Don’t blame the anvil - Part 1
“A glowing forge was superheating the air inside a rustic metalworking shop in downtown Austin. My muscles were aching and I was covered in perspiration, straining to see the small video monitor, and trying not to move or make a sound... Lots of time and hard work had led us to this moment...” this is a peek into my experience on the film set of Newly Forged. I wrote these words in an EMAIL UPDATE a few years back, but that stress and soreness is something I don’t think I’m going to forget anytime soon.
Among the myriad of projects I have been working on for the last few weeks, I started writing a draft for our newest short film. Yeah! The working title is Fortune Cookie. I’m going to try keeping a detailed record of the production, so you can see how a film is made, from original concept all the way to a “fade to black”. But, working on Fortune Cookie has made me a little nostalgic, so I wanted to make this post, taking an introspective look back at my first real filmmaking experience. (If you have not seen Newly Forged yet, you should give it a look.)
We started shooting Newly Forged at 7:00AM on a November morning in 2013. It was the first real short film I had ever worked on. We had a real set, real actors, and a real “tiny” budget. My main roles were producer and editor, but everyone on the crew worked super hard to make this film possible. I had a chance to help, to some degree, with every role on and off of the set. It was stressful, painful, faith-stretching and crazy fun. The crew took on multiple roles and we pushed our team to the max.
Looking back on it now, I can admit that the finished project is not the greatest film ever viewed by human eyes, but my relationship with the film is much more complex than just that. I see its flaws, but it’s still my baby and I love it… and hate it… and I want to kiss it to death. But, on the flipside it is a “beautiful” amalgamation of our team's literal blood, sweat and perseverance. There was purpose in its creation.
Here is a funny anecdote behind the title of this blog post. When we were trying to figure out the blocking (where different elements would be on set) for Newly Forged, the Simplebulldog team did a little rehearsal in the parking lot. I was standing in for the anvil, and was not satisfied with my lack of lines. So, to irritate the director (Aaron Snyder) and grab my moment in the spotlight I broke into song during the characters’ heated argument. “Don’t blame the anvil…It’s not my fault,” I sang. These made-up lyrics suddenly transformed Newly Forged into some kind of weird rock opera. As I lightened the mood with song, everybody laughed at the anthropomorphic anvil. It was funny, okay; maybe you had to be there.
I can’t help but think there may be a deeper truth behind, “Don’t blame the anvil.”
Are the painful experiences we face in life just hammers and anvils that are getting in the way of our happiness, our #blessed life, and our cushy road to retirement? Pounding us into the ground? Or, is there more to life than just the sum of its parts? I don’t know, but I have a theory: Everything gets shaped for a reason and a purpose.
So, why do I hate Newly Forged?