04 October 2010

The Fish to Pond Ratio, Part 2



Last week I renewed the registration on my car, which was kind of tricky, as it contained the following conversation:

DMV: So the Pittsburgh address, that's your current address?
Me: Sort of.
DMV: Are you living there?
Me: No.
DMV: Well, where are you living?
Me: Nowhere, really.

Turns out I'm a resident of Pittsburgh, still. That's where I'm registered to vote[1] and that's where my driver's license says I live, which is I guess what matters. I don't know.

It's going to be tricky when someone like me figures out how to avoid getting mail altogether. How will I register my car then?

I guess one of two will happen over the next year: I'll either pick a new place to live and be there for a year or so, or I won't, instead floating around the country with what will fit in my car and the rest of my things in storage scattered around the country. Both are kind of exhausting to think about.

One thing that I think I learned by shooting Up Country is that while it's certainly easier to make a film where you live, it isn't impossible. Flights go anywhere you can imagine. You can film wherever you can imagine. And, hell, it's almost easier to get people involved in a project that's not where they live. There's a certain sense of adventure to it that appeals to a lot of people.

Right now I'm still in Maine, starting to edit Up Country and kicking the tires on a few projects. Most of them will film in places I wouldn't necessarily want to live in.

So what does that mean? I guess it means I float for a little professionally, which is fine by me. I like traveling a great deal. Airports are some of my favorite places. I'm intrigued by the idea of seeing just how many films in a row I can make without repeating a city. But I think that's really just a by-product of not knowing where I should move next. I could go back to Pittsburgh. It's the safe play, but I don't know that I want to make a film in Pittsburgh. It's a decent film community, but not great, and the lack of support for the Indies for Indies screening series (and the Hollywood Theater in general) was pretty telling.

Or I could go to one of the indie film hot spots: NYC, Austin, San Francisco. There'd be a lot more resources (just ask Jarrod Whaley how much easier it was to put a film together in SF, as opposed to Chattanooga), a much greater creative "vibe", but I become a small fish in a big pond, and maybe not even in a pond I want to film in. What's the point in living in SF if I decide to shoot my next film in Mexico anyway? In that case, isn't SF the same as Pittsburgh, which is the same as Maine?

Then aren't you just living in the airport terminals between where you work and where you pay rent?

I'm beginning to think that, more and more, the pond is the internet. We're all in the same pond, whether we want to be or not. Where we chose to live then becomes a question of where can we best get our films made? Where are we happiest, personally and professionally? Where can we find a day job that meshes best with this lifestyle (easier said than done)?

Is it possible to live in, say, Pittsburgh or Maine and go to NYC & LA several times a year? Sure. Does it make more sense to just live in NYC? Maybe. Or maybe it doesn't. NYC is expensive.

Honestly, I have no idea. Which isn't good, because it kind of dictates what the next chapter of my life will look like.


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[1] Although apparently they never took me off the voting roles in Maine, so I could have been voting in Maine and PA all along. Maybe TN too. Who knows?

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