I’m in a reflective mood today. Ten years ago today I finished shooting what would be my last film.
The Engagement Party is a full-length comedy about a young couple trying to maneuver through a disastrous engagement party their families have thrown for them. I wrote, co-produced, co-edited and directed the film. I raised the money, I worked hard to try and sell it to a distributor. I spent several years of my life working on it from the beginning of the creative process of screenwriting to the nuts and bolts business side of negotiating a deal.
It’s funny the course life takes. Looking back, I can see how making The Engagement Party led me on the journey I am now on.
I became disenchanted with filmmaking after producing that film. It was heartbreaking pouring so much of myself into a project that fizzled out. It fizzled out because of the competitive nature of the business, because of the lack of household name talent, because of the digital format, and, in the end, because it wasn’t all that good (believe me, it wasn’t). Film is such a precarious business, and I became frustrated with having to prove myself repeatedly.
The Engagement Party was a very early digital feature and experimenting on new digital formats and taking on a pioneer role opened up opportunities for me that led me deeper into new media, emerging technologies and the web, and onto my current career path. I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for that film.
I was a mediocre filmmaker, but I’m a great producer. I’m good at bringing people together, getting them on the same page, inspiring them and getting them focused and all rowing in the same direction. My talents as a producer continue to serve me exceedingly well. And I love taking the entrepreneurial attitude and approach, which is a prerequisite for being a filmmaker, and applying it inside an organization I care about. Being an intrapreneur.
I wonder what I would have thought if you had told me then that ten years later I would be working at a financial institution. I probably would have been disappointed. And yet I love my job. I look forward to coming into work every day, and relish in the challenges, successes and occasional failures. I am a very lucky person to have what I have, and to have had all the experiences that brought me to this point.
Including making a digital feature film in Seattle in April of 1999 called The Engagement Party.
PS: I just realized that I have the words Director and Engagement in my title, so it’s not all that different really.