I remember now why I focus on working behind the camera. Last night, Fred and Erica came over to film the 2 minute pitch I have to do for the crowdfunding facet of our fundraising campaign. Easy enough, right? Even though your boy got his intelligentsia-flavored, neo-soul on (with a hint of street sensibilities for full body and volume), I’m telling you, being in front of the camera for something as serious as raising $25,000 for a short film project in a certain amount of time can be challenging. At the same time, staying in the classroom-to-driveway-and-back matrix hearing of opportunities passing me by was becoming unbearable, so it is what it is. Out of everything I’ve had to do thus far, speaking to the camera with just the right energy (while remaining perfectly still), all the while nailing what I had written down to say, has been the most challenging part of all of this so far.
This struck me as odd. I am completely in my element kicking it with friends someplace or in the classroom. In fact, I love getting that wide-eyed look from students about to say to themselves, “this dude is a damn nut.” I use humor and a multitude of perspectives to get dialogue in my classes. Maybe that’s what threw me with this, the camera don’t show no love. All you get is a director stopping afterwards to tell you your instincts were off or something along those lines. That and a gang of lights all up in your face (amazing how much equipment is needed for lighting folks consider to be a natural occurrence when watching a scene). I’m usually so playful with people, my wife says. She complains that I’m too stern and exacting at home. Filming this pitch is a perfect example of what I’ve been trying to tell her: when I am not responsible for a situation, I can be full of jokes. I tell a kid if he doesn’t do his work he’ll fail. I can joke with him and the whole nine all semester – and flunk him with a smile, a joke and a thumb’s up for better days. It’s up to the student to step up.When I feel like it’s all on me (as in a household, kids. etc.), it’s do or die. It’s time for straight lines and focus. I felt that and then some filming this. Fred complained that I was too serious. Too tight. “Smile, dude, damn.”
My mouth would move and half of my brain would start tripping out:
Who are you to ask 25K of the world?
You know how much money that is?
Only 1 percenters have cash like that. They’re too selfish to help anybody like you anyway.
You don’t even know 1 percenters to even start such a conversation.
You have a Ph.D. and are employed. Isn’t that enough? How many more goals do you have the right to pursue and fulfill?
I messed up over eight times. I felt sweat running down my back. I swear I could see my face saying these words back to me in the camera’s reflection. I powered through though and am grateful for this project helping me grow and develop. To often, people get one thing accomplished in life and sit on that from then on in fear of looking foolish branching off into something else. The movie of my life will be different; I’m adding new scenes each day and I create my supporting cast as I go. I’ve put it into the universe what I want to do. I’ve written it down and told everyone I know in order to hold me accountable to it. I did retakes until I was sick of hearing myself. Fred and Erica assured me we got enough takes to edit and fuse something together. We’re going to use some B-roll material (extra footage from the trailer) in certain instances as well to add more context. This and the trailer, should be ready by Friday, Jan. 10th. Then we go all out with setting it up on indiegogo and having conversations with movers and shakers (people we know personally who can help). No contribution is too small. Be a part of it in whatever way you can.
My hat’s off to all my actors. You make it look easy.