filmmaking

The Music by Chris Weigl

I always start work on a new film with an idea of how the opening and closing sequences are going to sound.  When I wrote the first treatment for This is Flyball the only well-articulated idea I had down on paper was the opening sequence.  The cold open of the film is meant to draw the audience into the world of flyball slowly.  The opening sequence is about five minutes long but it shows all the little details that go on before a flyball race.  The idea here is to achieve a feeling of immersion by the time we hit the opening credits sequence and the only audio the audience has heard thus far is barking. 

Music is critical to the art of filmmaking.  Stanley Kubrick thought of 2001: a Space Odyssey as “a sort of machine ballet.”  The music in the film reflects this.  The first ideas I had about the music for This is Flyball revolved around blues music.  If only we could get Joe Bonamassa to score the film.  Ah, we indie filmmakers can dream, right?  I thought the slide guitar element would fit in well with the slower editing strategy that I had in mind for the film.  Once I started breaking the film down second-by-second however I had to change course completely.  Blues music doesn’t move that fast.  Moreover, it wasn’t a sense of sadness or longing that I wanted my audience to feel.  If anything – as we spent more and more time in the field filming – it became apparent to me that I wanted something a little more upbeat.  That’s when it hit me: we need ‘80’s music.

It can’t be ‘80’s music from the ‘80’s though.  People would wonder why a film released in 2016 had a soundtrack that sounded like the 1980’s.  That’s when my co-founder and Producer Heidi came to me with the idea of having a band write the soundtrack.  I have to admit, at first I wasn’t that excited about the idea, but then I thought that if they performed ‘80’s covers that were well done this could be a unique advantage that our film would have.  I mean, who else is going to have a soundtrack filled with 18-20 legit ‘80’s covers?  So, I sat down and looked at the sequences I had filmed and how I wanted the music to impact the feeling of the film.  What I kept coming away with from the editing room was a sense that the music had to have an edge.  It had to be almost rugged like rock n’roll with a little industrial sprinkled in it.  That’s when the soundtrack started to articulate itself to me.

I still have no idea what song I want to use for the opening credits.  Ideally, we’d use a version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Ramble on’ or Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Bulls on Parade.’  The more I think about it the more I like the idea of ‘Bulls on Parade.’  It’s badass in a way you can’t quite identify kind of like the sport of flyball itself.  The only thing about that song is that we’d have to use the original Rage Against the Machine version because no cover could ever do that song justice.  That could – unfortunately – be a financial impossibility.  The next sequence is what I call a regression to the mean.  We opened with an action packed sequence, so after the credits we need to establish what everyday life is like in the world of a flyballer.  Three short sequences introduce us to our main players.  The music: ‘Brandenburg’ by Black Violin along with covers of ‘Just like Honey’ and ‘Steady as She Goes.’  Yeah, if I don’t have your attention now I’m never going to have it.

I wanted to focus on covering the music of three bands in particular: Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eurythmics.  A mix of ‘Rhianon’ and ‘Say you Love me’ make up the next sequence followed by ‘Secondhand News.’  Now, this next part is where things get interesting.  I wanted to use some covers of Britney Spears because there is a badass edge to some of her later music.  ‘Hold it Against Me’ and ‘Do Something’ mark two of the plot points in the film.  It is in these points that having a sound strategy that is largely dominated by – but not limited to – ‘80’s music really pays off.  A nice cover of ‘Go Your Own Way’ transitions us into the second half of the film.  After that we’ve got a nice blend of ‘Burning Down the House’ and ‘Who’s That Girl.’ I like the idea of having a string quartet or even orchestral covers for key points in the film.  I’d like to do a version of ‘Pumped up Kicks’ and ‘Just a Dream” for the climax of the film.

I’ve been debating if we should attempt some covers of Fall Out Boy in here or not.  I think ‘This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race’ would fill in nicely towards the end of the film and ‘Centuries’ packs the right kind of dramatic punch to finish out a middle sequence nicely.    Of course we’ll be using ‘The Chain’ in the third act and ‘Take me to the River’ at some point as well.  I think the Allman Brothers’ ‘Midnight Rider’ would sound good in the film as well, but I’m not sure where I’d put it.  Other notable songs without a place include the Eurythmics’ ‘Missionary Man’ and ‘Sweet Dreams.’  Then there’s the question of whether I want to incorporate some Peter Gabriel into the mix.  I’d like to honestly, but not having all the footage done yet I’m not sure where I’d put the stuff or how exactly it would fit.  I’ve always been a big fan of ‘Games Without Frontiers’ and is there any uplifting segment that can’t be improved with a nice version of ‘Solsbury Hill?’ 

