Filmmaking / Directing : Filmmaking is a Fickle Mistress... by Shane Stanley

Shane Stanley

Filmmaking is a Fickle Mistress...

What’s essential to being a good filmmaker? First and foremost, its passion. Regardless of what you want to believe, filmmaking will be one of the most seductive, yet volatile and deceptive relationships you will ever grapple with. I’ve quipped it's my “fatal attraction” because of the pleasure and pain it causes but for many of us that is all part of the allure. Filmmaking will rip your heart in two, leave you beaten and broken - both physically and financially - and just when you’ve mustered up the nerve to put an end to the abuse, it reaches out and asks you - no, begs you - for one more chance promising it will be smooth sailing moving forward.

How do I know this? Because I try to break up with it every time I finish a film. When it’s a wrap – correction - mid-way through pre-production, I swear I’ll never do it again and can’t wait to get the project over with so I can start looking into alternative ways of making a living. But when all is said and done, the movie has taken shape and my wounds have healed, I start missing my team as well as the fantasy even I get lost in when a new project is on the horizon. Believe it or not, I too find myself inspired by the same dreams that motivate you. Besides, I started working in front of the camera at 9 months old and while I turn 50 this year (gulp), have come to the realization; “what the hell else am I going to do with my life?” Sadly, I don’t know any other way and if you’re as lucky as I am to be so unfortunate when you’re approaching the big 5-0, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. Confused? Good. But you won’t be when your odometer has reached my mileage.

Okay, now that I’ve discouraged you, are you ready to get uplifted and inspired? I will assume you said, “hell yeah!” with your fist raised into the sky and will continue to do what you love. Even if it adds scars to your body and gray hair on your head. You’ve got this! Now go and chase it, Lord knows it ain't going to come to you.

Karen "Kay" Ross

She is my only mistress LOL! So well said, my friend, and thank you for sharing your pain and your love!

I have to admit that I've been doing some version of this dance for way too long. My first theatre class was in 7th grade, I did theatre all through middle school, high school, and into my first year in college. I was doing Community Theatre before I graduated and I started working in professional theatres the summer after graduation. But I had to learn more about my truth and why I was doing it, so to come back to this "mistress" after years in another industry, this time with a camera, I knew my affair had evolved. Matured, even.

There are so many times when I think, "I've wasted so much time!" or even "What am I doing? I'm wasting so much time now!" but then I remind myself - could I have been doing anything else and be as satisfied? So long as the answer remains, "No, nothing else makes me happier", then I remain with the crazy, well-lived life.

I must also admit, everywhere else I've ever lived - Denver/Boulder, Houston, ALL over the DC area - no one has consistently made me feel like I'm NOT crazy like LA people, and that is a comfort.

Mariannjely Marval

The only "toxic" relationship and rollercoaster I want to go in, LOL! Thank you for this, Shane Stanley

James Welday

I've loved film, and the craft of it, since I could remember. I knew I wanted to be a film director by age 10, but didn't discover my true passions -- screenwriting and film editing -- until I was 14 and in film school, respectively. They serve as the first and final draft of a film, and I couldn't think of anything that could make me happier, creatively. She's indeed a fickle mistress, as I've learned time and again, but one worth chasing.

Sam Chambliss

If you can find an Avenue that allows for your passion to be financed, then that is what I consider winning. Through all the hardships of doing the work that pays the bills, the real goal is to be able to do what you love. And if what you love to do is make movies, then yes hardships will be a part of your life forever. But that’s what keeps us going, I think. Each new project is the opportunity to grow and learn and change the way we did things last time. Make better decisions and produce something even better than the last. Just like any other art form, we strive to be better, to learn the new techniques with each new piece and see where we failed with the last. In the moment it can feel like the worst decision we’ve ever made. But in the end we’ve created something from nothing and should be proud of all of our accomplishments.

Dan MaxXx

my DGA member college classmate struggled and delivered pizzas in his 20s. Got his industry break at age 31-32 union card and has been working steadily for past 16-years straight. And he preps hard for every directing gig, knowing job phone calls and emails from employers can stop coming in an eyeblink.

Personally, I think filmmaking is a drug addiction than mistress. And not to be a downer but the folks I know who do this for a living have all been married multiple times, high divorce rate, drug addictions, shitty parents, mental health, all-in risk takers. There is a high price to do art.

Talha Shahbaz

Im live in Kuwait is anyone here to collaborate making a film let me know my YouTube channel SBT FILMS check out

Amy Gray

Wow! What a ride! Like the good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's quote <3

I could never do it because of stupid chronic migraines, I'm so unreliable that way. Luckily I've had life to slap me around in the dirt and levitate me to bliss... And whoo can I write about it. Check out my synopses for bANAL and Cuz, Cuz if you get a sec. PEACE :)

Declan Cole-Flynn

Very well said. Luck favours the prepared so you betta work hard

Claude Gagne

Never give up. You just gave me the strength to continue.

Karen "Kay" Ross

Hey, @Talha - consider posting in the Introduce Yourself Lounge to meet more people: Also, before you post asking for help from others, I would highly recommend you take a moment to inventory what it is you DO have and could potentially contribute to someone else's projects. Collaborators are much more interested in exchanges.

Vital Butinar

Wow! This is amazing. You know the funny thing is I kind of understand what you're talking about but with me it's the other way around I get really nervous when a project is ending but I'm not yet working on a new project. On the other hand I get nervous when projects aren't moving along because of other people.

As for passion. Well how do I know that this is for me, simply because this is the first thing I've done in my life, besides being a dance instructor, where putting in the time to get something done doesn't bother me because I know I'm doing it as part of something I love doing and it gives me even more drive.

By the way I saw a couple of your cool videos on Film Courage.

Shane Stanley

Thank you Vital. I appreciate that. Much luck to you and your endeavors. Continued blessings.

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