As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…
When I started thinking about this post yesterday, it was from the idea of editing for the mix…prioritizing, deciding what the story can live without because of a small budget, blah, blah, blah. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t the issue of having to temper expectations and make hard choices about where to invest time in a low budget project. We’ve all been there. This certainly isn’t my first time dealing with it, or even the hundredth for that matter. No. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the issue that was eating away at me, and still is, is the struggle between finding a balance between pride in your work and over-committing to a project.
I know this is something that a lot of people in this industry deal with. We consider our work a reflection of our creativity and skill, and we don’t want any project we’ve worked on to reflect poorly on those traits. The upside is that people with that mindset tend to do great work regardless of the situation. The downside is that we also risk putting in more time than we should…which leads to a poor work-life balance and potentially setting bad precedents for the ratio of client expectations versus reasonable budget for those expectations. I’m not arguing against going the extra mile. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. There’s another mile beyond that though, and that’s where the dangerous territory lies.
I’m a workaholic. I’ve been fighting with that fact for years, and slowly making small changes for the better. [At least, I hope so.] It’s too easy to slip back into that mode though, and I find I need to constantly remind myself that it’s OK to not go that extra extra mile. I can still do good work without crossing the point of diminishing returns.
Sometimes, it’s OK to not do “just a little more.”