Today I created a new folder on my desktop:
In the United States Postal Service, the Dead Letter Office is where undeliverable mail goes. For R.E.M. The Dead Letter Office was an album of B-Sides and rarities. On my desktop, The Dead Letter Office is where never-to-be-seen projects go to die.
My job at Crossroads is largely creative communication - take our given topic for the week and brainstorm about some funny, unusual, interesting way to supplement what our teachers are talking about. I create a lot of videos to this end.
This week we’re talking about relationships and how important it is to own your part of a problem. My idea was to do a Sesame Street style human/puppet interaction. As a kid we learn a lot about relationships from puppets - so maybe it would be funny to create a Sesame Street style video, aimed at an adult audience; surly puppets, adult reactions, that kind of thing.
So, I wrote a script, shot it, and started editing.
Somewhere around the first rough cut it became obvious that it just didn’t work.
The script was okay. The acting by my buddy Caleb was spot on. The pacing worked okay, I think. There was something when you put it all together, though, that just didn’t work. I showed it to someone else. They were very polite and positive about the piece - but agreed that something in it just didn’t hang together right.
So, we pulled it.
It was hard at first because I kept wondering - could I keep tweaking this thing until it got to where it needed to be? Maybe. But maybe not, and then you end up showing something that isn’t very good and doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to do - and let me tell you, having something you made bomb in front of 2,000 people is not a fun way to spend your morning.
So, in the folder it goes. I’m not sure why I’m keeping it. Partly, I think, because it was a lot of work and I just don’t want to delete it yet. Partly because I want to look at it some more and figure out how I could have made it work. And partly because a folder full of never to be seen projects is a good reminder that everybody sucks sometimes. The way you stop sucking is by continuing to do the work. The more you work, the better you get.
As a closing note, beside all the work I put into it, I really hate putting it down because it contained a scene where a puppet throws a bunch of action figures in a blender, and I really really liked filming that.