Ooo, am I tired! We just concluded hump day, and have passed the exact midway point of the lab. But unlike coming up on the crest of the mountain before the much easier descent on the other side, we are still climbing – still striving for perfection. I think the exhaustion comes in because we do, as directors, hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Individually, the life of a director – I don’t care which country or continent you’re from – is a great deal about proving yourself:
I can create the perfect scene, I can do it in 30 minutes, and I can do it for no money! Oh yes, and I’m happy to eschew sleep, see my family and friends once a month, and ignore this hernia that’s forming. It’s all about the art!!
(I am, of course, being slightly hyperbolic – but you get the point: We are asked to do a lot, quite often with limited resources… And then after that’s done, we beg to do it again.)
As we workshop our Directors Feast this year, all these individual commitments stay the same. We don’t stop being driven people just because there are more folks in the car.
In fact, though, our responsibility becomes greater – It becomes about keeping the group safe, keeping the group moving, keeping each other fed. Giving my colleague the opportunity for the greatest clarity, a dramatic breakthrough, just the right blocking choice.
And sometimes this comes in simple gestures: here’s water, here’s soup, I found the perfect music for your scene(!), take a break, I’ll talk for you tonight.
We’re still happy to ignore our own personal needs (goodness knows, we usually do), but we know how it feels to go it alone…
…and now we know how it is to do it together.
That’s an easy choice.
Greater sacrifices? Maybe. Greater reward? Unquestionably.
We get worn out because we are thinking of other people.
Am I still freaking tired.
But is that sometimes the greatest feeling in the world?
It’s because I try to lift up my colleagues, and they’ve lifted me to greater heights in return. It’s because I’ve pushed my actors, and they’ve pushed me towards fuller characters, stronger dramatic moments, greater cohesiveness in the scene. It’s because every decision, every ounce of energy, is spent, not on me, but on we.
Because if there’s one thing I can tell you about this group – we’re going to leave it all out on the field.
…10 days to go…
— Evan Cummings, New York City