Saturday, March 12, 2011

Missing Metaphors

Try as I might (and I really have tried), I just cannot come up with a better way to describe the whole process of writing, directing and promoting a feature film than the old tried and true saw: It's a lot like having a baby.

As dramatic as it may sound, child birth seems to be the most appropriate metaphor to explain what a life-changing, all-absorbing experience it really is.

Even though I am not a mother myself in the biological sense, I do have enough friends and family who are mothers to know that once you have a child you are constantly inhabited on some level by the responsibility, love, concern and yes, guilt you feel toward that child. That helpless being you brought into the world haunts your consciousness 24-7. Its welfare is the last thing you think of before you fall asleep at night and the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

Such is the experience of making and then nurturing an independent film. In fact, so many parallels can be drawn between parenting and low-budget filmmaking that no other metaphor comes close to being a viable contender. So I've surrendered myself to just going with it...

However that logic does break down when you consider that even after gestating the film for an unbelievable six years, it still ends up in an incubator as soon as it enters the world.... its life literally hanging in the balance from the second it's born.

And you wonder, how can something seemingly so "ripe in the womb" still be so incredibly fragile once it finally emerges?

Then again, they say it takes a village to raise a child.... And everyone knows how hard it is in this day and age to rally a whole village to take care of any one thing, let alone someone else's baby.

Okay, there's that damn metaphor again.

Don't get me wrong, plenty of people - family, friends and strangers alike have already gone out of their way, dropping by to see the "baby" during visiting hours. Almost all have had warm, positive and emotional reactions to it. They've written newspaper articles about it. Featured it on t.v., radio and the web. They've wanted to know more about it, about how it was made, about what hopes we have for its future, about how it makes them feel. They wish it well. They tell their friends about it.

It's been a joyous, but equally tenuous, time. The reality is that incubators are at a premium in this country and our visiting hours have already been cut back. Only a week into its life and I know my "baby's" days are numbered.

So like any mother would, I lay awake at night - still counting my many blessings - but wondering if there's something - anything - more that I should have done, or that I still can do, to keep my baby alive... No metaphor intended!