Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 419: Crumbling. Then Fixing the Crumbles.

12 January, 2011

Here's the situation. I had been wondering whether to write about this or not, because it doesn't really reflect well upon me and the great happy image I had set up for myself so far, but then I decided to go ahead anyway since this blog is meant not only to remind myself of the pleasant moments in my life over 1000 days but also the lessons learnt. So here we go.

Over the last couple of days I wrote about the great evening I had with my mom here, followed by progressing a bit in yoga etc. So while there were things to rejoice about, the truth is that a storm had been brewing up in my head.

There were several contributors to it - the work in office that is coming in at a pace I am scrambling to catch up with, all the upcoming travels and my feeling of being completely unprepared for them, the large amount of work still remaining for Mausams and the pressure am under if I need to make it to the censorship ratings and screening on time etc. etc. Things peaked on Tuesday night and I felt completely unable to go on anymore.

It started with me writing out a multi-page note, listing down the schedule for every piece of Mausams work still pending. It looked crazy since I have to manage them in between my travel plans. That already put me off because I felt like I can't go on at this breakneck speed any more. To make matters worse, I received back a scene for which the sound design had been completed and which disappointed me to no end. Not because the sound design was bad... in fact that was pretty good... but because it was evident that quite a few parts in there need to be redubbed. Since I don't have the equipment for multi-track dubbing beyond a certain file size, I was getting each cast members to dub individually and what you hear individually could be very different when things are put together... the tone changes significantly. And when this file was sent back to me, I realized that there should be a significant re-dub at certain parts.

It's not like I had not been prepared for this... in fact, I had expected a bit of patch up work anyway and had even told my cast to be ready for it as well, but somehow facing the reality of this rework after months of that painful process, seemed way too daunting. I would need to once again get their schedules, do the dub, the sync, the conversions, the sending, and all of it withina specific timeline.

And to make matters even further worse, I felt very disappointed at the scene itself! Usually the scene makes me smile, but this time I felt, "What the hell have I made?! Seriously, is this what I had spent all that time and effort on? Really, this?!". I had this bad inexplicable feeling that what I have made just doesn't cut it.

In summary, the sight of a few more months ahead of gruelling work together with the feeling that it is all for a product that is not up to the mark I had set for it, really seemed to be the last bit I could handle.

So then I did the only thing I felt like doing at the time. I cried. After working on this film for the last 1.5 years while handling work, travel, family, health etc. I finally lost all my motivation, will power and faith in myself. And I crumbled. Since I couldn't do the crying in front of my mom and in-laws, it was done in the privacy of the bedroom with just the hubby as the witness. He very understandingly said, "I am gonna slap you for crying. But that will be later... right now, you just cry it out."

After shedding a reasonable amount of tears, I moved on to not wanting to do a screening at all of the film but maybe just put it up on youtube or something. That way there is no time pressure, there is not even any requirement for quality... it can be just the home video that it was meant to be at the beginning. The hubby tried to convince me that it is not the right decision and asked me to hold off doing anything drastic, until a bit later when am saner. So I resorted to just talking in riddles - in a moment of inspiration I wrote "The Teapot has Cracked" as the status message on chat after very cleverly christening myself as The Teapot.

Yesterday, I was at a peak of self pity and mopped around with interesting results. I think it went through even to the tone of my writing that one friend on chat asked me whether I was depressed without me even complaining to her about anything. Another friend to whom I did complain in copius amounts, tried her best to cheer me up but I surprised her with never-before-explored levels of sappiness. I successfuly dampened whatever optimistic spirits she had, so then my status message on chat changed - "From Teapot to Blanket. A very wet one." How clever.

Then came yesterday evening. The hubby and I dropped my mom who was leaving for India, at the airport. On the way back, in the long MRT ride, hubby gave me one of the best pep talks ever. He also made me go through the film in my head - scene by scene so that I can visualize it all over again together with him.

He: "See? This scene is good.... This part is so good" (he repeated every now and then)
Me (by the end of the train ride): "Yeah, fine. Maybe the film is decent... or maybe it doesn't even matter now since it's not everyday you get to make a yeah, we will screen it somehow."
He: *smiled, being considerably pleased with his contribution to my mental sanity*.
Me: "But the work... all this work... not just the film... all this work....?" (obviously I had not intended to give up on the cribbing)
He: "You did it for the last 1.5 years, you can't give up in the last 2.5 months now. Can you? It will happen. Somehow."
Me: "Yeah. Maybe. Somehow."

After getting back home, I immediately got back to working on the syncs and sound design. As I did that, I tried to consciously bring back some of that old starry-eyed optimism about life and that close-to-arrogant (or naive?) confidence that if I want to, I can.

I admit am not fully there yet, but at least today I didn't give up on everything in spite of being very close to doing so. I could pull myself back in where I would prefer to be. And yes, it has got to do a lot with somebody's faith (biased, am sure) in me and the work I do. But am most thankful for that.

581 more to go.


  1. Shilpa....such moments of depression are there when one takes up such a challenging venture. Very few ppl can take up such a daunting and humungous work .But you have ...thats because film making is one of your passions and what is remarkable is your committment and dedication to the work you undertake. Its a one-man rather" one-young girl's" show....thats y the enitre burden is on you...when thr is a team the work is decentralised and everyone is responsible ... its kind of a mental fatigue you are experiencing after all that tedious work you have done so assiduously the last 1.5yrs..You have a wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic cast who are ready to co-operate.Whatever the loose ends there are,if any, you will definitely rectify them once you mentally work it out. I am absolutely sure the film is going to rock....You are putting in your 100%,leave the rest to The Almighty....have faith in Him and yourself as you have enough potential...

  2. vazhave tavam..
    anbe sivam..
    nee naan sivam..

    Arey chill.. depression is so human.. better than a plastic smile anyday :) life is a doesn't have f-stops :) I am sure every moment of past 1.5 years u've had successes and failures. ..and now ur persona is enriched further by those experiences. (enriched !! sounds so radioactive ..isnt it?? ) Anyways..dont "measure" it by just the last moment. Even now when the screening hasnt happened..uve experienced so much of "life" in past 18 months. Simply give it a shot..your best effort that you can do today.

    I admire u, I trust you, I have faith in you..and I am happy that you exist Chechi :) See, u make people happy just by "existing" .. MAUSAMS is an add-on dose of happiness for all of us. I am with you. Cheers !! and I like my naive arrogant confidence :) I know I am "crack"..I wish I was a "teapot" too...atleast even by breaking I wud spread "warmth" :)

    ok ok enuff blah blah from me.

    Waiting for MAUSAMS. You've nurtured it with love and I am eagerly waiting for it..and to see the whole crew smile with a blush on the first screening. I so wish I was with you all on the team.

    Bless u.