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Nervous before shooting?


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#1 Adam Orton

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 12:52 PM

I'm shooting a short project for school this weekend and I'm terrified. This isn't the first movie I've ever written or directed, but I've noticed a pattern forming...

I feel incredibly nervous; almost like a panic attack yet I'm still able to function without showing.

All of the stuff I've directed I've also written, and sometimes I feel weird about having other people act or be a part of my script. I feel like they might think it's ridiculous and terrible, or I'm afraid that the movie will turn out ridiculous... there's just too much anxiety. Maybe because I'm starting to make more serious movies, subject-wise. Who knows...

My question for all of you guys is, does this happen to you? I'm not talking about nerves where you feel like you won't be able to handle the stress of directing a film shoot, but nerves about how the movie is going to look in the end. How do you deal with it?
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#2 Benson Marks

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 01:36 PM

I'm shooting a short project for school this weekend and I'm terrified. This isn't the first movie I've ever written or directed, but I've noticed a pattern forming...

I feel incredibly nervous; almost like a panic attack yet I'm still able to function without showing.

All of the stuff I've directed I've also written, and sometimes I feel weird about having other people act or be a part of my script. I feel like they might think it's ridiculous and terrible, or I'm afraid that the movie will turn out ridiculous... there's just too much anxiety. Maybe because I'm starting to make more serious movies, subject-wise. Who knows...

My question for all of you guys is, does this happen to you? I'm not talking about nerves where you feel like you won't be able to handle the stress of directing a film shoot, but nerves about how the movie is going to look in the end. How do you deal with it?


Adam, this is stuff you should expect as a writer and director. I'm planning to be a writer and director (but haven't even written my first script yet) and I'm expecting it to be one wild roller-coaster ride for every movie I do. Even I have fears that my movies won't be great either, and it isn't just the serious ones.

My advice to you the person who is already in the business is this. Control your emotions. Just keep your cool, get to work, and think about getting the movie finished. Being a writer and director means being able to control your own emotions and getting the movie done. Just stop panicking. Your first movies probably aren't going to be your best movies anyway, so just hang in there. Unfortunately, and I don't mean to say you shouldn't be in this business, but if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. If you can't handle these emotions, I suggest you pursue another career elsewhere. I think that as you go on to bigger and bigger projects, the tension will probably be worse. If things are bad enough, then you might need to think about where you're going from here.
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#3 Jim Keller

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:06 PM

Stage fright is not limited to those who are on stage. There's an old joke in theatre:

Q: How do you identify the director on opening night?
A: He's the one drunk in the bar across the street.

The advice I'd give is the same as I'd give to anyone experiencing it: work through it. If you're prone to it, it never fully goes away (though you can mitigate it by building your confidence), but by understanding that it's just jitters you can make a decision about whether or not it negatively impacts your choice of career.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:50 PM

Q: How do you identify the director on opening night?
A: He's the one drunk in the bar across the street.


I like.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:52 PM

As a DP..... I know the nerves.... Often when I'm rolling film... I nearly die.. .when I go into that supervised session..... praying i didn't screw up. So far so good....
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#6 Adam Orton

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 07:21 PM

As a DP..... I know the nerves.... Often when I'm rolling film... I nearly die.. .when I go into that supervised session..... praying i didn't screw up. So far so good....


Thanks. I'm glad to know other people can understand what I'm going through :-)
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 07:22 PM

The way I figure it.. it's why God made good whiskey....
When i used to have to write papers and scripts and the like; I always found 1 jack and coke really settled me. I'm not advocating alcoholism, rather that we all need to find out own pressure release valves.
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#8 Adam Orton

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 07:23 PM

The advice I'd give is the same as I'd give to anyone experiencing it: work through it. If you're prone to it, it never fully goes away (though you can mitigate it by building your confidence), but by understanding that it's just jitters you can make a decision about whether or not it negatively impacts your choice of career.


Thanks!
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#9 Adam Orton

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 07:27 PM

The way I figure it.. it's why God made good whiskey....
When i used to have to write papers and scripts and the like; I always found 1 jack and coke really settled me. I'm not advocating alcoholism, rather that we all need to find out own pressure release valves.



