No Ambition is going swimmingly! I'm almost done with the rough edit of the movie, and I think the movie is going to be "good". That by no means is a guarantee at my level of the game, so that's one small victory I suppose. However, it isn't finished, and I have yet to show to the public, who will ultimately let me know what the movie is worth. I suppose I can't get my hopes up too high with a movie called "No Ambition".
I will say, that it's been a great process. Despite all the hurdles, I have come a long distance from where I started. I have to admit, I never doubted that I would. I suppose that could be arrogance or insanity, but I have a feeling it's simply insanely arrogant ambition spawning from every day boredom that I went through between 2002 and 2004. Maybe I can call it, when I grew up.
I have been working hard with Anthony Peters, the Co-Lead of the movie. He did a great job, as did all the cast. I have been hard pressed because Mr. Peters is leaving in about a week and half for Iraq, and he will be gone for at least a year, supposedly. He didn't find out until a couple months ago. That means, I have been working overtime to get this edit done. I did have an editor lined up, and she is still lined up to edit, however, she just so happens to be Jazmin Jamais, one of the producers of "Streets", a movie directed and written by my good friend Isaac Escobedo. Considering "Streets" began shooting the day after Christmas, and preproduction enters the busiest stages two months before the first day of shooting, which a producer is obligated to attend to, Jazmin was extremely busy starting October, a month before I found out Mr. Peters was heading out.
Editing was going to start after Streets was done shooting, but since Anthony is leaving, I had to start the edit in late November, myself. I've never edited a feature film before, but... it's been a cool process. It's been very long hours because I have a day job. Also, I co-produced Streets as well. So, there were days a couple weeks ago, during the production of Streets where I would be on set for 10-12 hours, then go edit all night, then sleep a couple hours, then go back to set. Also, I would sit and write when I could, not because I'm a some super over achiever, but because if I didn't I probably would have slipped into a coma of some sort. It's all very satisfying to see all of this come together.
I will say this, it's hard to make movies. To me, it has very little to do with the actually process, it has to do with the expectations built into this 'industry'. There were many people close to me, or around me, who I felt didn't actually believe I could make a full length movie, let alone make one that might have a remote chance of being good. I think what I experienced might have been the fear of others which came out as subtle discouragement. I think sometimes people try to spare others and themselves from failure by small nudges such as, 'well if that doesn't work we will still love you', or 'sure, go for it, you can only try', or other things such as 'you? you're a joke!'. I suppose an example would be this; let's say I wanted to be a painter because I thought I could do it, and the people around me hear what I'm trying to do, and point out the works of Michaelangelo, Picasso or Rembrandt, and make qualitative judgments on my possible success rate based off of those masters divine talent, stating things like, you will never be as good as them, or, why bother, it's all been done? In response I say, so what?
Why do I sound like a haggard old sour grape right now? Maybe because I'm about to turn it all around. What I am trying to say is, so what if others don't think YOU are good enough to do the ambitious things you say you want to do. So what if there are certain standards out there in the wide world? Aren't many of those standards propagated and embellished by people who have never tried to do anything related to the various fields of interest you are trying to pursue? For example, I could easily discourage a kid from wanting to be an NFL star, or be President, no problem. I would cite the statistics and tell them that it pretty much is not going to happen. But why would I do that? In my perspective, it's wiser to encourage a kid, or even an adult, to take their dreams seriously, to aspire positively towards something they find meaningful, with the assumption that most likely, if they have any sort of encouragement, they will be forced to arrive at a moment of truth. This moment of truth is the point at which they start to actualize their dreams, and many times, usually, in my opinion, these dreams are released, because they are not at all what was expected. The moment of truth might arrive after years pursuing a dream, but realizing it's not going to happen, but in trying, they might have learned great skills along the way, which might be applied to something else. So what if they failed? Failure is a part of life. Fear is the problem.
Fear doesn't need to be a part of life, or at least, not such a big part of society. I understand putting your hand in a bonfire hurts for a reason, and there's a reason why fear is built up around it. But sometimes people need to risk "life and limb" so to speak. Sometimes people need to go for broke. Life can't be all safe and secure, if it was, all infants would opt to stay inside the womb, rather than face the cold world outside it.
I suppose in this county, and in this country, at this time of life, we need to overcome our lack of ambition. We are going to need to work. Hard. VERY hard. And we deserve it. We have been irresponsible for too long, decades. I'm talking about Americans spending habits, and the American governments overzealousness. I believe it's time for a purpose, to create a new level of responsibility and create a level of ambition in everyone. So, that's why I make movies.
That's why I made No Ambition. That's why Anthony Peters is going back to Iraq again. I wanted to inspire people to see themselves and maybe prick their hearts, maybe make them want to do something with their lives. Something they have a say in, not something they are forced into by any social structure. Anthony joined because he wanted to defend America, and that's why he is doing what he is doing. He wasn't drafted. Symbolically, I hope people lay down their video game controllers and pick up a shovel. That's my goal.
But I have more work to do right now. Expect to work harder for what you have, but expect to get more for what you do, through how you do it.