Keeping the Family Together, Webseries style

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Did you ever listen to an interview with a movie or TV star after they win an award? They often gush about the “family” of the project. Flush with the recognition of the award, they praise that group, professing that their cast/crew/production team is the best. No doubt in that moment, they really believe what they’re saying. But I often wonder, when the high wears off, do they still really consider the people that they worked with “family”? I like to think so, but I know that statistically, it can’t be true as often as people say it.

Anyone who’s been in a creative field for a while knows that the close-quarters of creation often give the illusion of becoming connected to your colleagues much more quickly than happens in “real life”. But the true instances of being “like family” are not as common as those award show speeches would have one believe.

However, sometimes the random assortment of misfits, miscreants, and damaged souls who come together to bring a story to life manage to be just the right kind of dysfunctional. When this extremely rare occurrence happens, all of the broken edges fit together and make a sort of misshapen cog that turns, barely avoids spinning out of control, and cranks out something amazing. It is the imperfections of the individuals who make it up that add depth, character and soul and make the end product better.

This isn’t to say that when the stars align, creative orphans form some sort of Norman Rockwellian unit that embodies all the best and most idyllic fantasies of family. Quite the opposite. Just like blood relatives they hurt, disappoint, betray and forgive one another. What makes them family is that when bad things happen, they don’t just give up and go their separate ways. Well, maybe they do for a while, but not forever.

In the real world, there’s this impression that “blood is thicker than water”, that the existence of similar DNA will draw those it connects back together by virtue of the pre-existing relationship. Sounds nice, and mysteriously comforting. But in life parents, children, and siblings can draw apart. There must be someone, or a few someones, whose presence reminds those who separate themselves from the family unit that they are still a part of it and will be welcomed back when they are ready.

Our artistic gamins need such a figure as well. Someone who doesn’t pass judgement, but who points out what the individual and the group gain from their mutual association. Someone who holds the thin webs connecting all, and who tries not to let them get entangled, or break them in the process.

So why am I talking about all of this? For anyone who’s been following along, you’ve probably seen that we, the core team of Causality, feel pretty strongly that we’ve gathered the elements and combined them in a rarefied burst of energy that amalgamated us into a re-animated Frankenstein’s Monster version of a family.  We haven’t done enough of the actual production yet to see if more of the cast & crew truly wears our DNA, but so far some sort of gravitational pull has lured like-minded people to us, and we’ve expanded beyond the nuclear. And we’ve already experienced setbacks that would break those not connected as strongly as we are.

I have not chosen the role of the unifying figure, but it seems to fall to me, and I’m not altogether reluctant to take it. I can be quite persuasive when I feel passionate about something, and I certainly feel passion for this project, the team and our collective potential. So when feelings are hurt, when things look dark, and when one slight misstep could send us off the rails permanently, I do what I can to realign the wheels, and stoke the fires with whatever fuel I can find. In over a year now, there have been plenty of times when unification was necessary, and we are at another one now. With the high of seeing some great footage come out of our first shoots came the low of knowing that we couldn’t continue shooting for more than a month due to scheduling conflicts. Though momentum was lost, some of it has been channelled into other areas, and my optimistic nature demands that we see the positives: We will be better prepared for our next shoots.

We’ve also had some hurt feelings, and repairs are still ongoing. But that’s how it is…relationships are strengthened by that which strains them. So the family will hold together, and more brothers and sisters will be added before the cycle is complete.

I just hope that I don’t get those webs tangled, or forget how to persuade. If I do, I bet someone else will pick up the slack. Oh, and I hope we’re not as cursed, or as dysfunctional as the families in Game of Thrones. Though as I mentioned, it’s the flaws that make things interesting…

If this got more heavy-handed than I intended, I’m sorry. I can tend to do that sometimes. Seriously, next time I’m going to write about kittens or something.

Posted by   @   February 1, 2012 5 comments
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Feb 1, 2012
9:14 am
#1 Jeff Greenberg :

Nicely written and spot on.

Feb 1, 2012
9:47 am
#2 Ralph Fontaine :

Thanks Jeff, I appreciate it! I welcome advice or anecdotes on how to keep holding it all together. So far this process is so cyclical. Sometimes we’re all perfectly in sync, then it seems everyone is in their own universe. I guess that’s why big productions sequester everyone for a few months and just get it all done. That brings it’s own problems, of course, but the grass is always greener…

Feb 1, 2012
9:54 am
#3 Glynis Mitchell :

You’re good cop, I’m bad cop. I’m the yeller. :(

Feb 1, 2012
10:14 am
#4 Ralph Fontaine :

Sometimes I’m good cop. I also get to that point where I’m not willing to deal with BS anymore, and get aggro and check someone into the boards. It can be even MORE effective, since I so rarely get that way.

By the way, you’re not a yeller, you’re just passionate…sometimes a little too much so, but hey, can’t hold an artist back, right?

Feb 2, 2012
1:49 pm
#5 Glynis Mitchell :

It’s true. I think we all take turns at being the diplomatic one and the firm one, though Montoure might be as firm as we get.

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