Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Marathoning and Filming: More in Common Than You Think

As many of you know, especially if you’ve been following this blog, marathon running and planning my film have been two major focal points of my life over the past year. But, what you probably don't know is that marathon training and making a film have more in common than you’d think.

1)      Planning
My marathon training is completely mapped out ahead of time from day one to the finish line. I know how much I plan to run every day, when I will run, what I can eat (my stomach is weird), etc. I use this plan to psych myself up and mentally prepare before a daunting run. Similarly, getting a film off the ground and “running” so to speak involves an equal amount of planning, if not more. I know when I want to start shooting (Fall of 2013) and what steps I need to take. You need to make your hires, get your finances in place and structure your pre-production schedule with your team on board to make sure you have everything set and ready by the time you have set to film. Organization is key for both.

2)      Staying Open to Possibilities
Marathon training has many unexpected possibilities. Taking advantage of these possibilities is what makes the “work” into fun. An unexpected turn off a usual course and discovering a new running route, or doing a loop backwards can really mix things up and reinvigorate you. Similarly, in pre-production, bringing interesting people on your team that have different backgrounds and experience can shape your film into something you didn’t realize it could’ve been before. Don’t have tunnel vision!

3)      Determination
You know that phrase, “If anyone could do it,” blah, blah, blah. Well, it’s true. Marathon training and planning a film are difficult, exhausting, and often times make you question why you started doing it in the first place. I’ve looked at my running schedule and thought, “20 miles tomorrow? I’m going to burn out. Someone just break my leg.” I’ve rewritten my script more times than I can count and had weeks where I felt like it will never turn out to be good and that I’m not capable of doing it. Screw it. Make your brain stop hating itself. When this happens, think why you started pursuing your goal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished that 20 mile run and felt absolutely great afterward. It’s all about the journey, right?

4)      Seeing the Finish Line
Many psychological studies have been done studying the power of visualizing a goal and its success rate in reaching your desired destination. Although I didn’t get to physically run the NYC marathon this past year because of Hurricane Sandy, seeing the finish line in the park motivated me so much that I’ve had many “marathon dreams” imagining myself crossing the finish line. I look forward to that moment, knowing it will happen this coming November. When I think of my film, I see it in my head, I hear sounds from it, scenes, I know how I want it to look. Yet, in planning a film in today’s market, you have to go further. You have to see what market your film fits in and imagine it playing in certain festivals. My favorite visual inspiration is hearing applause after my film at a festival.

5)      Be Realistic
Now, I know I’m not going to win the NYC Marathon. I’m not a professional athlete, I’m not delusional, and it’s just never going to happen. I also know that my film Gold Star is not going to make millions and millions of dollars across the country. It’s just not that kind of film and I’m not that kind of runner. Having realistic expectations with your end goal in mind is extremely important. In order to succeed in the long run (pun intended) after you cross the finish line and when you’re done shooting, you have to know what you’re doing next. What festivals should I target? How should this film be released? What race should I do next? How can I get faster? How can I become a better filmmaker?  

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