The Enemy of Completion

As an amateur filmmaker, I occasionally get contracted to film an event. In most cases, this is a simple undertaking. Bring a camera, set up in a corner out of the way, press record when it starts and press pause when it’s over. Other projects are a little more demanding.

Take, for instance, the wedding I filmed last summer. No, not Summer 2011, but Summer 2010. It was a big deal. I had never filmed an event of such magnitude or importance, so I was taking no chances. I borrowed cameras and tripods, I tripled my memory card reserves. I brought along my trusty AD to run half the show. We spent hours running ourselves ragged, trading out cards when they filled up and cameras when the batteries gave out. We raced around to get in everyone’s face and capture even the most incidental moments for posterity. Between the two of us and four cameras, we recorded over 12 hours of footage.

And 12 hours of footage has lived on my hard drive ever since. I was making progress over that summer until I got a job that demanded my attention and the school came along to gobble up little time was left. As fall gave way to winter, I experienced a hard drive crash (actually, I had physically damaged my drive by being too rough with it over the years, but that’s a different story). Luckily, I had all of the raw footage on an external hard drive, but all of my progress was lost.

In the spring, I bought new editing software (Goodbye iMovie ’08, hello Final Cut Express) and had to begin the long and arduous process of learning a whole new editing language. Once again, jobs (of which I currently have two) and classes (of which I take five — all upper division) have sucked dry the watering hole of my free time. Time is the enemy of completion.

So, here I am. Over a year after the nuptials, feeling like a scam artist for cheating a nice family out of a sizable chunk of money with nothing to show for it. Unprofessional. Inexcusable. All accurate.

However, there is hope. I have become fairly competent in my new skill set on Final Cut and finally feel comfortable enough to tackle this monumental project. As always, time is my nemesis, but next week, a ray of light is calling to me. I’m flying to New Orleans for a few days, meaning at least 10 hours of uninterrupted, Internet and text message-free time to sift and edit. I will not waste this time. After more than a year, I will get the long awaited DVDs to the family that so generously paid me upfront and regain a measure of the personal and professional integrity that I lost somewhere along the way.

Problem solved. Case closed. Now, about that year-old play footage that’s taken up residence on my SD cards…

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