I only came across this phrase recently but it’s one I’ve learned to adopt.

When I’m behind the lens, I’m a perfectionist.  When I work, I need everything to be “just so”.  If it isn’t perfect, it isn’t right & if it isn’t right, it isn’t used.

To some extent that obsessive perfectionism has always been ameliorated by working in production environments - things had to be finished, they had to turn over, the next project had to come online and we had to keep moving.  But I still maintained as much perfectionism as time would allow.

I always considered that to be one of my core strengths; that my output would be the closest reflection of my peak capabilities.  But over the last few years I’ve come to realise I couldn’t be more wrong.  

The insistence on perfection; the time spent on set ups and iteration, on revision, was counterproductive to the project as a whole.  It was keeping me rigid; unable to roll with a punch.  I would be slow to respond to unforeseen difficulties on set, clear solutions wouldn’t be apparent because I would still be hung up on "the way it needed to be done”.

The last few weeks showed me just how far I’ve come since the early days when I first moved away from TV and into running my own business.  Our team has spent 15 days on the road, including a number of long haul plane flights.  We’ve been divided between two continents for the last week and yet we’ve completed two major projects (and 8 minor ones) all in the last 35 days.

All of these plates spinning at once, having to react to great upheaval and change, yet our output quality is as high as it’s ever been.  The last month has been intense — a challenge Vinh gave us as preparation for things to come — and not only did we all survive it but we’re looking forward to every new challenge that gets thrown our way.

I’m still proud of my perfectionism.  On the ground It’s critical to keep a sharp eye, to have spatial awareness,  to know if a take is ruined or if a shot won’t work.  To know exactly how all the pieces are going to translate from camera to editing.   But knowing where to draw the line, to maintain a birds eye view, to become an effective project manager has been a long road for me to travel.  I finally feel like I'm achieving a balance between the two warring sides.

This is a small behind the scenes clip from a particularly crazy social video we made for Vinh’s facebook page.  Last day of the USA trip, all of us sleep deprived.  Shot in a hotel room at 11pm, Cut from 1am-4am, uploaded by 7am.  Doesn’t get more massively imperfect than that:

 

Definitely one of the weirder things I’ve shot this month.  Check out the full video on Vinh’s facebook page www.facebook.com/askvinh

-Brecon James
Co-founder Luminary Studios

 

Comment