I wish I could say that these ideas just came to me overnight, but the reality is that as a filmmaker you need to sit down and give this stuff a lot of thought.  The nice thing about doing a documentary or rather one of the things that doing a documentary does for you is change which decisions you have to fret over.  Were this a feature film I’d be concentrating on lighting, blocking, set design, and working with my actors, but because this is a documentary I don’t have any control over any of that, so I get a little extra time to think about things like sound design.  When you’re doing a sequence heavy film like we are the soundtrack can make or break the film.  That’s why it’s so vital that we have awesome covers of the music we’re using.  Simply using the original music wouldn’t add any value to the audience’s experience.  They’ve heard the music before and they’ve probably seen dogs run around before.  The goal that I have as a filmmaker is to bring everything together in a way that makes the act of viewing the film more than just another trip to the theater, but an experience that will stick out in their minds as a memorable time at the movies. 

How to Shoot a Flyball Event - A Primer on Specialized Documentary Filmmaking by Chris Weigl

Shooting a documentary is no easy task.  It takes lots of time in the field and lots of planning to execute your camera strategy effectively.  One of the challenges that we've faced is figuring out how to get the best angles, where to set up to get the shots we want to get without interfering with what's going on, and perhaps the most difficult task of all: how to think like the subject in what you're filming.

We've been working on This is Flyball for almost ten months now and it has been so much fun to be around the flyball community.  The one thing that has always stood out to us in flyball above all else is just how warm, friendly and gracious everyone is.  Dave Strauss is no exception.  Dave has been involved in flyball for eight years and has mastered the art of shooting a flyball tournament.  We are very excited to share with you a guest blog post by Dave Strauss, who will explain in detail and with video examples how to best shoot a flyball tournament below.

How to Shoot a Flyball Event

By: Dave Strauss

For any particular race I usually have to decide whether I'm going to take stills or video.  For videos I try to choose a race that's going to provide interesting instances of my "standard shots" (more about that later), which usually means a race that involves one of the faster teams in the tournament.  For certain types of shots I'll want teams or at least dogs that are evenly matched, and of course the faster the better.

There are certain types of shots that work well even with slow teams and/or dogs - for example some fairly slow dogs have really nice box turns that are fun to watch as long as it's edited properly.

I also try to take a few "novelty" or filler shots to be used for transitions in the video - for example the intro or the postscript - but those are fairly ad hoc.  I just need to remember to do them.

This all works because Flyball is very repetitive.  The dogs (and people) are trained to do the same thing over and over again with as much precision and repeatability as possible.  Then, each race consists of at least 3 heats so I can do three different shots during the race and be pretty sure that I didn't miss much of anything.  And finally, a tournament is usually a bunch of round robin competitions, so each team will race all of the other teams in its division several times over the course of a weekend.  If I miss a shot during one race I'll usually have a chance to get it later on in the tournament.

It also works because I'm not trying to tell a story.  I'm not trying to show how close a particular race was, or how well a particular team or dog did in the tournament.  That would be a very different thing and I'd probably have to change the way I did things to make that work.

If you have several cameras and photographers available you'll probably be able to set up several shots during one race and get everything covered all at once. 

BASIC SHOTS

2014 - https://youtu.be/zueAVC7suPM
2013 - https://youtu.be/ADuPCAVZyMc

The basic shots I use most are:

 1. Box turn (single dog)

    Box turn shots make great filler, because they look really
    impressive and because there's that visceral *chunk* when
    the dog hits the box.  Plus you *know* that the shot is
    going to be there.

    I do the single box turn shot as close as possible to the box,
    which is either at the end of the backstop or next to the box
    judge, depending on how the ring is set up.  Sometimes I'll be set
    up in the middle triangle of the backstops but not usually - it's
    too distracting to the dogs.  I might set up a tripod in that area
    instead if I'm filming my team.  If I'm next to the box loader
    I'll be sitting down with the camera fairly low; if I'm at the end
    of the backstop I might steady the camera on the backstop.  In any
    case I try to keep the backstop itself and any ring fencing out of
    the shot.  With the GoPro I've been known to set it up with the
    little tripod just inside the ring next to the backstop - it's
    small enough that the dogs don't seem to notice.

