Ah, so you're fresh from a breakup, and it's suddenly time to begin your career as a painter/songwriter/poet/musician. Using art to combat heartache has long been a hallmark of any creative person's skill set -- what better way to get over someone than sending thinly veiled criticism their way in the form of a sonnet, song or artfully worded Facebook post? The notion of sitting down, vulnerable and forlorn, and dashing off something that captures that raw, sick-to-your-stomach feeling is almost as romantic as the initial butterflies that kicked off the whole fiasco. In my experience, it's usually sitting in my car -- here comes that crashing wave of loneliness and recognition -- that spurs me forward, making beeline for pen and paper, ready to claim my place as this generation's dutiful archivist of heartbreak and melancholy, only to arrive at my desk and realize that surrendering to reruns of The Office and a tub of ice cream works, too. Like many artists, I wanted to take my heartbreak and make it my masterpiece.
From whence had this notion sprung? There's a full list of influences -- great American novels, Almost Famous, Taylor Swift's career, the entire discography of Death Cab for Cutie -- but perhaps it's best to dig a little deeper and reflect on what the act itself means in the first place: recycling your angst, trivial as it may seem, and creating something that communicates how it feels to be human. Not only are you reaping the benefits of artistic satisfaction, but you're also keeping those feelings of rejection at bay -- until it's time to make the next one. No wonder everyone's breakup album is usually awesome. Ditto on novels. However, you never really hear about a breakup MOVIE. I'm not talking about the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn one -- I'm talking about the nasty, you-are-there-watching-through-the-window, holy-cow-this-is-personal one. That's because movies are incredibly difficult to make, expensive and time-consuming. This is not to suggest that other art forms aren't expensive, difficult or time-consuming, but the act of making a movie -- and how effin' long it takes -- bears a special mark of insanity, often robbing you of that initial, wild rush to bottle up those bad vibes in the first place. And yet, until I learn to shake a tambourine, that's the best I can do to calm such rocky, emotional seas.
Filmmaking is my passion and my chosen field of study, and I'm lucky enough to attend one of the best schools in the world to pursue that dream. It's difficult to remember who I was before I discovered the rush that comes from making movies. As a result, I learned to filter everything through my passion; anything that ever got me down or left me frustrated didn't really matter, because it was secondary to filmmaking. The things that do creep through are usually juicy enough to serve what I'm working on. Or so I thought.
The truth is, it's really difficult to make a break-up movie. It's really difficult to sit through auditions and production meetings, to wade through the muck of insurance agreements and liability paperwork, to go door-to-door asking for money, only to stage your cinematic therapy. It's really difficult to wake up every morning at an ungodly hour solely to rectify your side of the argument. It's really difficult to convince a talented, generous group of people to tag along on an adventure that will leave them underpaid and overcaffeinated, all in the service of your $25,000 diary entry. It's really difficult to hang onto those raw emotions, to fashion your primal scream masterpiece, when the suggestions your collaborators bring are more wonderful than anything you could have possibly written. It's really difficult to be angry, upset, or heartbroken when you're surrounded by people who believe in the movie and who work to make it a reality.
The excitement that comes from doing what you love is, also, seemingly, the remedy to the romantic blues. Who knew getting over someone could start with a 6 a.m. call time? If it's really that easy, why do it in the first place? After all, the "break-up movie" doesn't quite have the same ring as "break-up album," so why bother? Why not get over it a different way -- by making some money, do a blockbuster? I'm way too young and inexperienced to make that decision, so the only thing I can do now is focus on what's in front of me. Send a Marvel movie across my desk and I'm sure I will respond differently -- or make the most depressing superhero movie ever. In the meantime, find something you care about and find friends who feel the same, forget about the rest, and make it. Keep that original bummer around in the back of your mind, but don't be afraid to let it go when you fall in love with something new.