Filmmaking is making telephone calls

I hate the telephone. Absolutely hate it. I’ve always sought ways to avoid it, whether it’s been using email, writing letters or driving dozens or even hundreds of miles to talk to someone in person.

I’m not generally an introvert. I’ve got no qualms about presenting to a large group of people or walking into someone’s house or place of business to interview them. But preparing for a phone call always sets my heart to pounding and raises the hair on the back of my neck. I unequivocally despise it. You’d think I was back in high school and was working up the nerve and trying to control the squelch in my voice before asking Tiffany Meyer out.

Still, even in this age of email, text, Skype, Facebook, etc, you still have to make phone calls. If you’re making a movie, you have to make a lot of phone calls. People talk about needing cameras, talent, the right mics. They tell you you need a plan or a story or a vision. You need money. You need experience or you need to go to film school. But none of that means anything if you don’t pick up the phone to line up talent, call investors, build a crew, ask people to interview, get directions, ask questions.

Filmmaking is picking up the phone. It doesn’t matter if you have a RED camera, Canon 7D, Bolex 8mm, brilliant script, amazing actor or a fascinating documentary subject. It doesn’t matter if you know After Effects or Final Cut. If  you can’t pick up the phone and ask somebody to sit for an interview or help you finish the project in some way, by investing or lending support, then you’re never going to finish something worthwhile.

So the most important part of moving any project forward is the thing that I least like to do: pick up the phone. I don’t even like to call to make restaurant reservations and here I am about to phone a well-respected, award-winning winemaker and ask him to help me with a film project, giving up a couple days of his time, free of charge, doing something that most people hate even more that I hate the telephone: sitting in front of the camera.

Can you tell I’m procrastinating?

Okay, here I go, I’m making the call now.

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