We say it all the time. "My film is my baby." It's true -- our films are our babies; conceived by our creativity, gestated in our imagination, and birthed through the months and years of our greatest filmmaking efforts. Though many of you may not be mothers or fathers of human children, you are, or at least hope to one day be, mothers of cinematic ones. So, let's celebrate this most glorious of Mother's Days by having some fun and recognize the maternal qualities that help filmmakers nurture their projects.
We work our asses off
The very first time I ever worked a 12-hour day was on a set, and I have to admit, I was totally blindsided by the amount of work I had signed up for -- even as a PA. Long days of being on your feet, lifting things, rigging stuff, and expending all of your physical, mental, and emotional energy is just a part of the job we love to do.
We wear tons of hats
In the same way that moms can be their children's doctors, therapists, personal chefs, drill sergeants, accountants, spiritual advisors, and chauffeurs, filmmakers too must often be their film's everything, especially if you've got no money and a skeleton crew. Even if we don't know how to, say, edit, or light, or record audio, we had better learn, because we're not always going to have someone there to do it for us. The buck must always stop with us.
We're patient -- so, so patient
I've never seen a mom be so patient than when my little sister went through teaching her youngest son not to "make potions" in the toilet. He'd sneak off into the bathroom to dump Legos, Army guys, rocks -- anything he could find -- in there, even going so far as to "paint" the seat with Mama's nail polish. She'd feel an eerie calm in the house, listen for screaming children, hear nothing, and know that boy was mixing up something special.
We experience plenty of that as filmmakers. Part of being a one means being able to keep up with the high stress environment that comes with the job, as well as performing tasks over and over again, trying to fight off losing our passion. Conversely, we also have to deal with the lulls, months of waiting on calls and letters, and charging forward despite constant disappointments and setbacks -- all without going completely nuts. We have to keep working even if we don't see results for days, months, even years.
We put our child before ourselves
How many hours of sleep have you lost because of the demands of your film? How many times have you not gone to BBQs, parties, or holiday festivities because you were in the middle of shooting? You use your vacation and sick days not to enjoy the relaxation you most definitely need, but to finish up your film's final edit.
Filmmakers sacrifice themselves constantly for their projects. They spend their hard-earned money, time, and effort to bring something into the world -- oftentimes for the sheer joy of doing it.
We love unconditionally
It doesn't matter if a film has taken us into the 7th circle of hell; we love our babies anyway. The sleepless nights, the lost footage, the corrupt disk drives, the countless times you've become a pile of emotional wreckage at the feet of Murphy's Law -- though you may grit your teeth and sneak off to have a midnight shot of bourbon atop the washing machine, it doesn't make you love your film any less. We never stop believing in our film's potential to entertain audiences, speak into lives, and command its presence in the world -- even when others are telling us differently.
Though bringing a films and people into the world brings immeasurable joy to their creators, in the end, indie filmmakers and moms alike just want what's best for their babies. They just want them to reach their full potential. And -- you know -- there's always that unspoken (and often denied) dream for your child to one day grow up and become successful enough for you to live in the lap of luxury -- or at least in a decent nursing home. (Don't deny it, moms.)
What other motherly qualities do you see in indie filmmakers? How great are moms, right!? Share your thoughts in the comments below, even if -- no -- especially if it's to tell us how awesome your mom is!