Reflecting on 2017... Wow. It was a busy year for me.
I believe, that by default, we all grow with each passing year. But I feel I made the extra effort, not trying to brag, in 2017 to really get myself out of my comfort zone.
Started the year off with a series of improv nights I forced myself to host and take part in. Eek! Improv was always so scary for me. You could imagine, right? Going "on stage" in front of people with no plan of attack, not knowing what to say, or even what was going to be said to you, and perform?!?! Ouch. In doing so, even on the small scale we were doing it on, I became less afraid of the unknown and began accepting the fact that life is improv. Therefore, getting more comfortable with improv made me more confident in the day-to-day unknowingness (yes, that's a word now ha) we call life. It's been awesome and I'm hoping to bring those improv nights back in some fashion in 2018 (may be a theme of this blog ha).
On top of improv, the other new thing for me (which comes in two phases) is teaching my short film production workshop through EV Pictures in collaboration with Take 2 Performers Studio (Reno's premier talent space). Phase one was just teaching in general. I feel like I'm instructing all the time through what I do with the Reno Film Collective, but this was a class-style setting was a first for me! It was awesome having a committed group ready to learn the things I felt were important for them to know.
This first class was comprised of mostly adults 20+ with a couple early teens, all awesome folk. Lucky me!! Phase two was the same thing, but with a class full of under-13s. Whew. May have been more nervous for this than for improv (or maybe not... tough to pick). I learned a ton. Walking youngsters through a tedious process ranged from awesome to scary, but wow, it's hard to not enjoy seeing the fun they were all having. Feeling much more comfortable with the idea of directing children now, I'll tell you that. Woo!
What else happened? Hmm...
Oh yeah. Up until July or so I had been working a part-time brainless job to make sure I could afford to pursue all this other stuff I was doing, but then boom. Suddenly I was able to go full-time with EV Pictures!! That was a big deal–still is. Now let's see if I can maintain never working a "traditional" job ever again. Fingers crossed....
I was largely able to do so by landing a position on a couple feature films in the area. One that was filming out near Portola and the other in Carson City. The Portola gig was for 2 weeks in which I was lucky enough to land the position of 2nd Assistant Director. An intense couple weeks (to put it lightly) and I was happy with the way I was able to handle the situations I was put in. Micro-budget is a tough world. I got plenty of compliments about my professionalism, it can be hard to tell if people are just being nice or really mean it, but I felt I deserved them... duh haha.
Finally with some feature film set experience under my belt I was able to get a quick recommendation when the next feature was headed in. This one much bigger (in comparison). It was filming down in Carson City and, as many locals know, is called 'Mustang.' I was the first Reno person to land a spot on the crew of this feature film, which I'm super stoked to be able to say, and I didn't leave until the last of us called it a complete location wrap nearly 10 weeks later.
Sometimes one just gets lucky. Sometimes one plays a big a part in creating some of that luck. This was a prime example. Not many people know this, but being so early in on the production, I was tasked with picking up the bulk of the big creatives from the Reno airport, which included the director (Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre). It was a Sunday and all I was told was to pick them up and drive them to their Carson City housing. Boom. Easy. But guess what happened when we got there...?
I'll tell you (ha). After kinda just lingering a bit news broke that Laure had to be in SF later that day... and the others were going to do some location scouting up at Virginia City... and guess who was there to help? Yes, good job, it was me (I had kept that day open just in case, good thing). So I was faced with a decision... who to drive? .. Come on, I knew what the right choice here was. I volunteered to drive the Director to San Francisco which eventually turned into 12 hours of 1-on-1 time between her and I... talking, casting call, eating, more talking. ...
The reason I tell all this is to really hit home this next point coming up... ....but first, guess who she came to while we were a couple weeks into pre-production when she needed help managing all the stuff she had to do? Yes, right again, it was me. She hadn't had the chance to get to know anyone else really, I'm not even sure she knew what I was doing at the time she asked me, but that's how I landed the position I stayed with, Assistant to Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre.
It's something I try to get others to understand. This is basic life advice here. That put yourself into positions where you'll get these opportunities. And by "these opportunities" I mean "opportunities that you can't plan for, that really all you're doing is making a favorable impression and hoping for the best." ... I was able to witness firsthand so much of the filmmaking process. Getting to see the Director, Director of Photography, and Assistant Director do what they do best in preparation for the shoot then seeing how they handled all the obstacles along the way was invaluable. I got to be in rooms during some pivotal decisions including all the biggest decision-makers on this production. Loved every moment of it!!!
So when I look back at 2017, what I see is every big moment I found myself in was set up by other deliberate decisions I had made years before. It all adds up. Things don't just happen. I needed to understand that things would pay off eventually, I just didn't when or how... and that's how I'm going to continue to operate into 2018. If it ain't broke.
The other big deal I think about when looking back at this year is being able to watch others, who I consider my friends, put in their time. Then being able to recognize them with a recommendation when asked to offer up names has been super rewarding for me! Makes me so happy to see others trying as hard as I am to get to where they want to be... and I don't want to see them stop... and I won't stop supporting them.
That's how I've always been. If I see you want it and you're going for it, wow, you're my favorite type of person. And that's why the Reno Film Collective is built the way it is, I leave it up to those interested to prove their willingness to include themselves. So yeah, let's keep making things happen, shall we?
No idea what 2018 will bring, but couldn't be more excited! (:
If you made it this far in the read THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Means a lot. I didn't know what this would turn out to be, but I feel like I've unpacked a decent amount in here. Always appreciate the continued support.
Okay, 2018. Let's go.
- Eddie Vigil V