I’m very good at dreaming, but I have to admit that I’m less good at putting those dreams out there. Significantly less good. Does that sound familiar to you? I hope not, but if you’re like most of my friends and just about everyone I’ve ever met, it probably does. So, I’m going to guess you know what I’m talking about.
I think that deep down, or maybe not even so deep down, we all know that this is true. But we doubt anyway. Why? I could try to answer that, but I won’t, because right now I need to focus, not on the problem as I usually do, but on the solution. Because I find myself in the unusual position of having put something I care about out there in the public sphere, and now I have to see it through.
It happened the way these things usually do. An opportunity presented itself at just the time I was able to take advantage of it. That’s right. Opportunity knocked, and I answered.
It would have been so much easier to pretend that I wasn’t home. But the knocking this time was especially hard to ignore.
The axe-weilding harbinger of opportunity splintering the calm of procrastination came in the form of the latest incarnation of the Telus StoryHive Competition. Telus is a Canadian national Telecommunications giant that has come up with a brilliant way to procure new media content while at the same time supporting content creators who don’t normally have easy access to traditional methods of funding (read independent artists). A couple of times year they invite digital creators in Western Canada to submit proposals for Music Videos, Web Series or, in this case, short films. If they like your project and if you can demonstrate strong internet support, they’ll write you a cheque for $10k to make it a reality, no strings attached. That, as they say, is one hell of an axe. Okay, no one’s ever said that, but you have to admit that it is.
And Telus just happened to put out the call for 10 minute short films right when I had just come up with what I thought was a great idea for a 10 minute short film. All I needed was the money. How could I turn this down? Quite easily, if personal history has taught me anything at all. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve walked away from in my life, for one simple reason:
1. a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
“There is considerable doubt that anyone will give two hoots about anything that Mark Kandborg thinks is worthwhile.”
synonyms: uncertainty, unsureness, indecision, hesitation, dubiousness, suspicion, confusion; More. MUCH more…
1. feel uncertain about.
“I doubt my ability to do the job”
I’m sure you’ve heard of it. But this time, for whatever reason, doubt failed in it’s mission to cripple. It missed the tackle. It did it’s best, but I was still standing. And I went for it. They say, those wise people we like to ignore, that once you’ve made a decision, things tend to begin to move, almost of their own accord.
Exactly. I mean, not literally, because the universe is a faceless and heartless collection of atoms that doesn’t care about the Andromeda galaxy’s imminent collision with our own, so it certainly doesn’t care about my little project. But figuratively, because once you’ve really made a decision, certain actions are bound to follow and those actions have consequences which tend to make things real, fast. And I had made a decision to submit a project which absolutely terrified me.
It terrifies me first because I really care about it, but mostly because I simply do not know if I can pull it off. See, I suffer from the common desire to seek the path of least resistance. I don’t like resistance. It makes me feel funny. But really, it makes me feel doubt. Because I forget that hard is usually better, that easy almost always leads nowhere, that taking the easy way is really just boarding a train at Okay and riding it mindlessly till you get off at Not Great.
The path of least resistance for me is doing something I know I can do. I know I can make a traditional film about guns or the mob or any of a number of traditional short film subjects, and I know that any of those choices will dictate every detail from approach to structure to tone. It’s a formula, and it’s one that I’m very comfortable with. So this time I said no to formula and yes to fear.
I want to make a live action film about a mouse, a cat and a bird where the characters are all played by grown ass men and women wearing animal costumes. There. I’ve said it.
I want to tell a story where irony sits atop irony to reveal even more irony. I want to challenge my audience by making something new, something even I haven’t seen. Because that’s what I admire in others: The willingness to stand alone, to build something without certainty. To have faith.
I want to tell the story of Munchie Mouse, a Candide-esque character who’s innocence allows him to see beauty and wonder in the most unlikely places. Which I believe means that he sees the world around us for what it really is, a fairy tale.
We’re so lucky to be alive, to be experiencing new things, to be able to see beyond the darkness (and the doubt) through to the possibilities, by “squinting real hard”, as Munchie would say. Because I truly believe that the only way forward for our civilization, in this confusing time of distrust, judgement and outright paranoia is not to lash out, nor to ignore what’s all around us… but to have the willingness to see the good in people, in life… to actively seek out what Lincoln so beautifully described as the better angels of our nature, both in ourselves and in others.
But I can’t do it alone. StoryHive is a competition, after all, and as such will rely on Votes, Likes, Shares and Tweets to help determine if this little story deserves to be told.
I don’t like to ask for help. I mean, I’m Danish, after all, stoic to a fault. It’s like that old joke about a Dane’s last words: “I’m fine”.
But I need your help if I’m going to take this to the next step, which is to face my fears and actually make this thing.
If you want to help, for the sake of curiosity if nothing else, here’s how you can do it:
- Vote! You can vote for Munchie Mouse and the Land of Dreams once every day for the next week by going to the Munchie Mouse StoryHive Page (there’s a 60 second video for you to watch if you’d like). You can share the project from there, too.
- Like the Munchie Mouse Facebook Page (you can also invite others to like it).
- You can follow Munchie Mouse on Twitter and he will follow you back, I can almost guarantee it. He’s just that way.
There. That’s it. I’m going to do something really uncharacteristic now, and say that…
I care about this.
No turning back now.
Time to put my money where my mouse is.