of the crew would agree. They would have to value the importance of making creative work as much as I do, otherwise lord knows why they would agree to work 3 back to back 12 hour shoots over a weekend for no pay. Creative expression for the sake of creative expression is important for ourselves and our community. It's our break between the commercials.
As I get older I'm constantly becoming more conscious of how I spend my time and I've developed a compulsive will to constantly be making something. Anything. And I think it's all in hopes that I could eventually turn that 8 hours of "work" into 8 hours of "play". For now it's a fantasy, as I have no idea If I'll ever find a way to get paid to make movies. There's countless talented individuals making standout films, and while I do believe I have developed at least some level of what you may call talent, not everyone has the privilege to be "recognized" by the so called "movie gods". Besides my life is pretty great the way it is; even if I constantly feel like there's not enough hours in the day for me to do what I want. The truth is though, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't at least try. I need to be constantly learning and getting better and with everything I make that's exactly what happens. I learn something new and find a new piece to the ever evolving mind-fuck of a puzzle that is filmmaking and creative expression in general.
So 8 months after launching this kickstarter, getting married, working my desk job, and continuing to live life, here I am still working on this 12 minute film about a girl and her potentially demonic cat. Slowly chipping away at it between all the essential tasks I'm required to perform to keep me from dying or going bankrupt. And I'm loving it. In terms of what I was aiming to accomplish, it is the most successful film I've made thus far. It is an amusing and amiable genre exercise, and it has scratched the creative itch I've had for years that had me dying to make an 80s-era-inspired fright-fest. It's not without it's faults, at least in my eyes, but I don't think any creative person is ever one hundred percent satisfied with what they've created, and that's what strengthens me as a storyteller. Now that this itch has been scratched, I'm wanting to tell a story that's equally surreal and improbable but told in a more serious manner. More personal and character driven. I'm even writing something new that I'm excited about, because it means more progress and another piece of the puzzle yet to be discovered.
The reason I even bring any of this up, is because I want to thank all of the supportive people in my life for giving me, and everyone who worked on this movie, the chance at another recess.
Thanks for giving me the chance to play, I think you'll enjoy what we've created.