One good thing about doing what you love is that the line between work and play gets easier to draw – I mean erase. But if you’re pushing hard to try to make a living doing something that you’d gladly do for free, it can be easy to go a little overboard. All things, even very good things, in moderation.
If you’re a filmmaker, it has no doubt dawned on you at some point during the countless hours staring at a computer screen that you’re spending a lot of time staring at a computer screen. In fact, as a filmmaker there is no clear limit to the amount of time you could spend at a computer. They have become the epicenter of your craft. Bummer. Computers, amazing as they are, can easily lead to a sense of disconnection from the rest of the world. Lack of exercise, eye strain, back/hip/posture issues, repetitive hand movements and carpal tunnel among other evils. My body thanks me and my films benefit when I stay connected to the reality outside of the edit studio. It’s all about balance. People with rich and diverse experience bring another level of awareness to their work.
It is with all of this in mind that I unplugged from my computer, poured myself a glass of rum and walked out to the dock to read a book yesterday. For once, it was not an instruction manual. How can I make a film about the Bahamas if I’m not in touch with the island vibe? Rum is an important part of this reality. Especially when reading Hunter Thompson’s, “The Rum Diary.” I haven’t read a novel in a long time and I seriously almost forgot how awesome books are. While in the Bahamas I regularly spend whole weeks crouched on a plastic chair in front of my laptop obsessing over compression codecs, downloading plug-ins and updates for editing programs and crawling online forums trying to figure out how to calibrate monitors or fix merged panoramic photos with layer masks or composite HDR timelapses. Friends and family back home who are jealous of my island life don’t realize that I spend long enough stretches holed up in my cave trying to learn how to make better films that I literally lose my tan. Unacceptable. But true. Computers are awesome tools. They let me share my experience with the rest of the world. But it’s important to unplug often to exercise our atrophied bodies and senses – and drink rum while idly staring out at the sea watching for the shape of a shark or ray cruising the shore line.