    The most interesting box turn shot is when the dog turns towards
    the camera, so if you're set up in the left lane you'll get dogs
    who turn left and if you're set up in the right lane you'll get
    dogs who turn right.  During a tournament I'll often do one lane
    for one heat and then switch to the other lane for the next heat.

    Examples:
       2014 @ 0:45
       2014 @ 1:31 (in tight)
       2014 @ 2:14 (from behind the box)  Camera is steadied
                           on the top of the backstop
       2014 @ 2:18 box turn approach and turn, tripod mounted camera

 2. Box turn (two dogs)

    To get two dogs in the shot I need to be farther away from the
    box - either on the start line side of the line judge or maybe
    even between the third and fourth jumps.  It depends on the camera.
    For this shot I'm looking for a situation where the two dogs
    hit the box pretty much at the same time.  This happens most often
    with the start dogs but also with evenly-matched teams.

    Examples:
    2014 @ 0:41
    2014 @ 1:29  this is a really nice one
    2014 @ 2:47  double box turn during one of the championship rounds.
                          Note how crowded it is.
    2013 @ 2:32

3.  Passes

    Passes are harder to get because the pass has to be close or it
    won't look very special.  I want to be close to the lane but if
    the pass is more than about 5 feet I'll get just the one dog in
    the shot.  Also passes are **fast** - it's hard to get enough to
    fill an entire shot, so to make sure I get more I usually set up
    away from the start line facing the start line.  I either shoot it
    very low or about chest high.  With the low shots the dog coming
    from behind the shot seems to just explode by the scene.  An
    alternative is to looking right across the start line from behind
    the line judge; these usually need to be done from above in order
    to get the line judge out of the shot.  Lining up the shot can
    be tricky because of the placement of the line judge.

    The simultaneous pass is one of the hardest shots to get but it's
    one of the most exciting to see.

    Examples:
    2013 @ 2:13
    2013 @ 3:15
    2014 @ 1:01
    2014 @ 1:17  This is an example of a wide pass with slow dogs, showing
                        how far from the start line you have to be to get the
                        shot.
    2014 @ 1:43  Almost simultaneous
    2014 @ 2:10
    2014 @ 2:31  low - through the picket fence

4.  Start dogs

    This is actually a variation on the pass, so the setup is similar.
    The difference with the start dogs is that usually they'll arrive
    at the start line at almost the same time, so it's very exciting
    to see.

    Example:
    2014 @ 2:00

5.  Starting

    In this shot I focus on a dog about to be released and hold the
    shot until the dog runs out of the frame.  I usually do these shots
    in the left lane because the other dogs will be lined up to that
    dog's right, leaving an unobstructed view; however these shots can
    sometimes be done in the right lane depending on how the team lines
    up.

    Examples:
    2014 @ 1:47
    2014 @ 1:56  in the right lane
    2014 @ 2:02  this is actually a double start shot and its
                          interesting because the handlers follow the dogs
                          out of the frame.
    2014 @ 2:29  in the right lane - this was possible because on this
                          team the start dog lines up ahead of the other dogs.
    2014 @ 2:50
    2014 @ 3:16  this was shot with the Canon 7D with a 17-55mm lens, while
                         I was sitting under the scoring table.  It shows how hard
                         it is to get one of this shots in the right lane.

6.  Starting with pan

    This is similar to the starting shot but I pan to follow the dog.
    I don't do many of these because it's hard for me to do a smooth
    pan and my camera tends to lose focus during the pan because of
    low light. 

    Examples:
    2014 @ 1:57
    2014 @ 3:12

7.  Tug Swing

    This is where the dogs get their reward - they get to swing!
    It's also a very tough shot to get.  It's in the runback area,
    and the runback area is very busy during a heat.  You can have
    a shot all lined up and then another handler runs between you
    and the handler.  Or the handler and the dog just run out of your
    frame. 

    Examples:
    2013 @ 1:30
    2014 @ 1:20

8.  Everything else

    Looking up the lanes, looking down the lanes, novelty shots
    (milestones, unusual and/or cute dogs, kids and babies,
    unusual behaviors, non-racing shots).

You can see more of Dave's photography at: http://www.waltzking.org/photos/flyball/

You can see more of Dave's video work here: https://www.youtube.com/user/DWS53

Thanks so much Dave for sharing your wisdom!  We hope everyone finds this as rich and resourceful as we did.

