The Truth of Many Cumulative Moments
When this project started out, part of it was that I was going to blog about my experience, openly and honestly. Over time, however, these entries have been more and more closed off about my journey. You’d get little insights here and there on a per-episode basis, but lately I haven’t said much about my over-arching “through-line”, and I haven’t said much about much about the project as a whole.
There’s a time and a place for such things. I think tonight is it.
I write to you now from South Carolina, a few days into a two-week playwrights’ lab that I’m participating in as an actor. I’d hoped to put out a new episode today. I shot all the footage last week before I left New York, but I went through it, and it’s not good. Or, rather, it’s not good enough. I’ve never felt okay about putting out sub-quality stuff, even though I have, once or twice. In earlier episodes I felt it was more important to just keep on schedule no matter what and to put out SOMETHING.
I don’t feel that way anymore.
I have twelve episodes left, and I want them all to be good. Quality has become more important to me than the arbitrary deadline I set at the beginning of this project. And while we’re being open and honest, let’s finally talk about that.
I started this project on April 1st, 2009. If you can add, you know that it’s been way more than fifty weeks already. So, if you want to take a narrow view of the project, you could say, in the respect that I set out to create fifty characters/short-films in fifty consecutive weeks, and haven’t, that I failed. You could say that, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I made the rules, and I broke ‘em… but I broke other rules LONG before that, which fundamentally changed the project.
“The quality is going to be pretty universally shitty… That’s really part of it… I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the video editing…”
Ha. I broke that rule on week one, and virtually every single week that followed. I spent at least thirty hours (per week) on almost every single episode. Some of them took sixty hours. Upgrading my camera (to HD) while not upgrading my computer slowed things down even more. So, again, I failed in creating a simple project that wouldn’t take up much time.
But I also said that if the project wasn’t making me happy any more, that I would just stop. I said I might only do twenty episodes, then walk away. And I haven’t done that. I’ve adjusted the project to fit my life, because, well, because I’ve had to. Because I have to keep food on the table and a roof over my head. And because while 50in50 has received some great attention, press wise, but I can’t put all of my eggs in one basket. When a show comes up like Richard II or The Farm, or when I get invited to participate in the WordBRIDGE playwrights lab, I feel like I have to take it those gigs.
It’s tough, though, when the very TITLE of your project implies a timeline. Mea culpa on that front. But still, I’m only spending a week (or less) on each episode. And the title isn’t “50 Characters in 50 Consecutive Weeks” even if, I admit, that was my original intention.
This project was something that I started to keep myself improving as an actor, and I have. I wanted to learn about character creation, video editing, writing, cinematography, improv, and I have. I set out to raise $10,000 to buy better equipment (again, not in the spirit of what I set out to do), and I did. I wanted to create a new body of work for myself. Wanna see something? Click over to the ALL VIDEOS page, and just scroll all the way down to the bottom. When I look at that and consider that I made all of that between last April and now (with some large breaks in the when I was fundraising or working on other projects), I don’t feel like I’ve failed at all. I see a ton of short-films, most of which I am very proud. I see a body of work that I stand behind. I see a body of work I can cut into a reel that I can be proud of. I see something that will, hopefully, someday be seen by the right persons and help take my career to the next level.
That makes me feel pretty damn good. It makes me not care so much that my original fifty-week timeline has expired. The work continues, and I am going to do my damnedest to get to episode fifty as soon as I can, but I am not willing to sacrifice quality. I want these last twelve episodes to sit up there among my very best.
The ideas I have for my last twelve are all going to be tough ones to do. I’ve saved them for last not just because I think they’re great ideas (I’m really excited about a lot of them), but because they’re logistically complicated, and will require more planning, more time, more energy, and more help from my friends. I hope you’ll stick with me, though, because the best is yet to come.
So. That’s how things stand, and that’s where I am.
Thank you for your continued support. Not a day has gone by since late March 2009 that I haven’t thought of 50in50. This project is something that will define a period of my life. I’ll always look back on it as “The 50in50 Year”. Thank you so much for being a part of it.
-Brent Rose 6.16.10 2.21am (Clemson, SC)