For the past decade I’d say my journey has been defined by intentional process learning. I know it kind of sounds stupid to say because everyone’s life is basically marked by some kind of process. However, if you’re anything like me you’ve found yourself resistant to much of it, trying to shorten it, skip around it, and then you end up doing it both the short and the long way.
It’s amazing to me that I’ve come to a place to not only embrace process but seek it as a tool. For much of my life I hated school even though I did well. Once I graduated college I had determined that I would never return. That was until I wanted a degree in something that I was passionate about, writing. When I enrolled in grad school I was determined to write a novel. Once I went through a few classes it seemed that I had storytelling ideas and styles that worked for television and movies. However, it was a hard thing to switch concentrations. I knew nothing about screenwriting and felt as though I was much more experienced with writing for fiction books. Truth of the matter was that I probably had just about the same amount of experience as I hadn’t produced much on the book front at the time either.
So what was it really that had me so apprehensive? What I thought I was comfortable with. Because I’ve read books, I felt like I at least knew something about how they should be written, what they should look like (I didn’t and probably still don’t actually know this for sure). The screenwriting format scared the confidence out of me. Sure I had watched movies and television shows, but I had never read a script. And then when I did, the spacing pattern didn’t jump out at me. I’d have to learn it and master it before I run out and purchase the software. Because if I’m going to do it, I need to know it in case my tools fail me. Sidenote: I treat almost everything like math. I learn long division to better understand how to use the shortcut.
So I went ahead and studied screenwriting. Loved it, still do. And how about it taught me a great deal about writing stories too. I didn’t know what that process was going to gift me, but I’m glad I went with it. Still there were some things that remained unknown to me. At the time I was getting my degree I didn’t get much hands on experience with how to shoot film and how it all came together as a finished product. So I wrote a script and filmed a web series that I posted to YouTube. My main focus was teaching myself how things can come together and/or fall apart. I learned why each role (cameraman, sound person, actors, editor, score) was so critical. Most importantly I learned by ding it myself, the value I placed on these roles.
I don’t want to do it all by myself. I don’t feel like I have the same level of excellence in each arena and it’s not the best way to produce a polished product. However, I also learned that I could do it. So when planning for future projects I know what I’m asking, what’s being asked of me, and that helps me determine what terms I consider fair. By taking myself through the process I empowered myself.
Process in general isn’t typically fun. It’s tedious, strenuous, and at times downright painful. It can leave you full of doubt, exhausted, and yes it cause you to shed a tear. But once you make it to the other side you’re more knowledgable, realistic, and equipped with a much bigger toolbox.