What Do You Need To Be Successful? by Chris Weigl

So, I was talking to a friend of mine who owns and operates a production company in Chicago and I was blown away by his staffing needs.  He needed three Assistant Directors for a shoot he had coming up.  This gave me pause because usually there are only two units on a film and he was filming a short film.  I did not understand how he could possibly need three ADs for this shoot.  He informed me of his management philosophy which to this day just blows my mind.  He explained how he usually has around forty people on set and that every member of his staff has an assistant.  Now, keep in mind that we were both guerrilla filmmakers once upon a time, but we wound up going in two very different directions.  I took my talents and developed a decent screenwriting career whereas he wanted nothing to do with Hollywood and bolted out of town as soon as he had the chance.  Ten years later and we’re both doing our own things, but we’re doing them in very different ways.

We both run independent production companies.  We’re both around thirty and are dedicated to our respective businesses.  He’s been doing this for a decade now and he asked me – like it was a serious question – why he wasn’t making money.  I looked around him and started pointing at all of the people, all of the equipment, their huge studio and their B-list actors that were sucking up his budget.

“That’s what you need to do in order to be successful” he said.

“That’s how you go broke,” I said matter of factly.

He just shook his head and told me that I didn’t get it.  You’ve got to spend money to make money I kept hearing, but the problem was that he wasn’t making any money.  He had the spending part down, but his overhead was unsustainable.  I explained that I wasn’t exactly the best person to ask for business advice.  I’ve been in business for about six months, but he insisted that I must have some fresh ideas, so I laid it out for him.  I gave him my philosophy and explained how we go about making movies.  His first thought was to laugh and call me a sell out, which of course is true, but the difference between the two of us is that we have a strategy for making money.  We want to completely change how Hollywood does business.  We want businesses and artists to work together not have one work for the other only to have both sides disappointed in the end.  He was convinced that my thinking was a pipe dream, yet somehow he still wanted my advice.

I remembered an old quote from Churchill because I’m weird like that.  Churchill said: “the farther back you can look the further forward you can see.”  I asked my old friend to think about why he started his business.  What was it that he was going to do differently?  His answer was that he was actually going to make good movies, which is what everyone says.

“That’s not good enough,” I explained emphatically.  “You need to have something that you do that no one else but you can do.  For me it’s the ability to write copy for advertisers, write a story for the project that the advertisers are going to be involved in and manage the project so that we get the product that we want.”

He stared at me for a minute before diagnosing me as too idealistic to succeed in any business.  I explained in one very simple scenario how we can make money and why he will still be in the red.

“Think of a company like Geico,” I said.  “We could easily integrate a company like that into our film.”

He laughed, presumably at the idea of a huge insurance company investing in our relatively low budget film about flyball, but I was quite serious.

“Just think of the thirty second ad: a guy walks his dogs and explains that he just saved a ton of money on child care by getting a dog.”

That was off the top of my head, but we’ve got lots of these ideas that can work with any company because our current slate of projects spans three major genres at the moment.  We offer a ton of opportunity for any company, but especially for companies who want to reach a specific demographic and want to have a mutually beneficial online relationship that can result in great publicity for both companies.  Testimonials are how they sell things on informercials because it’s the best use of their time.  Testimonials serve the same important function for a business like ours.  That mutual testimonial is what makes this strategy work.  We can both help each other because we both endorse the other company and their product.

This is the kind of unfair advantage you need to have in business and this is precisely what my friend didn’t understand.  He has two things working against him.  For starters he has way too many employees.  There’s no way that he needs more than fifteen people to do the project he’s doing now, but he insists that he needs a bloated crew in order to make it happen.  Filmmakers always think that they need more than they have because we’ve all been in the editing room thinking that we didn’t have the right footage.  Our error there in the editing room is thinking that our inability to get the right footage means that we didn’t get enough footage total.  You never get all the shots you want, but you make it work.  That, I explained, was what he needed to do: figure out a way to get the shots he needed and then slim down his production staff when he finishes production.  Not only does he need to figure out a way to shoot more with less he also has the problem of thinking he needs too much to do even the most ordinary shoots because this is how he’s been doing it for ten years.  Do yourself a favor and work with what you have until you have the money to get what you need.  You’d be surprised what resources are available to you if you can just ask for help.  Asking, however, is always the hardest part.

Budgeting by Chris Weigl

I’ve been working on some projects lately that are about as low budget as I can make them.  When you’re running a small business you need to keep all your expenses down to a minimum, but as I’ve moved from project to project I’ve had several people ask me where they should trim their budget if they need to cut expenses.  The easy answer is that any sacrifice you make in one area is going to cost you somewhere else.  I can usually get away with three or four cameras when I’m working on our documentary, but when it comes to our larger commercial endeavors then I need a full crew.  That means that although I’ll only have three cameras, I’m going to have around ten people manning these cameras plus lighting and sound.  That commercial shoot is going to cost at least two or three times what my documentary shoot is going to cost. 

