I was talking with a fellow South Seas grad the other day. He was telling me about how he was going to have to build up to having multiple projects on the go. It was the way he said it that made me bristle: like having various pots on the boil was some kind of insurance against the inevitability that most of them would fall over anyway.
It wasn’t until later that the reason for my bristling came to me. I didn’t want to admit the very real possibility that very few – if any – of the projects I pour myself into will reach fruition.
Maybe I have some kind of attention deficit so multiple projects keep my creative juices flowing and out of trouble. Maybe it’s a sense of contrived self-importance (“When I’m shuttling between my features in various stages of pre-, actual and post-production, I make time for my six pet television epics”). (Anyone who can put me onto a reliable amphetamine supply, call me.)
I don’t know.
At a pragmatic level, it makes complete sense. No, not all of my little babies are gonna make it. Yes, it’s good to have another project to fall back on when one stalls and/or dies. And yes, not only do I have a short attention-span, I like being a busy bee.
But at a creative level… how freakin’ depressing. Could I really be throwing ninety-five percent of my energy at the wall? How can I truly give my best to a project when I’m questioning its future?
Maybe it’s like the sometimes endless rewriting I have to do for any and all projects: the next draft will be better; look what I’ve learned and achieved on this pass; and it’s the final product that counts, no matter how I got there.
That’s what it is: the audience doesn’t care how many bodies you buried to get it up on the screen. Only the end product.