Most people don’t get emotional when they’re sitting in an art house theater and a trailer comes on. Fighting back tears as critics reviews, and festival logos praise the film you haven’t seen yet just isn’t a thing - unless you’re me.
I’ve been having this experience lately. I sit down in my moderately uncomfortable chair at my favorite theater to watch an indie, and a few seconds in I can feel myself fighting the urge to emote, sometimes real tears. It actually kind of scared me because I didn’t know why suddenly I was having this response when I’d never behaved this way before. I mean, there was a time when I can literally say I hadn’t cried in at least a year.
But the reason is actually pretty simple. I know that each one of those trailers stands for a film whose creators poured blood, sweat, tears and the entire passion of their heart into, never knowing if the finished product would end up on screen. Each one of those films is an embodiment of a dream that consumed the artists so much they couldn’t rest until it was done. These trailers, these films, are proof they succeeded.
I realized that I’m not emotional at these trailers because I’m moved by their brief content, though a good trailer will do that, I’m moved because I feel a great deal of empathy for the artists that brought these films to life. They’ve done what I’m trying so hard to do. And they’ve succeeded.
There was a time in my life that I’d have been bitter that my film was still languishing, and these films were made - I’d have assumed them inferior based on a single star attached or the financing I knew they’d achieved - but now, I’ve come to a point where I don’t have to be bitter about it.
I know that no matter who you are, or what level you’re at in filmmaking, it’s hard to get your film made. It’s hard to tell the story you want to tell. Just because it appears harder for me to get my little screenplay off the ground, doesn’t mean that the film with a A-list actor and independent financing didn’t have to struggle to get made. It just means their struggles were different.
I still have no idea how to get my film made, or how to start making my movie so that in due course an audience can see it. I’m still alone on the island. But I still have the dream that one day soon the trailer for my film will be screening in front of something, and it will move another artist to tears because they can feel the struggles that preceded the images being captured.