The Big “L” – 1/12


I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more distraught during the writing of a post. I don’t know that I’ve ever sat down and written feeling so helplessly frustrated.

Yesterday was a failure. An enormous failure. A huge, whopping, capital “L”.

The day began great, with big plans and lofty ambitions. Everything was set and ready, the props were in order, and I even purchased a knock-off “selfie-stick” to help with coverage(Just Leasing was to be filmed on my phone camera, you see).

A few hours into filming, I locked my phone into place on a cheap tripod that is built for such a purpose. The mount simultaneously pressed and held 3 buttons on the side of my phone that led to a full system reset. Not only did I lose all my contacts and settings, but the footage was immediately washed.

It gets worse.

We came close to shooting the scenes over, but doubt entered the minds of the actors, perhaps with good reason – there was an arguably noticeable error in logic for a crucial scene, and tinkering with it affects the rest of the episode.

A long enough discussion led to an inevitable decision to postpone filming until a later date. We broke for lunch at a local taco shop. I brought in my laptop to show Jordan and Catrina, who are also involved in Cheaters Prosper, some of the scenes.

I store the footage on an external, 3 terabyte hard drive that attaches to my computer by a USB chord. When I finally found a particular scene I wanted to show, the external hard drive fell off the table and smacked a metal piece beside my seat, breaking it instantly. I am no longer able to access the hard drive, and it makes a clicking sound when I plug it in.

I can’t tell you how upset I am. I can’t even pinpoint what I am most upset about. The good news is, even if the data from my brand new $139 hard drive is irretrievable, we will only have lost about 5 pages of film, as my brother and friend still have saved copies of the remaining footage.

I don’t believe in blind persistence. I don’t believe in trying to make something work that cannot, nor do I believe in trying to do something you are incapable of doing. I do not like to waste time. I do not like to lose.

But when I deem a pursuit worthy of fighting for, I fucking fight.

So what is the lesson learned today? What is the meaning of all this?

The lesson is simple. Today was a shitty day. Bad things happened. For Spiritual reasons? For failing to be more conscious of sensitive equipment? For no reason?

You will never learn by focusing the factors that led to failure. If you want to be a critic, a hater, or another captain hindsight, go ahead and focus on the aspects of things that influence demise. But in order to find success, you must keep your eyes the actions that breed it.

Verizon saves texts message conversations in cloud storage, and I was able to retrieve the phone numbers of every person I’ve conversed with over the last 90 days. That is sufficient to store the numbers of every person whom I consider an essential part of my life.

There are specialists who have the technology to retrieve data from damaged hard drives. For an external one such as my own, the customer must pay a pretty penny ($500 is a good estimate). Perhaps the company that manufactured my hard drive may be able to help me for a nominal fee.

Or, we could always re-shoot. The actors have their lines down pat, and the only difficulty would be getting the actors to do the 4-5 hour shoot all over again. It would move faster than before thanks to having gone through it once already.

I guess my point is this – you can’t just fold once things go wrong. You can’t allow harsh critiques of your work to convince you’re not cut out for writing. When things go wrong, you must seek out ways to fix them. Errors happen, and they’re part of any game.

I’m afraid to take my next step forward, but in the walk of life the only other option is to retreat. I’m not going to retreat, and I’m not going to stop. I’m going to run until I reach that Goddamn finish line, and if I have to crawl by the time I get there, so be it.

  • Thomas M. Watt

25 thoughts on “The Big “L” – 1/12

  1. THIS is why I follow you. It’s hard, at this point of my life, to keep bouncing back up. Watching you, always pushing forward, helps me. “Fuck, Yeah!” is our battle cry.

    • Hahaha! I’m with you for life than. The struggle is real, but so are the prizes we are after. I’m really happy to hear such a genuine compliment; that drives me to keep going. Thank you, and “Fuck Yeah!”

  2. Thomas, this is a minor series of setback. And how will you earn your stripes as a director if you don’t know how to troubleshoot. Treat these experiences as a gift. You’ve grown three feet taller and nothing can stop you now. xo

  3. As an old guy who loves to climb mountains I would suggest that the lessons of experience only come with experience, and wisdom one morsel at a time. When we’re on a mountain we always remind ourselves that it’s the climb, not the summit that we enjoy the most.

    • Haha, that is some funny yet true advice. I think you have a good perspective on things; I often get to caught up in racing to complete tasks. Great analogy, I’m going to take that to heart. Thanks Dale!

  4. I love your spunkiness! Your Never Give Up spirit. Successful people, such as yourself, learn from their mistakes to prevent the same error from occurring if possible, and move on toward your goal. Somehow through all this you’re going to make a better production!

    Celebrate your spirit!

    • Thank you Adrienne. Well if I didn’t share my failures I’d have nobody to share the load with me, and then I wouldn’t be able to walk. Thank you Adrienne, that means a lot coming from you!

  5. You got that pegged right: L. However, back to the lemonade–you can also view the re-shooting as another long take. The first shoot was a rehearsal. You’ve heard how one scene could have over a hundred takes! So, now you’ve experienced such a thing. I’m not disagreeing that it’s still a B- -tch, but hey, you live near a Beach. Swim along, baybee, you’ll get there with your determination.

  6. I would suggest you look at what went wrong just long enough to get the lesson from it. I am a slow learner and tend to repeat some errors over and over again until I get it right. Because I too tend to have issues with technology, I keep three copies of everything I write. Just to be safe. Because I finally learned to do so. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, or one inch of celluloid in the front of the next?

    • Some great points you’ve made here. You’re right in suggesting I learn from this – by saving on 2 separate hard drives, I can avoid ever making this mistake again. Thank you T. A.!

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