“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.” —Unknown
Independence is a word I have come to respect. Independence, from the root word independent, antonym of dependent, synonym of self-determining. It exists in different degrees and I find it sometimes blossoms after uttering the phrase, “What the hell….”
In the publishing world, independence can come from self-publishing. The power stays with the book writer. So does the cost and marketing, but in the name of dedication to art, those details are worth it to get the project made. There are shelves full of amazing self-published stories.
In the movie world, Independent or “Indy” probably means low(er) budget and less exposure. But the movie creators keep the control (and expense) close, also worth it to get the project made. This is one reason I love movie sites like Netflix. There’s an entire Independent Film virtual shelf full of amazing low-budget, high-impact stories.
Like most people at certain times in their lives, my new degree of independence is starting to grow on me. It seems to be about balancing the release of control over the big things—which, as it turns out, is just an illusion anyway—and being really selective in the new directions I move into.
And right now—today—no complaints from this spot. Sometimes it takes a little longer to find a starting block, but as one of my favorite columnists recently wrote, “I think happiness is where you find it. Don’t look for it in the past. It isn’t there. Don’t wait for it in the future. It won’t come. It can only be found in this moment, what you make of it. ‘Happily ever after’ starts now.”
So if “now” is it, then “it” is all about independence. In tribute to the idea itself, I am going to be a part of the “stubbornly independent” 2012 Tallgrass Film Fest, Wichita’s 10th annual four-day festival is this October. Ten thousand people, they say, come to town for the 120 films, galas, screenings, Q&A sessions and after parties. (Visit tallgrassfilmfest.com)
And apparently it takes a ton of volunteers to make it happen. So I am one in a ton. They made promises: premier movie viewings, meeting filmmakers, yummy foods and a snazzy T-shirt. Need they offer more?
I am all official, signed up and noted, patiently waiting for my exact duties. I don’t care where they stick me. I might sell tickets or work a booth, count ballots for the awards, or work as a greeter, acting as if I were an experienced Indy-fester. I can fake it ’til I make it. By the time my stint is over, I will be one of them and I am excited for that moment.
The angst I am dealing with now is trying to figure out how to answer the question they are going to ask all of us at the volunteer meeting in a couple of weeks: “What film has most impacted your life and why?”
Why do I feel like I am going to somehow give the wrong answer to an opinion question? (And would it be a cop-out to exercise my independence and answering with “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”?)