This weekend was the weekend I was supposed to recover from shooting 26 movies for my new on-line course “Foundations of Figure Drawing” for Lynda.com. Yet, I keep waking up in the middle of the night or just before sunrise, riding on the adrenaline I generated creating this project…replaying each scene, each drawing. As much as I am happy to hand it off now to be edited and crafted by my insanely talented crew, I can’t believe that it’s over.
I learned so much from this experience about writing, teaching, movie making and collaboration. What it also revealed was my vulnerability and my power, my fear and my bravery. What I am feeling right now is a growing expansiveness vs. the intense focus I needed to get ready for this epic project. Panning out, I see myself more clearly and I am realizing that connecting directly with my vulnerability and fear around this project helped me grow my power and bravery.
The idea that these movies are “evergreen”, a baseline, which never gets old, made me really want to get it right. Well, I always want to get it right. There will be a global audience. Even though I have studied and taught figure drawing for decades, doing it in front of 3 cameras, under the lights, with a prompter was a whole different ballgame. My preparation for this was so intense. Over a year ago, I prepared a lesson for my screen test, using a master drawing to teach the basic concepts which build a figure drawing. They flew me out to LA and we taped it in their studio.
They liked what they saw so they asked me to develop this "Foundations of Figure Drawing" course. I spent nearly a year writing 30 pages of scripts and planning the images for the class. This was a terrific process. I had never written down my lectures before. They had always just been delivered to my students and then floated out into the ether only to be repeated the following semester. It was not only a chance to write them down but it was also a chance to refine them with my producer and ask: “What is the learning point here and how can we make this very simple and clear?” This allowed me to reinvigorate my teaching. With so much writing done I am thinking about a book.
Blurr forward through one of the busiest teaching summers and falls ever…and suddenly my team from Lynda.com says that they have gotten approval to come shoot the movies here, in my Pawtucket studio. As much as I secretly mourned a trip to sunny California, I quickly realized what an awesome opportunity it would be to have it shot in my historic mill studio with my favorite model and all of my paintings and drawings on display. You just can’t recreate that on a movie set.
So one week ago, a visionary producer, video director/photographer and talented cameraman show up at my studio. Did I mention they were all fabulously handsome and talented surfer/rock climber/foodies? Excellent work environment. In come the cameras, tripods, lights, prompter, sound equipment. Adorning the walls were dozens of preliminary drawings I’d done with our model to ensure the flow of the course. This was invaluable because there was so much to cover in 5 days. Each morning they came to the studio with a fancy coffee for me at 8:30am and we would shoot until 6pm. Intense days filled with script editing, retakes, image decisions and lighting shifts gave me a terrific chance to wrestle with my waves of fear and bravery.
Somehow due to my team’s professionalism and my preparation each day we captured movie after movie. This was not their first rodeo. We never settled on good if it could be great. So there were some retakes and sometimes by day’s end I’d be so tired that I’d stumble over my words…but we did it! Collaborating with these guys was amazing. Their positive response to my studio, my artwork and my teaching was really what made it possible. Confidence. They were my coaches and my cheerleaders, high-5s and all. I also got to watch the surf-cam at Rincon with them during my breaks, which was sweet.
So it takes people who believe in you to make things happen. Creative, collaborative energy can elevate an idea to a vision. So watch for these movies, which release January 21st, 2016 on Lynda.com. Take my course wherever you are. Until next time...How cool is that? CREATE.
PS If you know what I am referencing in the title of this BLOG let me know. If not and you are curious, please ask :-)