HAHA! Wow, I totally feel ya there. Although I'm more of a rum guy. But yeah, after the shoot this weekend I'm definitely going to take it easy.
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#10 GeorgeSelinsky

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 10:58 PM

This is so normal, because a lot of things are happening - money is at stake, etc.

You just have to grab the bull by the horns and do it. By the time you start rolling, the excitement will probably keep you going, and the next thing you'll likely be nervous about is wrapping it all up before you lose the lights or the location.

Just think POSITIVE, project that positivity, joke with your actors and crew, tackle problems with zeal, and lead the show with CONFIDENCE no matter what. If you do that, you'll be fine. The hardest thing after that will be falling asleep and not getting enough of it the next day.

Filmshoots are hard, intense periods of work. That's the way it is - it's not a 9 to 5'er, it's a 5 to 9'er (as in 5 am to 9 pm). You just go by entropy and the excitement of making a film. There's nothing like it in my view, it's really an exhilarating feeling. Even when stuff hits the fan, it's a fun thing to come up with a solution that works, because this is where creativity becomes critical.

Enjoy it and don't sweat it. We all get nervous, and then we all have a great time in the end.
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#11 Esteban Rodriguez

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:17 PM

Its completely natural and understandable to be nervous when you are putting a part of you out there to be viewed and judged by others. You just gotta try to shake it off ya know. Try to stay positive and do the job that you are there to do. I have the same feeling anytime Im shooting one of my scripts, or even just letting people read them. I even have a bad habit of biting my thumbs in nervousness when others are watching a film that I have made. COMPLETELY NORMAL TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE. Have fun though and just remember that if you really love what you are doing, who the hell cares what others think...right?

Good luck an have fun
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#12 Jake Vander Ark

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:29 AM

I'm usually pretty calm when I'm on set... it's the night before that I go crazy. I always spend the first 3 hours in bed tossing, turning and thinking about the next day. Even when I'm "asleep", I have very realistic dreams that I'm at the location surrounded by problems. When I wake up in the morning, I have the feeling that I only got an hour of sleep.

Pretty crazy, but that's part of the fun : )
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#13 Bob Hayes

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 07:52 AM

I am always pretty anxious before I shoot. It disappears after the first slate is clapped. The more I throw myself into prep the less nervous I am. I find if I can shoot one test day that satisfies the pre-shoot jitters. Not because of the test but because I feel like I have started shooting. I think it is important to realize that the mind knows no difference between imagined failure and real failure. The nervous system responds exactly the same way. So imagining future failure is the same as failing. Try to focus on imaging the best outcomes.
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#14 Adam Orton

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 12:24 PM

Thanks for all the encouraging comments, guys!
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#15 Justin Hayward

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 01:19 PM

The screening is where I really freak out. The first time I screened something in a festival my heart was pounding so hard, if I wasn't twenty seven I would've been honestly concerned about a possible heart attack.
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#16 Adam Orton

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 01:46 PM

The screening is where I really freak out. The first time I screened something in a festival my heart was pounding so hard, if I wasn't twenty seven I would've been honestly concerned about a possible heart attack.


Yikes, I forgot all about that :-) This April I had my first feature screen at a local festival. It wasn't like a big deal or anything, but I was so nervous I had to get up and leave.
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#17 David Rakoczy

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:44 PM

The day that feeling.. or a sense of that feeling.. leaves you.. it is time to get out.

That is what we live for. Excitement. Opportunity. A Challenge. Venturing into the unknown. Risk!

No guts... no Glory.

Remember, it is that slow trek up the first hill that makes that first roller coaster drop so much FUN!

Of course, once the process is started.. those emotions had better check out so they don't affect your work!

Edited by David Rakoczy, 30 October 2008 - 04:46 PM.

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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:49 PM

David, that roller coaster analogy is quite perfect for the feeling. I might have to "borrow" that from you (credited of course) for when anyone ever asks me what filming is like.
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#19 David Rakoczy

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:57 PM

cont'd

..and of course, this is all greatly enhanced.. and prolonged.. when shooting Film!

You have the initial 'rush' getting started.. then the anxiety waiting to see footage.. then the pay-off of seeing beautiful pictures... it is the gift that just keeps giving!

Please don't take my Kodachrome away!
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#20 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 06:14 PM

Yup, been there. The good thing is that once the AD calls in and you start working, you're much too busy to think about it.
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