Last month, I was in Purchase, NY on the set of Shane Sheehy's AW, NUTS!, which if you remember was actually the town of the first project, Mattson Tomlin's DREAM LOVER. Actually, we were on the same sound stage.
Somewhere around day 3, I'm getting coffee at the craft services table. I tend to put the sugar in my cup first, so the pouring action does the stirring for me. Mattson walked up to the table at that moment and asked if I was eating pure sugar.
"Because I don't know. Maybe that's what you've turned in to," he said. "No one's ever done this before."
As I type this, there are 6 days and 4 hours left in AYWR (there's a counter on the webpage). I'm in LA on the set of Anne Lower's webseries THEY LIVE AMONG US, running the second camera. I'm exhausted. But you probably knew that already.
I'll be in LA until the end of AYWR. And then?
In my mind, I always figured I'd know what to do next, kind of like how when you're a kid you figure you'll have everything figured out when you grow. But you never do. You're always working with imperfect information, like a long poker game. Instead, I've got about 6 projects in the fire that may or may not come to fruition--a feature I'm shooting this summer, a web-based quasi festival that applies the ethos of AYWR to distribution, some consulting gigs, and a couple of others--but nothing concrete. Nothing even as concrete as knowing where I want to live.
In a lot of ways I feel like the kid in the "The Jungle Book" as they're about to take him into polite society.
There's really 2 strong impulses I have right now in terms of location: 1) I really, really, really want to have a place to put all my shit. Living out of a car is a pain in the ass. There's dozens of Kickstarter perks buried in my car...somewhere. The trunk is full of half-drank bottles of alcohol. And I've been wearing a small rotation of clothes because the other ones are just too hard to get to. 2) There's really something great about being located everywhere. DIY Days in NYC? I can do that. SXSW in Austin? I can do that too. There's a great amount of freedom inherent in traveling where you know that all you need to do is jump on a plane. It's pretty liberating.
I don't want to live in Seattle or LA or NY or Austin or wherever. I want to exist in all of them. That's not really possible, of course, without doing AYWR 2, and I think that would maybe kill me.
Also, there's the question of having a job of some sorts. So if you're hiring a bohemian filmmaker who's really good at traveling, let me know. I think I'm ending AYWR with like $200 to my name, minus the bottle of scotch I'll be drinking when I'm done. I couldn't pay rent right now if I wanted to.
Pretty soon after AYWR I'll be handing all of the photos and video to Filmmaker Magazine columnist and producer John W. Yost, who's going to be working with an unaffiliated documentary filmmaker to turn this all into a documentary because, well, even though I said dozens of times there was no documentary film, apparently no one was listening. So...stay tuned for that. And for the perks I find in my car. And for me to catch up on all the blog posts and articles I owe.
Part of me can't believe the year is nearly over, and part of me feels like it was 5 years and not 1. I've lost track of the number of people I've met and the number of films I've worked on. My Tripline.net map tells me I've traveled over 41,000 miles. One of our films (FAT KID RULES THE WORLD) will be premiering at SXSW this year. It's been a hell of a year.
This year wouldn't have been possible without the amazing support of David & Karen at Filmcourage, and on March 4th I'll be on their radio show to rehash the whole experience. So be sure to check that out.
More importantly, it wouldn't have been possible without the 243 people who said during that crazy campaign over a year ago, "sure, I'll help this filmmaker I've maybe never heard do some crazy thing I only partially understand that involves a lot of driving and no rent." I can't believe 1 person got behind this, let alone 243. Or the dozens of people who said, "sure, I'll let this guy I've never met sleep on my couch". Or the filmmakers who let me come on their set, knowing they had no control over what I would write. Or anyone who RT'ed something on Twitter, liked something on Facebook, or just generally helped spread the word. I'm overwhelmed by all of you. Honest.
Like most things in life, a Tweet says it best:
Now...when do I get a vacation?
Thank you all, so very very very much.
(a very tired) Lucas McNelly