The excruciating process from blank page to final project is fueled by past accomplishments. The memory of having filled a pail, sorted a mess or assembled furniture. Yet, these tasks begin with raw materials. Creativity and the freedom implied can ironically feel more like disentangling yourself from a web of possibilities.

Yesterday, I gave myself an assignment to produce a movie introducing myself in which the stakes are potentially high. The audience, unknown. The purpose, a bit fuzzy since introductions imply a narrative.

One word to describe yourself, for example? This requires a theme.

  • Personality trait?
  • Profession?
  • Relationship to others–family? friends?
  • Hobby?
  • Autobiography?

A video can convey unintended vibe and energy.

  • Authenticity?
  • Clever humor?
  • Magic editing?
  • Curated soundtrack?
  • Clarifying titles?

As I reflect on the challenge, the following is a list of what surfaced in the process:

  • Deadline: strangely comforting to have a shortened time to tinker
  • Inspiration: competition with deeply loved video content can be a double-edged sword
  • Respect: the vulnerability of artists can get lost in the context of a consumerist machine
  • Resignation: managing the gap between a witty masterpiece and what is possible under duress
  • Minutiae: getting trapped in capturing the perfect image, the precise instant alpha transparent background sweep, the most exact scale in an animation cobbled together from downloaded icons
  • Resentment: of the audience that can take in a couple minutes of video that represents hours of labor
  • Persistence: “Whatever the outcome, the process is worth the effort” mantra

After stopping production at a given time, I had deeper insight into this sticker on a young woman’s laptop in a Girls Who Code video that the leaders noticed a bit too late:

About jaclynfre

Recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
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6 Responses to produce

  1. You always write with such honesty. I love this exploration and all the bullet points. You even include resentment of the audience who will be critical viewers in two minutes of what you worked long and hard to produce. (Reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner.) And the image at the end- fantastic! A useful mantra, after we have persisted and tried our best with what we had.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Thanksgiving dinner! Yes! I edited that image at the end to be less salty, but I think the passion of the original is truly how you feel after pouring yourself into a piece of art all the while stewing in anxiety. Thank you for your kind response.

  2. vivian chen says:

    Sooooo relatable! All the other items in the list are why I need a tight deadline. Glad to not be alone in this.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Self-imposed deadlines are truly a kindness we can offer ourselves.

      This gave me a small taste of what it must be like to have an entire production team get behind the work you do and then have to rely on a fickle public to accept or reject it. Entering into the creative process really humanizes popular artists.

  3. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski says:

    “Whatever the outcome, the process is worth the effort”- this spoke to me! It’s the work we put in and not the way it is perceived. That is hard, though! I hope your video came out in a way that made you happy.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Thank you so much! The behind the scenes videos that artists post are so reassuring as they invite us into their process. Being nervous levels the playing field and heightens our senses at the same time.

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