Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why I Quit My Film Program

Hey everyone,

I've decided to take advantage of the fact that I already have everything I need to graduate with my B.F.A. in creative writing with film as a minor.

The thesis film I set out to make involved a criminal who's disenfranchised with his own lifestyle and tracking a love interest gone missing into the world of a Lovecraftian-styled cult in the NYC hipster underground (some allusions to Orpheus there).  Production is being fit within a $10k budget which is more or less typical for BC.

The issue regarding me pulling it away from the production program is that
a) I've run out of student loans and I need to work.  The alternative is running a campaign which would include crowd-funding but I have a personal standard I need to hit before asking for funds or more favors and I don't want to break that standard due to academic necessity.  Who knows how many more times I get people to donate on faith?  I believe I need to put more skin in the game and I have to trust that good things take time.
b) I have a transmedia angle on this I want to pursue and if I rush it and expend my resources before the additional designs are in place, any expression of this content will end up premature.
c) I did film two shorts offering distanced insight into the universe this new hero is a part of but the vision I came away with from both filming experiences put me back at the drawing board in terms of style and the higher story arc.  Their post processes have been delayed going on a year now while I figure out if/how I still want to commit them to the bigger design.  The backstory literature is evolving to include a particularly stellar mythos that I hope to convey for people who want to experience something dark, dire and inspiring.

Essentially, I've experienced enough on my 30-some odd thesis crew jobs and producing attempts to know that it's not worth the effort for me personally if I'm not developing something I'm really going to commit to audiences.  The degree has become secondary to the professional and personal purpose and the only way I'm going to prove the merit of this action is to move forward and stop treating my limited finances like they were meant to be tossed away on an assumption of the value of an education that unfortunately exists in a bubble for people at a certain class level.

Practically I'm in the poverty line and risking a lot mostly because I feel like there isn't a whole lot to lose if the price of sustainability outside the career is living forever in depression over what could've been.  Storytelling remains for me a journey of metaphysical implications - deeply personal and self-defining.  If I lose in the struggle it should be to something I care about.  If I find success, it should be on a path to which the resulting responsibilities of success matter to me.  I've always felt this way and this has always felt right to me.

That said, my appreciation of the experiences I've had so far is of the highest value.  It's all about the people.  I've made a ton of awesome acquaintances and a few very solid relationships that I'll never regret.  The student community at BC as, by its own steadfastness, brought me through a lot and given me great conviction for what is possible.  I've also learned a lot about what my strengths and weaknesses are and more importantly how to forgive myself so I have the capacity to move forward, even if slowly.  Everyone can change in small but important ways. Opening up and keeping the ego flexible is essential.  To the same degree you have to be able to like who you are as you are or you're whole process is about self-denial and that's a bitter way to live.  Life is absurd and humanity is absurd and that odd match between our personal and shared absurdity is why anything comes about at all.  It's all irrationality negating itself into rationality and that's why anything is possible and why I pay so little attention when people try to suggest that certain types of progress or change are impossible even while accepting that change isn't always the goal.  Confused?  I'm right there with ya!  It's an adventure.

It's enough to say that passing on the thesis film was a difficult decision.  I'm going on 32 and nervous about so many things.  Even now I question my leap and wonder if I shouldn't have just kept my head down and my analysis contained to the film in question rather than it's potential.  This lifestyle is constantly reintroducing risk and on so many levels.  I have the impression that what makes a player in this industry is somehow embracing and distancing oneself from this truth at the same time.  I sort of have to succeed in the alternative I've made for myself to prove its going to be OK and that means I kind of have to just give myself the benefit of the doubt.  That alone in a world full of ways things can go wrong in spite of an individual's attempts is enough to make me tremble. But it's all OK. It's gotta be.

In the future some folks may wonder why I continue to write on film when my background will officially declare that I'm no longer on the academic film track.  Others will read this and boil it down to being a coward on the precipice.  Time will tell but I had my part to say.  From now until forever I'm no longer a B.C. film student, but rather a film student.

May the film gods bless,
Carlos Sanchez