by Thomas Pace on December 12, 2013


The first edit of my new short film, Rain, Rain, came back from the editor this week.  It’s my second short film.

I’ve never really considered myself a filmmaker.  Truth is, I’ve never even been on a movie set other than one of my own.  There’s so much I don’t know that referring to myself as a filmmaker seems, to me, about as genuine as calling myself an outdoorsman because I own a tent.

Still, somehow, my first film, “The Wrong Man,” wasn’t bad at all.  Not great by any stretch, but in the historical annuls of first films, it earned a solid grade of “not too shabby.”

Everybody knows about the sophomore slump.

The trick, of course is to surround your self with talented, professional people and then to just stay out of your own way.

It’s the same way I make music.  I just stay out of the way.

Predictably, I’ve been terrifically antsy to see this first cut, but when the edit finally came back, I find I couldn’t watch it.

What if it sucks?

I mean, what if it really sucks.

Like, bad.

And what if it’s my fault?

What if I’ve missed the most important shot?  What if there’s something so obviously wrong with it, something that was right in front of my face the whole entire time, something I inexplicable failed to account for that renders my little movie a complete loss?  What the hell was I thinking?  I don’t know how to make a movie.

Looking back on the shoot it seems more than possible.  All I can really remember is blur of setting up cameras and lights and ladders.  I remember getting really wet during the rain scenes.  It was a kind of quiet chaos during which I was concentrating on simultaneously staying out of the way until I was needed. There was an awful lot going on and it doesn’t take much to imagine that some critical element escaped my attention.

They say that the best way to learn to make movies is to make them.  It was with that in mind that I set out to make Rain, Rain.   After all, The Wrong Man had turned out pretty well, and while it’s more likely that things turned out well in spite of me than because of me, I assumed that I, now, actually knew something about filmmaking.

In truth, making Rain, Rain has been less like making a second film, and more like making my first film for the second time.

It’s just a different animal.

Despite using the same DP, half the same cast and basically the same location that I used in the shooting of The Wrong Man, making Rain, Rain was a very different experience.  No easier the second time.  None.

So when the time for me to watch the initial cut, to meet, face to face, with myself as a “filmmaker”, I was somewhat less then enthused.

What if The Wrong Man was just a fluke?  What if the emperor has no clothes?  And I’m the emperor.

And you know what’s even more disturbing?

There was a part of me that actually wanted it to be a bomb.

I could feel something deep inside me that distinctly said, “It might be better if it stinks.  Then we could just put this entire project behind us and move on.”

Can you believe that?  I figure, if it was terrible, I could just scrap the whole thing.  Then I wouldn’t have to finish it and put myself out there to be clobbered by “critics” by showing it.

I can hardly believe it myself but the thought did, clearly, go through my mind.

Alas, no such luck.  The first cut was actually quite good.

And now, unfortunately, it looks like I’ll have to follow through on this project.  It seems I will have to finish the film and face the consequences of being a filmmaker, which is, as you might have guessed, making a film.

It’s a terrifying thought.

How do I get myself into these predicaments?

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