There is little in life as formidable as the blank page. A friend of mine made a movie about it. It’s kind of funny, really, the writer writes one line, crosses it out and starts again with a new blank page. If it were me, I’d just keep going. I wouldn’t want to continually have to face a new blank page. Especially if I was struggling to write something on it. I think I’d find the first bad sentence a relief. It would, at least, be a start.
Not everything starts well. I’m not saying it isn’t magic when it does, but even life starts out pretty messy if you ask me. It doesn’t mean you can’t take it to sunny places.
I don’t think I should cross anything out anyway. I don’t erase my drawings, either. I can’t take this train too far out the station, though, because I do unravel yarn and rip up seams in practically every project I ever make. It’s almost become part of the process. I make something, I learn from it, I see how I can make it better, then I take things apart and start over.
This method works brilliantly. It is somewhat frustrating for someone who likes to do things “right” the first time, but for me it’s part of the process. I have repainted walls, art and my own face if the result doesn’t suit me. It doesn’t matter to me how many times it takes, it’s just a process.
Which is why I had such a great time working on our short film today. 42 takes. That should be the name of the movie. 42 takes. But it’s not the title, it’s seriously the amount of takes we did. As crazy as it is, I think it was more than worth it. It was like exercise; we just kept going and going and the thing got better and better.
In case anyone else besides me is wondering, the most recorded takes of a scene I could find written about was by Charlie Chaplin. It was 342 takes for a scene from City Lights. That makes 42 sound like rehearsal.