Reflections

Christmas is one of those times were we are encouraged to reflect, so I figured I’d share some of the narrative that has come from the 72 in the years since Conor Murphy and I first discussed the idea in a Dublin pub in December 2007.

December 2008: I don’t have details from December 2008 because I think we were all hiding under a bush and hoping the 72 would never be discussed again after Galway. But we must of been preparing to go to Berlin in February 2009, so I guess that was what we were up to.

December 2009: Bad hats, empty wine rack and shisha pipes. It’s Christmas 2009:


December 2010: Once again I have no formal record of what we were up to, although I’d returned to Australia to catch up on the documentary crew and go for drinks with the crew in Melbourne. The Christmas drinks looked something like this:

December 2011: I was in Rome, at the wonderful Irishfilmfesta, and I met this man, who asked me to make a film in 72 hours again.

Roma-56December 2012: It was busy at this point last year, as we were getting all set up for Derry. You can read the December posts here. Suffice to say that we’ve come along way since last year, let alone 2007. Keeping a diary has been cathartic and crucial at the same time. It’s been cathartic to get some of the experience out of the system and committed to paper. It’s been crucial at forcing perspective. We often fall prey to the malleability of memory, but at least if there is some record (even subjective record) of the events, we can reflect upon what happened.

Why is reflection important? We know intuitively that we learn by experience and also that we learn from our mistakes. But research is increasingly telling us that without the process of actively thinking about those experiences, and questioning ourselves about what they mean, learning doesn’t really happen. What gets us from experience to understanding is reflection. We can make small but cumulative steps to doing things better. Reflection also helps to provide deeper learning by looking at situations through a different lens and by asking yourself searching questions that challenge one’s assumptions about the world around you.We also have a tendency to focus on the negative. An exercise in reflection or self-assessment provides a structured and safe way to think about the positive as well.

The sad part is, most movie productions don’t do ‘reflection’ beyond the box office receipts. Whilst film criticism does extend to reflecting upon the product, and some famous filmmakers have people reflecting upon their process, the majority are left to repeat the mistakes of those who went before. We see repeated failure, with no cumulative improvement for indie filmmaking. Why? Well, I’m sure reflection is involved, but it is reflection that focuses upon the negative. The odds are stacked against me, it was vey difficult etc… This is why a production dairy is critical. It lets you reflect at a safe distance, when the memory may tell you something different, the words and picture on the page can sometimes remind you of the things that your memory had forgotten.

James

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