By Sujewa Ekanayake
Filmmaking is hard work. At most levels of filmmaking it is art work. What I practice and what many filmmakers I know practice is art filmmaking - films that are off-Hollywood, and are not being made for primarily commercial reasons. So how does one stay motivated and make time for art work? Here are some tips.
1 - Ask yourself if making your art work is still the most exciting thing you can be doing. If not, stop making art, go find what else excites you and do that.
2 - Is your art work the most important thing in your life? Is it in the Top 10? If not, stop making art, go spend more time doing some of the Top 10 most important things on your list.
3 - Are you making your art work for fame, fortune, good reviews? If so, stop making art. Those outcomes are not guaranteed. Plenty of great artists are overlooked by critics, the public, and also the world of commercial reward and fame - all the time. If your main reason for making art are those things that I mentioned at top, then stop doing it. Go look for easier ways to get famous and rich.
4 - Are you making art work because you want to communicate with people, connect with people, and share some interesting and or positive ideas, images, sounds with people? If so, continue. Re-connect with your earliest obsessions when you started making art, your earliest themes, and then see where you are now, and see where you would like to go. Make a list of 100 art projects you would like to accomplish - that should get you motivated.
5 - Adopt a contented, positive, happy view on life. That will not affect your art work negatively. David Lynch is a good example - he meditates, seems to enjoy life, and makes disturbing art movies. One does not have to suffer to make great or even mediocre art. Making art work is what gets the art work made, not the suffering. Enjoy life, make art. If you start enjoying life you may be more motivated to make art.
6 - Is lack of money getting in the way of your art work productivity? Then find the $0 budget version of your art work. Every art field has it. There are $0 budget films and filmmakers. Make a bunch of those movies. Build a fan base for your art work using social media and the web. Even if only 10 - 100 people like it and they want to see more, then you have an important fan base and another motivating factor for making art.
7 - Life is hard, filmmaking is hard, and life is short, and everyone is suffering in their own way. In this type of a universe, if you found something like art making/filmmaking that can provide some excitement and joy for yourself and others - then you are a very lucky person. Keep that in mind and let that motivate you. For an artist living well equals making art.
8 - If your art affects even 1 person positively, and that person affects 10 people positively, and those 10 people affect 100, and that 100 affect 1000, pretty soon millions will be positively affected by what you did. That is a great motivating reason to make art.
9 - Do it if you love it, stop if you don't. If you forgot that you love it, then remind yourself - make a list - "10 Reasons Why I Love Making Art/Films" - and let that list motivate you.
10 - Do a lot of it if you love it, stop if you don't. Enjoy life, be kind to all, and use your art work to connect deeply with the mystery of human existence. The more you connect with others through or with the help of your art work, the more you will want to make art. True and deep connections or interesting connections are great motivators.
11 - About making time for your art work - just do it. There are 16 waking hours in the day. Set aside 2-4 hours each weekday for your art work, and 1 full weekend day. Then expand from there. Eventually you will be able to get to 40 hours for your art work each week, and 40 hours for your day job work - and even better time allocations perhaps. Your art work is sacred and important for your life, make time for it, or suffer the consequences - unhappiness, bitterness, lack of joy, lack of enthusiasm for life. True artists are unhappy when they are not making their art. Once you realize that you will make time for your art work.
Copyright 2018 Sujewa Ekanayake
Getting ready for Agnes the Alien shoot in early December, while getting caught up on dozens of things related to Werewolf Ninja Philosopher. That's what's going on for the next few days over here in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Looking forward to 2019. Excited by the experience of making and showing, starting VOD distribution on Werewolf and also the examples of Jonas Mekas, Kevin Jerome Everson, Hung Song-soo and many other prolific, low budget/no budget indie/art filmmakers. 2019 is the time to make a lot of work/movies!
The humble dream for a long time has been to have a simple artist website that makes my most recent work available, links to related sites and pages, and has a blog that gets updated daily. Let's see if we can get that done here, starting today.
Werewolf Ninja Philosopher is done, and is available to view at Vimeo VOD.
I am working on the next feature - Agnes the Alien - now, for a December 2018 shoot.
All upcoming projects are "zero budget/no budget" (under $10K to shoot in most cases, sometimes close to $0 - $1000) films. Because that is the best way to make film art fast. Much can be done through no budget movies.