grinding again

No, this is not a post about Grindr. I don’t see myself coming back to that app anytime soon, if ever.

This is about a project I’m working on that required me to be out of town for a two-day shoot. Through a friend, I landed a project where I get to redesign and reimagine the imagery of a channel. We worked on visual concepts for new logo designs, and my partner and I conceptualised new station IDs which we had to shoot. The two-day shoot in Tagaytay was to shoot for the new station IDs.

An Instagram shot I took two days ago at the Purple Owl in Tagaytay during camera set up

An Instagram shot I took two days ago at the Purple Owl in Tagaytay during camera set up

We were at Purple Owl in Tagaytay and we were there shooting for all of Thursday and Friday. I had a great time during the pre-production meeting with the crew and I got excited thinking about going on a shoot again and doing production work. On the day of the shoot, I was reminded why I prefer not going to shoots and just working on concept and writing because I don’t have the mental disciplined to stay focus on a whole day of shooting. I was amazed at how the crew just kept at it, frame after frame, board after board, and just kept working and getting the concept to appear just the way we conceptualised it. I was struggling staying awake in the cold, breezy Tagaytay weather. Purple Owl is cozy and homey and I struggled with the idea of taking out my book and just start reading in one quiet spot.

I don’t have the mindset or the personality to handle long shoots. I don’t have the patience to sit around during camera and lights set up. The work starts feeling tedious for me and that’s why I like my job to remain only at the pre-production phase of a project. I like to focus on the concept and the writing. I can’t sit in front of a computer for hours just typing away or in a boardroom or whatever and brainstorm to death. In these instances, if my mind wanders, I allow myself to get distracted, take a breather for 15 minutes or an hour, if I have to, and then come back to finish the work with a clear head and stronger than ever. This sort of production work, where I am idle and I have to wait while camera and lights set up just to get the right visual gets me antsy. I would rather just get up and walk around.

Thankfully, there were two of us there, so when the urge to get distracted hits me, I could leave and my collaborator and I could tag-team the work. When he got exhausted, I would be refreshed and I would take over, sitting down and approving the look of each frame and giving suggestions if things started to look differently from what we originally conceptualised.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy and grateful to be working again. But being at that shoot gave me an insight as to why I stopped being a part of the production process of any of my projects. Just as a writer, my work is done once client approves the work and I’ll go just to support and to make changes, if there has to be any changes. But my complete and utter presence or focus is not required and I’m allowed to flit about in my leisure. I’ll be happy to make revisions if asked, but if not, I’m allowed to do with as I pleased.

Coming in as a “Creative Director” (that job title was assigned to me by my friend), I felt that I had to be on top of things and readily available to answer any questions or comments and make suggestions if I felt it necessary. I don’t like having that sense of authority because my mind just shuts down.

It’s an interesting insight, I think, as to how I will be working in the future and the kind of projects and jobs I will be accepting in the years to come. And if I do reach a point where I will start directing my own films, I’ll know how to prepare psychologically to work around my inability to stay focused in that long stretch of time.

As a director, I can imagine that I’ll be dealing with actors in-between takes, going over my script, and thinking over my shot list. In this sort of shoot, the one I did for the station IDs of this channel I’m working on, I couldn’t really do any of that.

It’s a good insight for me. I’ll take it with me when I accept new work until the time comes that I’m ready to be the director of my own shoot for my own feature film.

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