Looking back this is one of the scariest decisions of my life. I was 29 with a small business and eleven grand. I could take that money and do something else, or roll the dice on the movie.
I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I might as well be lighting the money on fire. Maybe if I called the whole thing off I could still convince myself there was a chance I could do it. No need to attempt it and fail.
It should tell you something that I still remember exactly how frightened I was at moving forward. I remember the nights lying awake trying to convince myself that taking this chance would be okay, even if I failed.
Interesting to note that I think this was the start of my long long battle with insomnia.
July 29th, 1999
The shoot date is barreling toward me like you wouldn't believe. I'm having a hard time sleeping. Every time I lay down I think about all the shit I have left to do, and invariably I can't sleep.
I make plans for an employee to cover most of the hours at my store. New comics come in on Wednesdays, so I would need to come in and work those days, so I've scheduled no shoots on Wednesdays. That'll be the one-day off a week for everyone. That is, everyone but me.
I talk to my parents about switching my car for their van for the three weeks. No problem.
I've bought some lights from eBay that I'm hoping will help us out on the shoot. A big 1500 watt Lowell as well as a smaller one on a telescoping tripod. Gil is going to bring a fog machine, so I don't have to worry about that. (Fog machines help boost light in low-light scenes in the dark, and they add a type of ambience. If you spread it around, you can't even see it in the film, but it adds)
Jesus. August is right about here and I'm going to shoot a movie. Holy shit. Holy shit. That's all I can think. After almost five years of trying, I'm going to shoot a movie.
Cold feet hits big. I think about calling the whole thing off. Hey, I think, I've only blown about $2000. Cut my losses right now and I've got a chunk of money and no remorse about wasting it.
Is this going to be a waste? Am I going to be able to deliver something I'm not ashamed of for roughly 1/1000th of 1% of an average Hollywood movie?
I don't know. There are too many variables. Too many unknowns. I'm a control-freak and a lot of this is going to depend on so many things I won't have total control of.
I won't call it off. I'm going to shoot this movie, because if I call off another attempt, I'm done. That would be it. You don't understand; when you start prepping for a movie, everyone hears about it. Then, two months later they ask how it's going and you have to make excuses.
And while you're making excuses you're second-guessing yourself, you're doubting yourself. You feel bad about having to make these excuses, and lo and behold, it happens all over again!
It wasn't going to happen to me this time. I was going to shoot the goddamn movie and if I wasted money--fuck it. I'd make more and chalk it up as a learning experience. That's what everything is if you look at it in the right light.
A learning experience.