Well, here it is — the promised post when my project was completed.
Today, I mailed out 32 copies of a 6 DVD set that I’ve been working on since January 2008 -- they are only the pre-purchased copies, but at least they're out.
It didn’t really occur to me until today that it had taken a full nine months, even though I’ve been saying to my Beloved for the last month that I felt like a pregnant mother — a pregnant mother at eight months — at that point where she is fully and completely convinced that the baby will NEVER be born, and that she will be pregnant for the rest of her life.
I was like that a month ago. Seriously.
I was even more like that a week ago.
And I was completely like that this last Sunday.
So, I thought I would blog a bit about the process.
First of all, “process” is such a quaint word, don’t you think?
We use it for so many things, and so often, I find myself tossing this poor, defenseless word out when what I’m talking about is something so all-consuming that seven letters is just not going to cut it.
So I’ll stop using the word “process” for this process — because it’s just not fair to that pitiful little word — instead, I’ll use the phrase “Oh My God What Was I Thinking When I Had Even a Momentary Twinkle Of An Idea That I Could Write Direct Shoot Engineer Animate Edit And Produce a 6 Fucking DVD SET?!?!?!?!??! In Less Than A Year No Less!!?!??!?!?! What The Bloody Hell Made Me Think I Could Do That?!?!?!?!?!?!”
For short, I’ll just refer to that as: “OMFG!!” as this post progresses.
In the beginning, it all seemed so simple, really.
Sure, there would be “learning curves” as I took on new software and new technologies, but hey, I’m a software-savvy type-o-gal! — I could handle that.
Just whip out some computer animations (more on this as the days progress), shoot a bit of film of a class I’ve taught more than 60 times in the last ten years (conservatively speaking), and send those babies out there!
Not so much.
First of all, my experiences over the last nine months have given me a profound and humbling respect for the people who make movies — especially animated movies, but really, all types of motion pictures. Unless you’ve done it, even in the small way that I have done it, you really can not imagine the level of detail and attention required.
I’m putting up this post tonight, and will probably follow with more details in the near future, as I have a desire to chronicle it for myself, but I’ll skip right to last week and give you a hint of what kind of experience has been consuming me up till the moment I walked into the Post Office today with a big fat box of packaged DVDs:
A week ago Tuesday, I was all wrapped. The project was edited and mastered and ready to duplicate. I had purchased a handy-dandy (code for “expensive”) machine to burn and print the disks for me in preparation for sending them out.
Which machine turned out not so handy-dandy right then. Which machine, in fact, decided to morph into a rather expensive paper-weight on my desk right then, and crash my computer again and again and again and again to boot.
I remained fairly calm through this part (which amazes me). However, after I spent the weekend (while tech support was completely unavailable) reloading my entire hard-drive, repairing Windows XP, and hand-burning over 400 DVDs . . . . . well, let’s just say that my “labor” was progressing.
On Monday night, after days of struggle with the computer, and the machine, and the disks, and the OMFG!!!, I received an email from the computer tech at the company that makes the incredibly expensive paper-weight telling me that “Ooops! Maybe it wasn’t a software problem after all! Maybe I had a dysfunctioning unit.”
That was the moment that I lost it. At 2-ish am on Monday, after 5 days of constant, patient trying and retrying something that I probably didn’t need to be doing anyway — cause the thing just wasn’t going to work.
I boo-hooed like a baby at my desk. I ranted and raved internally. (Good thing tech support wasn’t open, or the tech would have gotten an email that would have blown the eyeballs straight out of his head).
But it was good that I had that tantrum, I think — when a woman’s in labor, they call this the “transition tantrum” — it’s the point where she looks at anyone around her who is trying to help her (often/usually the father) and says something really rational like “YOU BASTARD!!!! YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!!”
Doctors and midwives often take this to be a very good sign. It means that everything is progressing perfectly.
At the moment, I was not able to perceive this. Had I been asked at this moment, I would have been, like: What is this progression of which you speak?
However, progress I did, and out it came, and my “baby” has now become a teen (in just under 48 hours), flying out into the world as a teenager, ready to be greeted by others.
That part feels very abrupt to me right now (the infant-to-teen in 48 hours bit).
One of the pregnancy-metaphor moments that I had last Friday was the moment when I was reviewing some material on one of the disks and suddenly thought: “OMFG!!! It’s crap. It’s totally awful, crappy, crap!” This can happen when you’re “too close” to a project. It’s a moment as normal and important as the moment when you think that what you’ve just made is the most perfect and incredible thing ever made by any human being in all of recorded and unrecorded history (and yes, I had that moment, too).
At any rate, it’s done, and it’s out in the world, which feels simultaneously hugely relieving, and incredibly scary. It is what it is, and I hope that others will see it and be helped by it and will enjoy watching it — but even if they don’t, this phase of it is done.
I’ll go and rest quietly now, but I'm very, very glad to be back to my blog.