Mr. Miyagi

Slow and steady wins the race.

While riding a commuter train I glanced at someone reading an article entitled, “ Being Average is the New Failure.” Observations like these have turned me into a light sleeper.
As age sixty approaches I worry slow could equate to average. And in some writer’s mind that equals failure.

I wake every day about 5 a.m. thinking about budgets and finance (and cash flow too!).
Could patience and methodical progress be confused with lethargy and inaction?
A while back I posted an image of the Warner Bros. cartoon character, Pepe LePew.
I’ve often identified with him. No matter how long it took, he was unwavering in reaching his goal. And, although often times frustrated, he always in the end succeeded.
However, we work in an environment of Donald Trumps, Simon Cowells , Jack Welchs and Harvey Weinsteins. Would Sun Tzu, Lao Tse or old Ben Franklin have any insights to offer in this hyper-go-go business environment? Miyagi was just another fictional film character. Again, conjured up in some writer’s mind. This time for the movie Karate Kid. Patience was Miyagi’s virtue. From repetition he derived strength.
There are forty-one categories in my film’s budget.
The spreadsheet is now permanently etched in my mind’s eye.
Each of those categories have, on average, ten sub-categories. And each of those sub-categories have five columns of budget numbers. Do the math….over 2000 inter-related budget entries for this low budget production. Being off by a mere $1000 could have big, five-figure implications somewhere else on the spreadsheet and overall final budget number. Subsequently, my numbers are constantly being massaged. I edit number entries there nearly every other day.
As I get or think of new and additional information pertaining to a component of the film, be it cast, crew, prop or professional service, it gets factored in to its appropriate category. I then must look to see what impact his has had on other related categories. For instance: if I add another actor extra will the actor require a costume or costumes, hair-styling or a wig, accommodations, travel, union consideration, etc. Will any of these items have an impact on scheduling? Will it add another day to the shooting schedule, will it tip the scales for additional crew members? I want to keep surprises down to a minimum. I’m producing a film and there’s at least two thousand things that could go wrong. If I can even think of fifty of those, I’d be a genius. So, in my being slow and/or average I’m at least laser-focused on making this film a success. So, on a daily basis, it’s wax-on, wax-off.

Thanks Mr. Miyagi.

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2 Comments

Filed under Film, Film Financing, Film Production, Independent Film, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Mr. Miyagi

  1. Tam

    I have always said “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. Eye on the prize!

  2. Gary Ramsey

    The first question one needs to ask is,” Whom is it that is definining “average” and “failure?” What are the criteria to rise above average and avoid failure? If wealth and material posessions are the yardstick then Ghandi would be a dismal failure and yet his life’s work inspired an American man to lead his people out of oppression and discrimination. Does an artist create in the hopes of making millions or because he desires to create art. Others will determine the value of the artsist’s work, both in his lifetime and after his death, often with different conclusions. Should they stop creating because their work is deemed average or a failure during their lifetime? If they so choose then what is it that will lift them out of mediocrity? We are well into our second generation of young men and women who believe that, just by posting the daily minutia of their lives in a blog or on Facebook, the fact that others are reading about it somehow lifts it above the trivial and mundane.
    It’s getting to the point where, unless you have several million hits on your blog or YouTube video, your life is somehow meaningless.
    I have played guitar and sang songs that I wrote with friends and been cheered by hundreds of people. I have help create music videos that were shown on television and awarded in film festivals. I have cowritten a song that I got to hear played on a major Chicago radio station. Have I become wealthy? No. Have I become famous? No. Would people even remember my name or what it is I’ve accomplished in this life? No. Would I trade my life for Bill Gates’ or Steven Tyler’s or Barack Obama’s? No. I will continue to do what I love as long as God allows me and, should I die poor and someone else reaps a profit from what I’ve left behind, or should someone say that I was average at best, I will be thankful for this life I’ve lived.

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