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The Indie Chronicles: Progress Through People


a blogumn by Rob Ripley

So after swallowing what I thought was my pride (but wound up only being my ego), I started calling people on the list I’d made the previous week, asking if they might be interested in working on a short film for a first-time director with a minimal budget that pays virtually nothing.

Can you tell why I was lousy salesperson?

indexcardAs I’ve mentioned, I don’t do well asking for help or favors. I feel graceless and am racked with overwhelming thoughts of failure, both of which are not only ridiculous, but counter to my basic philosophy of relying on teamwork to make the most of resources. So I took a deep breath and started emailing and leaving voice mails, nervous as hell that I was surely ending some of the best relationships I have.

But the positive response left me speechless. I actually cried twice after hanging up the phone with two friends. I won’t say who, though if you get a couple of beers in me I’d probably give up the names.

Why was I so moved?

Everyone I talked with wanted to be part of this little experiment and if they couldn’t, were so happy to refer me to a colleague they’d worked with and knew to be reliable and collaborative. The amount of support and well-wishes and excitement expressed by friends and colleagues was not only humbling, but also reminded me of the best part of working in this business and life in general – the people.

After three days of these kinds of phone calls, I started to find a little perspective. Nothing, not a single thing I was attempting to do with this project hadn’t already been done by countless people. Knowing that I had people out there who were excited for me and wanted to be part of the project had a calming and restorative effect. I physically began to relax and enjoy the learning (and sleep again!).

I finally made the conscious decision to simply find those people who wanted to work on the project, value them and be open to their ideas. Take a leap of faith (or a bunch of them!). Something I hadn’t been able to do with the written word in a while.

So, now, recharged and filled with joy brought on only by knowing that there are people in your life who support you, I spent the day drafting deal memos for three people to make them officially part of the Imbalance design team. That’s a damned good days work.

The real value though, was being reminded that I spend far too much time staring at a computer, shuffling index cards with scenes on them and niggling over whether or not a character “glances sideways” or “offers a sidelong glance” instead of sitting with people whom I care about and listening to what’s going on in their lives, their successes and failures. As much as I try not to be, I am, in the end, a writer.

Becoming official (or, how to be frustrated by paperwork without really trying).

. photo credit: Graham Ballantyne