Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Do or Not To Do?

By Trudy V. Myers

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I've been thinking about Megacon the past few days. There was an impression I got from it that I just couldn't put a name to at first. I mean, my first few impressions were dismay at the parsecs one had to walk, panic at the sea of people that surrounded me, wonder at the amazing costumes I saw, and so on and on. But after all of that, after I attended the panels that looked interesting, wandered through the dealer's bazaar, talked to dozens of artists, studied costumes … what did I think of it?

It all jelled this morning as my husband was talking about some of our acquaintances back home. As usual, these people had something they wanted to do, and also had a million excuses why they couldn't do it. And then it hit me; the 'we can't do that' attitude seems to be a staple in Omaha. But here in Orlando, at Megacon, the attitude is much more "do it". Just take a look at some of the panels I attended:

Adventure Chefs – a new 'survivor/cooking' television show with at least 2 episodes in the can, currently in talks with various TV producers. This show was created, filmed, and in all ways put together by everyday people, not big Hollywood types. Look for information on it on You-tube.

Independent film making – two panels on this subject, by different groups of people. They had different ways they approached the subject, but I came away from both of them with the advice, "Just go out and do it!" Don't wait for the perfect camera, the perfect lighting system, the perfect script, someone to leave you a million dollars … use what you've got and make the best indie film you can do right now. And it certainly doesn't have to be 'feature length'. In fact, when you're first starting, a shorter film might be better, not so overwhelming an endeavor.

Costuming – generally, the idea was, 'don't look at what things are, look at how they can be something different'. On one panel, one guy was known for the 12 versions of 'rocket backpack' he had created over the years for his version of a superhero. It was said that at least one of those backpack rockets looked like he had strapped a vacuum cleaner to his back. (He hadn't.) Others talked about light saber handles and ray guns made from such things as plumbing supplies. Check thrift shops, surplus stores, and garage sales for items that could be used to produce the look you want.

Now, consider that almost every artist I spoke to (dozens of them!) had their own comic book.

I don't want to think it's completely a matter of environment. Yes, films and TV shows do get made in Florida; not so much in Omaha. Yes, there are at least two film/special effects/cgs schools in the Orlando area; I'm not aware of any in Omaha. Those things might make it a little easier, but lack of them doesn't make these things impossible. People can self-teach themselves, if they really want to know how to do something. THAT's what I wish I could bring back with me from my visits to Florida; the willingness to work for a dream. If you really want something, you can do it. It won't happen if you just sit around wanting to do it, but actually do nothing to make it happen. No matter how many excuses you have, doing nothing accomplishes exactly that – nothing. Is that what you want out of your life? As Yoda said, "There is no try. Do or do not."

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