Monday 3 May 2010

Why People Quit: Heartbreak.

Most people around you see a career in film as if it's some kind of gameshow. Phrases like "You might get lucky!" and "Keep trying!" abound. But what most people don't realize is that, inside a passionate director's projects, or a young actresses desire to 'get noticed' - behind all of that is an extremely personal motivation. This is our destiny - this is what we are here to do.

When you spend five months making a short film with all the energy you have, when you move to another State to follow your acting, when you Produce a film for a festival - when you do all these things and the world DOESN'T accept your work. This is a big deal. This isn't just another chance to jump up and try again. There is something involved in failure which is different to losing a job, or losing money- and it is more in keeping with losing the love of your life. It is heartbreak. Utter heartbreak. You are sharing with people who you are: and they are not buying it.

Overwhelming sorrow, grief, or disappointment.

There is little consolation for this. But weirdly, we are all so protective of this. We don't let people know what it means to us. Missing out on your dream role, or dream festival, or anything of a similar nature -- in that moment you are missing out on your destiny. You are missing out on what you believe you are living for. Sometimes when you make a short film, you connect so incredibly with your cast and crew; and it becomes like a family. You make an incredibly personal and meaningful thing. The love that permeates this thing is then put out into the world in film festivals, on social networks, and through everyone you know. And sometimes, people don't get it. Not even that- sometimes what you create isn't very good. Everybody, at some point, says "this will be my best film," "this will be the year I make it," "this will be incredible." Sometimes it isn't. And you have put every thing you are into it.

This is part and parcel of working in this field. Everyone accepts that. Everyone quietly gets back to work and if you lose a bit of esteem someone throws a new-age 'be positive' book at you; and onwards you go. But wait--- there's heartbreak to be dealt with here. When you put all that you have emotionally, mentally and physically into creating and completing something creative - you are putting yourself at the mercy of everyone who will ever witness your art. And when they don't respond, that hurts.

A lot of people go through this but they all keep it so private. Actors are proud and defensive, director's want to appear confident and writers don't want to show how vulnerable they can be. As you get older, it gets harder. You gather your experience and your passion and your energy, and you throw it down into one basket and give it everything you've got. Occasionally, you make 'In Search Of A Midnight Kiss', but most of the time you don't.

And when it comes to that time when you look around, and wonder where you're going wrong and how you're going to stand up again-- you see the flames of the failed projects that line your past and you wonder if you'll ever make anything to rise above the mud. You look back to that project that was meant to change your life but sadly changed nothing. And you wonder how long you can go on deceiving yourself that you are a person with something to say, something to offer.

That's about as best as I can describe it.

Care to share?


  1. I was hoping for an ending to "when it comes time to look at your failures" that was more than just a "you failed." It sounded like it was going to and then the last paragraph was defeated.

    Most of this post is right on the money...putting yourself into your work, making it everything you are, looking for someone to recognize it and when they let you down..the heartbreak you feel. There's no other word for it, so you picked the right one. It is heartbreaking. It is hard. It does suck to feel like you are on course to fulfill your destiny only to be met with blank stares or unreturned phone calls. But, like in your post "People don't want a champion" it's true: Living is hard, loving is hard, creating and writing and directing and striving for more is hard. But it's what sets us's what allows us to be's what makes living for creative people worth living. Stand up, stand out, get hurt, take your punches and keep on trying because, by God, that's what we do. (Us Readers of the blog Kid) And when we feel so broken we can't stand..just remember we've got friends all over the world who believe in us.

  2. So true Kid, and I guess it's not just people in film - politicians don't get elected but they try again next year, mathmeticians who almost solve dividing by zero only to find the last number doesn't factorise and kids that miss out on an exam grade by 1% but there are always retakes and always new chances... I guess it is just like heartbreak there are 'plenty more fish in the sea'

  3. i like how you relate it to a heart break. and you totally have a point. i never really appreciate movies and art work like that, but now i will because it's how someone expresses themselves. it's not just for the money and fame... but more of a passion in action.

  4. I am right there right now, getting my heart broken. Sigh. But I'm too damn stubborn and determined to quit, so I pick up the pieces and try, try again.