Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

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Downs and Ups

Posted by Oli on Saturday 8th November, 2008

At this very moment right now, I was supposed to be standing on a sunny but slightly chilly street in the middle of Bletchley shooting my first short film as a director since 2003.  Instead, I’m sitting at home in a T-shirt (and jeans, you mucky-minded fellows) and writing this.

The course of true love never did run smooth, someone once kind of wrote (gotta hate people who paraphrase the greats, haven’t you?), and the course of navigating my way to and through my first love – film – is proving exceedingly bumpy.

The film that was scheduled for this weekend is a script I’m really proud of that I’m confident I can turn into a brilliant little film.  Sadly, although it’s been in the pipeline for months, it all fell-apart mid-week when the actress playing one of the two leads (in fact, one of the two parts) pulled out due to commitments early next week.

I spent a furious few days scrabbling around trying to find a replacement before, in a phone call with the producer on Thursday night, finally giving up the ghost and conceding that we’re better off to postpone the shoot until we can find the right girl, not just any girl, to fill the role.

It has caused me a lot of pain over the last couple of days to come so close to shooting and then see it slip away, but at least I’d not spent any money on it.  I’m in a difficult kind of limbo right now where I know in myself that I have the talent to direct, but I also know that to all appearances outside my own head I have nothing at all to show for it.  Let’s face it, no one wants to give a job to someone who has nothing to demonstrate that they are capable in any way whatsoever.  No matter how much I bullsh*t or try to talk my way through things, without demonstrable evidence to show people, there’s no reason for anyone to have any confidence in me.

Which is why it was so important to me to get at least this first short under my belt and then move on to other things.  Sadly, that’s not to be, for now.

I’ve spent a good couple of days moping about this now, but yesterday I managed to pick myself up and start looking at the other projects I’ve got going, which had somewhat fallen by the wayside in the build up to the One Under shoot.  This succeeded at least in shifting my brain from mope-mode to active-mode, which is always a good thing.

Then a funny thing happened.  Feeling restless and couped up this morning, I wandered down to the corner Tesco to pick up some bits and pieces (milk for tea being the most important) and as I was walking back up the hill to the flat, I flashed back to the time back in January/February when I first walked down to the shop having recently returned home from hospital and then my parents’ and discovering the true capabilities of my new puffers.

Walking back up the hill today was immeasurably easier and less hard work than that time all those months ago and it served to show me – and remind me – just how far I’ve come in the last 12 months.

Sure, I’ve not managed to make a film in my first 12 months, as had been my hope, but far from being the enormous downer that I’d raised it up to be, I realised that with the new lungs I’ve got and the new chance at life I’m enjoying, I need to focus on the bigger picture just as much.  To never lose site of the fact that this time last year I wasn’t even well enough to be considering making a film, let alone being disappointed that it all fell through at the last minute.

Filmmaking is undoubtedly important to me and it’s 100% what I want to do with myself.  There will be more opportunities to come, at first of my own making and then, hopefully, at the behest of others who recognise what I’m capable of.  Until then, it’s just a case of sitting back and thanking God for the gift I’ve been given and the life I can lead now.

The choices are all mine right now, and that includes my attitude.  So away with the moping and welcome the joy of expectation.


4 Responses to “Downs and Ups”

  1. potdoll said

    Hi Oli,

    Films are put back all the time. You’ll still make it and it gives you more time to prepare and visualise. Good luck!

  2. Oli said

    I meant to say that I know it’s really common, so it’s not that big a deal. It was just exciting and the realisation of a goal that made it difficult. But it’s not the last time it’s going to happen if I follow this path.

  3. potdoll said

    can’t you find an actress in the next couple of weeks and then make it? Seems such a waste if everything else is in place.

  4. Oli said

    Sadly, I work most weekends with a Youth Theatre in Dunstable, so the next weekends I have off are over the Christmas week. That’s why it was such a rush to get this in place for this weekend, otherwise I’d just have pushed it back a week. And it has to be a weekend to use one of the locations we need. Not to worry, it’ll come round again in the New Year.

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