I think Jake and I woke up talking this morning. We talk a lot in this house, but something in the air this morning was electric. We're feeling free with the completion of this film. We've been on a real roller coaster with it since he decided exactly which chunk of which script he was going to adapt into his student film this August. There was excitement, momentum, frustration, weariness, exhaustion, relief, more frustration, some genuine dissapointment, and then it was finished.
Everyone who worked on it was amazing and worked SO LONG and SO SO HARD. We appreciate the film and it's not that we're unhappy with anyone's particular contribution. But as we sat in the dark of the HD editing suite, staring at the finished product, we felt...awful. We tore it to shreds. We wanted to change a million things. Faster cuts, change the text in color and style, put a filter on some of the shots, and a whole lot more. We hated the way some of our props (namely the signs printed on paper) looked so amateur in HD. What was a good idea in theory ended up looking silly on screen. We wish we had added more shot set-ups, we rehashed how much time and personal money (and a new Lowe's credit card) was spent on something that in the end, we just didn't love. We almost cried. There was much yelling.
We went home and went to sleep. We sat on it for about 24 hours. Then we watched it again, and all of the sudden, we felt proud. Everything looked fine, our grand plan to go back into post-production just didn't seem important anymore. Our lead compositor said something really wise to us, and this guy is 19. He said that he had always heard that "films aren't finished, they're abandoned". It's true. As someone in charge of a film, you can always see ALL of it's flaws and you could likely work on it forever trying to get it to where you want it to be. But the time comes when you just have to stop and let it go. It's done, and you take what you learned in the process and you apply it to your next film, and the next film will hit closer to home because you take all that knowledge that you didn't have before and apply it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
You know what our real problem is? Things didn't turn out the way we can imagine them in our head. We don't have any money to produce a film, but we have imaginations trained on Star Wars and Indiana Jones. We want scope and quality and perfect timing and meaningful everything and fleshed out characters. Give us a million dollars and let us take another crack at it, and sure...it will look like Star Trek. But the truth is, I think we're always going to be this dissatisfied with everything that we do. Why? Because we always want what's next, we always want more. More time, more money, more actors, more, more, more. Because we know that our ideas for films will WORK on a large scale. And in a way, that's a really good reason to be dissatisfied.
As we've watched the film over the past couple of days, we've both felt so much lighter. So happy to be done with this project, and ultimately really happy WITH the project itself. For a student film, it's really impressive. We could've picked something easy, but we consciously CHOSE to challenge ourselves. In every possible area.
It was our first REAL project. Our first time not on camera in order to get our ideas across. Our first time using a camera that we ourselves couldn't operate. Our first time learning how to work with a crew, and quite frankly, we're really happy because it got done at all. On top of that, some things turned out exactly how we wanted them to, like the score, and some of the set-ups.
In a way, I think if you can be THAT heavily critical of yourself, that's a good thing. Because it means we're not delusional. We can see our own faults, and we lament the fact that right now we don't have the time or resources that we need to change things that we want to change. At least we're not making "Coven", you know? We can SEE what's up. And in the end, that's a really really good sign. I think the bad thing would be if we thought everything we did was perfect and just wanted to do the same things over and over again. But in "Third To Mars" I see our potential, our future growth, and I still want to do more. So in the end, even though it's not everything we hoped it would be...we're really really happy with it. I hope it can at least make you smile if you watch it, I don't even care what the reason might be.
Third to Mars
"A place we call, Mars." - Eugene Levy