A few days after being introduced to me and seeing my five 16mm action films at a screening, a documentary filmmaker said to me, "I knew you were a serious film-maker when I met you."
"I thought you didn't like my action movies", I said. "Because you didn't say anyting to me after the screening."
"I liked them well enough," he said. "But that's not the point. I knew you were serious because you have completed film, after completed film, after completed film.
Yes, there are a lot of uncompleted projects in the film world. It seems the film-maker, the script writer, or even the novelist runs out of steam after the first burst of creative passion.
To stay in the artistic game, be it movies, novels, painting, producing plays, or recording, one has to have completed projects. Projects to show an audience and business people that you're still happening. Still producing.
It's a simple idea, but not simple to do, because project completion takes, commitment, work and money. If you a filmmaker, a lot of money.
Once an excited writer showed his 3-page short story to a group of us. After he left, one guy said, "He only wrote a three page story. That doesn't compare with my 300 page novel." (He had been working on that novel for two years.)
I said, "Until you finish your 300 page novel, his 3-page finished story beats your unfinished one. He can now bind it, give it out and put on his blog. But you can't until you complete it."
So leave nothing on the back burner. Finish it. Even if it's shorter and less perfect than you intended, finish it. Even a 17 syllable haiku poem that is finished, beats a 400 page masterpiece that is not finished.
I had a 25 minute comedy that I shot in college, but hadn't got the actors together to dub in the sound. Years went by and I was on my fourth feature-film and it still wasn't completed. I finally cut the film on video to a silent 15 minutes with music. (I saw it could play that way.)
I made video copies and sent them to the actors. One of the actors became an art teacher and shows the movie every year to his classes. He can show it because it was finally completed.
Of course, if your project has become a money pit with no completion date in view or possible way to recoup your money, then it might be best to change course and focus on something else. Only you can make that decision.
However, always remember that only completed projects can be presented to an audience and move you up a notch in your artisitc field.
Also on this site: Francis Ford Coppola's Advice on Your Dream: urlm.in/pbkh