by Kelanie Aragon and Alyssa Hunt
When we clutter our physical space, it hinders productivity, creates stress, and affects the way we carry ourselves. Why should we expect anything different when we clutter our film sets?
It is important to take the time to rethink the flow of your writing and filmmaking. How do you decide what to cut (clutter) and what to keep?
Sometimes we write a script that is cluttered, or a shot list with many unnecessary shots. We think we need a large crew when we only need a few who are dedicated. We forget that it is about quality, not quantity. This is good news for those of us who are on a budget.
Look, we’re all just getting started. No one is going to wake up a successful director/writer/cinematographer with unlimited funding for passion projects. So take a deep breath and simplify your project, movie set, and life. Here are some things that have helped us transition into minimalism.
1. Always keep a clean room/living space. Believe it or not (and trust me, it will benefit you to just believe us), a cluttered area can negatively distract the brain. Still don’t believe me? Just research it yourself. Have you ever wondered why you can’t do your homework or write a script without first having to clean your room? It’s because your brain is distracted by the clutter and loses focus.
It would save you mounds of time to just keep a clean living area. You can actually read from a professional on how to clean your room in the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”’ by Marie Kondo.
2. Take a realistic approach to schedule and budget, and stick to it. Filmmakers create these sheets for a reason. Not only does it help you organize, but it helps you take into perspective your limits. Don’t over complicate or over stress by cramming your days or running up your budget when it’s unnecessary. Although filmmaking is difficult, make it as simple as possible and eliminate extra headaches from the start.
3. Set goals. Short term and long term. When we try to do everything at once, more times than not, nothing gets done. By understanding our personal limits with our sanity and health, we can take a minimalist approach to balancing our time efficiently and effectively. Start by making a list of everything you need and want to do. You may have 5 items and you may have 500, but the point is, it’s all right there in front of you.
Next, separate into 2 section the ones that are short term and the ones that are long term. Now, give yourself a deadline for them, and please, be realistic! Don’t give yourself 1 week to write a feature film or 2 days to shoot a 20 page script. The point of this is to maximize your time by giving yourself time. Also, keep in mind that short term goals are usually completed in 3 months and often you need to break down your long term goals into a series of short term ones.
When you think about it, why do a million intricate shots that do nothing to move the story forward? Why have a fluffy and weak 30-page script when you can revise it to 15 strong pages?
Why overcomplicate what can be simple?
What I’m trying to say is, taking a minimalist approach to life and filmmaking can be liberating.
That also applies to who you choose to work with. It is better to eliminate the negative and unmotivated from your crew and keep the dedicated, hardworking individuals who will bring their best to your project.
We’d like to hear from you, have you ever overcomplicated your project before?