The Importance of Taking a Break

by Kelanie Aragon and Alyssa Hunt

When we first decided to do this experiment, we planned to film a short every other month. We now know that was an unrealistic goal. Essentially, we were in pre-production one month and shooting the next. On paper, it seemed logical. In reality, it was exhausting.

In an attempt to stay on schedule, we were only spending about one week on script, one week on pre-production, and one day to film. By the time post-production rolled around, we were stuck with films full of plot holes, weak sets/costumes, and not enough shots and coverage. We quickly learned that the more time we spend on a film, the better its outcome. Although we are attempting to make ten short films in about a year, we have learned the value in approaching each film as if it is our only project.

After our fourth film, Sway, we both felt overwhelmed and defeated. We each had full time jobs and little motivation for the next short film. So, we agreed to take a break. Not only did we need to recharge, but we had to step back and re-strategize.

And let us say, this was the absolute right decision to make.

It’s important to understand that taking a break isn’t quitting because we did not quit. We used our downtime for extensive meetings to talk about our strengths and weaknesses. We focused on our work ethic and how we could have better sets and crews. This break helped us revise our goals for this experiment. And it was during our break that we came up with this blog!

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our films and forget that these 10 films are an experiment.  In filmmaking, you will get frustrated and overwhelmed. Many avoid taking breaks because they think that it is quitting. It’s not. You don’t have to take two months like we did, but never underestimate the value of stepping back, reevaluating your goals, and remembering why you started filmmaking in the first place.

So, do yourself a favor and take a break.

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