The Joys of Gate-Making

17 May

My parents continue to live in my childhood home and I continue to be my mother’s default handyman.  You name it, I’ve done it, everything from changing light bulbs to repiping their entire house!  My mother’s most recent repair order was to rebuild two decrepit gates, one on each side of her house.  So after a few weeks of resistance, I finally gave in.

It took me an entire Saturday to replace both gates, from scratch.  It was hot and I made plenty of mistakes, but the day ended up being immensely fun and rewarding.  It felt great to work with my hands and apply myself in a tangible, concrete way.  But in the end, the best part was to see and experience the fruits of my labor.  There was immediate satisfaction and a sense of completion after mounting the gates and shutting them closed.

I wish filmmaking was more like building gates.  I wish the turnaround time of a feature film was in days, even months, rather than years.  It would be amazing to see and experience the results of my filmmaking work on a daily basis, rather than a monthly, even yearly basis.

Don’t get me wrong: I do feel a sense of accomplishment nearly every day, whether working on my script or composing important emails, but nothing compares to sitting back and watching your completed film with an audience, which doesn’t happen too often.

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2 Responses to “The Joys of Gate-Making”

  1. Jim May 17, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    Concrete, work with the hands certainly is satisfying. I believe it’s one of the “filters” or selectors for doing film work. I mean, if you are not a person who can take satisfaction in a long-term project without a lot of direct feedback until the end of the process, you will have a tough time making a film. I used to be a photographer and my friend the painter had a hard time with developing film and making prints (old days, remember?) because he needed to make a gesture and see the paint in front of him on the canvas. On one level, filmmaking remains a complex industrial process that happens to have this artistic core.

    • Christopher May 17, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      Quite true, Jim. And, honestly, the delayed/long-term nature of filmmaking has been one of my top obstacles.

      Your reference to a complex industrial process is right on and I’d like to add its more like an abstract industrial process. In other words, we rarely deal with concrete elements, versus the auto worker.

      It’s funny you mention photography. I too worked with traditional still film for many years (had my own darkroom), but compared to motion picture film work, still photography, even traditional, was immediately gratifying!!! I used to shoot up to 4 or 5 rolls of film, process them and print proof sheets all within a day. And if I was really motivated, I would make enlargements. That was immensely satisfying…

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