If I have to start trimming back on things the first thing I think about is what I can do myself if I have to.  I can do basic three piece lighting myself, so I’m going to prioritize when my gaffer is on set limiting that expense as best I can.  I can also cut back on crew as well as hair and makeup if I have to.  This means I’m down to a staff of about three or four people manning three cameras and handling boom mics.  This isn’t a good situation to be in, but it’s better than being unable to shoot the footage at all and if I’ve already booked time in a studio I’m not backing out until we lose almost all our financing.  It pays to learn as much as you can about as many different aspects of production as possible because there will come a time when you’ll need to use that knowledge.  It may not seem pertinent at the time, but anything you can learn about sound and lighting is going to help you as will anything about the cameras you’re using.  It can get kind of chaotic on set and directors (myself included) will get mad at you if you’re asking questions every five seconds, but if there’s down time (and there’s always down time) then ask some of those important questions about mic placement, about playback, and about what lights are being used where.

There’s no such thing as a film crew having too much knowledge.  When I was first starting out I gripped a bunch of corporate gigs.  They weren’t exciting, glamorous or even memorable in many instances, but once you get around the gear again it starts to come back to you.  You start to remember where the boom mic is supposed to go, where the key light needs to be with your camera one and how much rigging gear you’re going to need to execute that jib shot.  It’s a strange business sometimes where you forget how to do something when someone asks, but remember immediately once you’re in the situation.  I’ve had this happen far too many times to think otherwise.  A lot of people say cut the writer when in a budget crunch.  I’m a writer at my most basic level, so this is a testy issue with me, but cutting your writer is just about the dumbest thing you can do.  First off, the writer is the only person besides the director who has any idea what your final product is supposed to look like.  If the director is sick or (as usually happens) preoccupied with something else on set the writer is the next best person to talk to.  If it’s between cutting a writer and cutting a camera operator you cut the camera operator.

The last bit of advice I have is on locations.  A lot of people will cut out the exotic locales when they start running low on money and simply put: there is no logical reason to do this other than maybe being too scared to shoot on a shoestring budget.  If you’re too scared to shoot with little to no money then you’re in the wrong business because guess what?  You’re never going to have enough money.  The new James Bond film: Spectre ran out of money.  They were lucky in that they had a highly marketable brand and could easily secure co-financing through cross-marketing ventures, but they still found themselves in this situation nonetheless.  It happens to the best and believe me if it can happen to Sam Mendes, it can happen to you.  Locations are your friend when you’re filming though and they’ll be your friend in post too.  The more exotic you can make your shots look, the better your final product is going to look to the naked eye.  What you’re doing has to, on some level, be aesthetically pleasing and if you’re trying to do that you simply have to keep those nice locations whether you’ve got the money to film there or not.  Oftentimes you can get away with simply filming your aerial and establishing shots on the pricey location and then use somewhere else to sub in for the rest of the shooting.  This is an easy way to make your production look better than it is and appearances are everything when you’re selling your product. 

My final piece of advice would be this: money is just money.  You can replace money, but you can’t replace talent or ideas or time.  If you’ve got a great vision for something then go out and shoot it.  If you’ve got everything you need but the financing to work on your dream project then figure out the money part later.  The key is to ask who you know to help you.  You would not believe how hard this is for most people (including me!) to do, but it’s what pays dividends in the end and I never would have shot my first indie feature without the help of a few out of work actors and a bunch of people with minor production experience who had a lot of time on their hands.  In the end, it boils down to what you’re willing to do for your project.  If you’re willing to work without a salary for a year if it means your dream becomes a reality then wouldn’t you take it?  You’d be a bad artist and a terrible filmmaker if you said no.  Nothing is certain in life and sometimes you’ve got to go out, do the best you can, and hope that the small stuff gets done later.  Just make sure that it eventually gets done!

