Survivor mentality applies to many of us indie filmmakers on a daily basis, and for good reason. Many times, we don't know what our next job will be. And we've been working on our "baby" project(s) now for five plus years.
It wasn't until my friend/producer, Lorie, called me out on this mentality recently that I began to emerge from that stifling state of mind and be fully present.
Truth is, having a survivor's mentality is probably healthy most of the time. It keeps us moving - lights the flame underneath our asses. But we have to understand when to (temporarily) let it go, so that we can be fully in the moment and create our current piece of art the way it's intended, and with our full attention. If we're always working toward the next big project, how can we fully respect the current process?
This year, we are blessed to receive funding on a short film. My initial internal thought process kept pushing me to talk about brain storming for the next film project, even though there are a million things to be done on this one - NOW. What about Lost In Sunshine? And our Fucked Up People Series? By doing this, I was not being completely present for our current project, Visible Noise.
Part of this mentality is the anxiety telling us that we need to "worry" about our next gig because the one we're working on will eventually be over... then what? The other part of this mentality is trapped by fear. Fear that if we don't have something else in the pipeline, we'll be left stagnant.
What I had to realize is that if we've been working for five years on one project, (i.e., Lost In Sunshine) we know what's up. Just like you know what's up with yours.
Trust that all the valuable work you've done (thus far) has lead you to your current work situation, (whatever that is) so your preparedness is a given. Enjoy the work, and hang on for the ride! It's not everyday us indie film people get paid to do what we love, so when we DO, let's DO what we're being paid to DO best and create the art that someone has unequivocal faith in us to produce. Let's face it, there's no ROI with a short film and most labor of love projects. It's all for artistic growth. This is the train we've chosen.
So don't let the survivor's mentality rule you. You deserve to relish every moment of your present dream that's just a stepping stone for more to come.