This past weekend was a big one, although it started off much like any other. Ever since we began filming two months ago, Saturday and Sunday have meant the same thing for me: wake up early, drive north for a few hours, bring food, water, and equipment to Sam, spend the night, return to LA. Last week though, something came back to Los Angeles with me: Samantha.
That’s right. Sam’s over 338 mile, 65 day, two years in the making backpacking trip from Los Angeles to Mono Lake is complete. She made it!
I’m going to be a bit selfish and focus on my own journey, rather than Sam’s – if you’re itching to hear about the hike, you’ll have to watch the finished film, hopefully coming out in Fall 2016. For now, let’s just say that Sam’s journey was full of trials, terrors, tears, and triumphs.
As for me, for possibly the first time, this movie feels like a real thing. That might seem surprising, given that I’ve been producing The Longest Straw for nearly two years now. However, until this point, making this movie has involved a focusing on a series of short-term trials to overcome. Where will the money come from? Where will Sam sleep? What will she eat? Does anyone even care about this story?
Now, as we return to our normal lives back in the city, these challenges have been surmounted, and we’re left now with something very like our dream movie in our hands and nothing stopping us from moving forward but ourselves.
When I was in elementary school, teachers used to teach that we could accomplish anything as long as we worked hard. As an adult, I know that’s not true. While hard work can certainly achieve a great many things, there are limitations on what a person can achieve no matter how vigilant they are. Sometimes, success is just dependent on variables like luck, or factors you can’t control like where you’re from or who your parents are. Sometimes, some of your grand ambitions will fail through no fault of your own.
However, the hard work sentiment has truth to it, as well. If you push hard enough, you can change your luck for the better. If you find people who are passionate, they can make up for the qualities you lack. And if you keep striving, you can move forward.
Before we “officially” began working on this movie in November 2013, The Longest Straw was just an idea. We never acted on it because the timing didn’t seem right, but the longer we waited, the less traction we had. In the end, we needed to make the timing right.
So I’d like to end this post with a challenge to anyone reading this. Think of something you’ve always wanted to do. It could be career- related, or artistic, or just fun and fulfilling. Ask yourself, sincerely, why you haven’t started yet. And don’t make excuses; just seriously consider if there’s anything you can do to make this project happen. And finally, the most important step of all: do it.