The Process is as important as the Product by Chris Weigl

People leave various jobs and industries for different reasons.  During the Great Recession we’ve seen one full-time job splinter off into two sometimes three part-time jobs.  Many times the way we hire people is a direct reflection of how the company we’re hiring for does business.  If you’re looking to bring in someone to fill a full-time job you might not start out by hiring one person for a full-time job indeed you may find it more fruitful to hire two or three people for part-time jobs to see how well they fit into your company.  There are things that make sense in this approach.  You want to know that who you are hiring is the best possible fit for who your company is and what they do.  The employee might welcome this approach as an opportunity to see if they really want to work for you.  Hiring two or three people to do the job that one person usually does is a terrible way to handle productivity however.  Rather than having one person who – at least in theory – knows what they’re doing you have three people with different skill sets and in all likelihood different enthusiasm for the job at hand.  Having one person who knows what they’re doing is the best way to streamline productivity.

We like to test what we’re buying though in almost every facet of life.  We test drive a car before we buy it, we inspect a house before we buy it, we visit a school before allowing our kids to commit four years of their lives to going there so it makes sense that we would test out someone in the job market to make sure that they are what we’re looking for.  The issue of productivity aside though this measured approach still isn’t very beneficial if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Sometimes it’s really hard to describe what you want or what you expect.  Take our current project: This is Flyball for example.  We knew we wanted to make a film about the sport of flyball, but we didn’t know exactly what that film would look like or what the story would be.  It’s tough with documentaries because you don’t know what the story is until it’s happened.  If you go out searching for a story you’re not very likely to find one.  This is why we write outlines and do our best to plan for things, but there are a lot of things (especially in the filmmaking industry) that simply cannot be planned for.  Sometimes you don’t have all your personnel available on the day you want to shoot or conditions aren’t right outside for you to shoot the exterior shots you wanted and we’ve all had some pretty nasty equipment failures over the years.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me that if we would just give them a camera they could make this film.  Its unreal how many people simply don’t understand how the production process works or what goes into producing a film.  To put it simply: if it were easy everyone would do it.  The fact of the matter is that filmmaking is really hard work.  It takes discipline.  You need to know what you want to do and you’ve got to be stubborn sometimes about what you’re doing so that you don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  As a writer, I get carried away at times with ideas.  When I have a new thought or a new approach to something I get really excited and work through different ways of executing my strategy.  What I’ve discovered though is that new ideas usually don’t last very long, but good ideas are eternal.  I had a writing partner on a project I was working on a few years back who always needed a fallback plan.  If this guy was crossing the street he’d need an alternate route on the off chance that someone ran a red light.  It was unbearable and the studio we were working for at the time hated the fact that he always seemed to find a way to make the simple complicated.  I, being a fresh, young upstart, thought I had all the answers and when we were over budget I thought I could easily re-write the project with very little loss in story.  What wound up happening was we had lots of little things done well, but no defined overall purpose in what we were doing.  The production was scrapped.

When we navigate our way through new processes and new ideas we often find the need to reject old ideas because they seem anti-thetical to what we’re doing.  The truth is however that in order to truly succeed at something we have to listen to all sides and pursue all approaches.  The toughest thing for me to admit many times is that I don’t know the answer.  The trick however is to understand that nobody does.  One of the tough parts about being an artist is that you are filled with moments of tremendous self-confidence and moments of incredible self-doubt.  I believe in myself and my ideas to a point.  I don’t like jumping on to a new idea when it hasn’t been tested and as we’ve seen nobody does really.  We all want to test drive that car, we would insist on a home inspection before buying a house and we’re going to visit that school before we let our kids commit to an institution of higher learning.  These ideas are so engrained in our heads that it seems second nature. 

It’s important to realize that not every idea that pops into our head is a good one and that every new way of thinking or approaching something isn’t always the best way to do something.  Sometimes we just need to admit that being prepared has its advantages and sticking to your good ideas is as important as exploring new ones.  As a filmmaker you have to understand that the process of making a film is as important as the product you are going to release to the general public.  I get asked by people at events where they can view our documentary like we’re just kind of cutting and pasting our way to a film.  That’s not how it works.  As consumers there are times when we have an: “I want it now” attitude that makes us toss our common sense out the window.  There are times where I really wish I hadn’t messed up that project that my writing partner had planned out so meticulously.  There are others where I’m glad that I failed though because you don’t learn from success.  Keeping an open mind is important, but so is keeping what journalists call a “morgue file.”  A morgue file is where you stash your good ideas when they prove to be unusable.  I can’t tell you how useful this idea is because as a writer there are many times where I have an interesting idea but I’m not sure how best to flesh it out or what characters would fit into the story.  Sometimes the only remedy for a problem is time and it is during these times that our “I want it now” attitude is the worst enemy of what we’re trying to do.