Sadly, there is no question that the older that we get, the harder it seems to take risks. To be honest, it's unfortunately not that complicated of an idea. For the most part, the older we get, the more we feel like we have to lose. Could be any number of things, and it's not something we verbalize often, but that feeling that we could really, really lose something is often the beginning of building a fortress around our lives, just to make sure we're safe.
I remember that being one of the most overwhelming feelings when my daughter was born. I looked around at my wife, my daughter and was suddenly struck by the realization that I have some very, very real things that I could lose.
But I don't want the fear of what could be, of frightening hypotheticals, of not being in control determine the choices I make in my life, in my work, in my family. I don't want to be afraid, to let that push me towards safety, complacency. I don't want to let fear make me old.
If you know me, you know how much I love movies and there has been an increasing desire to actually get off the couch and make one. I got a call from an (at the time) acquaintance asking me if I'd be interested in the possibility of coming on as the Director of Photography for an indie feature he was producing.
It was terrible timing. I was only a year past Sundance and hadn't made a ton of progress (in my mind) closing the gap between what I could see in my head, versus what actually would come out in the process of making things. I wasn't sure if I could light it. I didn't know how movies were really made. To top if off, my daughter was just a couple months old. The answer, on paper, should have been no. But for some reason, despite, and possibly because of, the sheer terror it brought up in me, I knew I had to say yes.
And so I did. And it was one of the most difficult, time consuming, mentally, emotionally, and physically draining things I have ever done. But, I can say this: it was, hands down, the best working experience I've ever had. And one that has clarified so many things in my mind about what I hope to accomplish in my career over the long haul.
Not that it was perfect. There were many consecutive 15 hour days with a 35lbs camera on my shoulder. Many times we just didn't have enough time to shoot something the right way. My wife and daughter lived in a hotel room in tiny town Texas for weeks on end. It was difficult. It was frightening. But it was worth it.
And that's the thing about saying yes to scary things...it makes it easier to say yes the next time you should.
Anyways, here are a few images from production days, taken by either Jordy Wax (1st AC) or Chase Smith (2nd AC) on their phones.