So...I've run out of passion for doing anything


#1

I haven’t posted in this forum forever, although I’m glad a few members are still active. I really liked the friendly community on here. Facebook groups of indie filmmakers end up really toxic.

I’m David. I’m 19. I still live with my parents. My job is pushing shopping carts (and cleaning up the parking lot, which is slightly less dull then pushing shopping carts since I occasionally find weird stuff). Since I was 12, I was a very creative child. I loved writing prose, filmmaking, photography, anything where I could express myself and find an adventure.

After I turned 17, I became very depressed. I’m not sure why, but I started going through a deep existential crisis. I had so many questions about my purpose and the universe and God and whatnot, and yet my life just seemed so…boring and empty. I was homeschooled and homechurched. I was on the Autism spectrum. I felt pretty isolated and meaningless. I always wanted my life to be like the stories I read and watched and made. Something exciting and passionate…not dull.

Unfortunately, depression didn’t help me be creative, at all. I got so depressed I had a suicide attempt, and I sort of became a lifeless zombie, walking through life and numbed to pain.

This is so hard to write.

I did find some solace in some creative projects, like a film I directed called Dream Warrior. Directing that film was tough, stressful work and I was anxious that the project would fall apart any minute, but I was still glad I got to make it. There’s something so beautiful about watching a scene unfold before your eyes. A lot of my own struggles were reflected in the film, which I think helped a lot. It got stuck in post-production hell later, but at least it’s (almost) done.

I guess somewhere after directing Dream Warrior, things got worse for me. I didn’t have any projects that were really working at the time. I’d write books but the plot would go off the rails. The editor for Dream Warrior broke his arm and had to drop out. I was finishing my senior year of high school and adulthood was approaching. Not a single girl I liked liked me back. I just got a job as a cart-pusher and I was starting to realize how boring it was. Around this time was my suicide attempt, Yes, I was given therapy (not anymore) and medication after that. But…I really haven’t been the same person since. I’m sort of a shell of what I used to be.

I’ve been working on some creative projects. I’ve done a few “urban exploration” videos where me and some friends explore abandoned places (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE3qxi7qyTw <this is probably the best video if you’re interested). I recently finished a video essay on why YouTube is ruined. I’ve been trying to write a story I thought would be exciting to write but for some reason turned out dull. It’s just that with these projects…I’m just not really happy doing them. Occasionally, they can be a bit fun but I just don’t have the passion for much of anything anymore, even if it’s something I loved. I understand that the creative process is difficult, believe me I do. But I also believed it was very rewarding. The problem is…it’s not rewarding anymore. When I finish editing a video or writing a scene, what I usually feel is, “Okay, glad that’s over.” I might have a little bit of fun putting some stuff together but I just feel…numb. And honestly, creativity was one of my main reasons for living. It was one of my life’s greatest pursuits…and now I just do that stuff in fear that I’ll be working a job that will make me wanna kill myself for the rest of my life. Really. Pushing shopping carts gets to you after awhile. It just feels so stupid and meaningless, because you know when you get back there the next day, the parking lot will be full of carts again.

I’ve tried finding solace in God. I know not everyone here is religious, but it does help me. I think God has been giving me little signs of hope. But with all of the exhaustion and pain I feel, I wonder if this art I’m making–or even life itself, is really worth it anymore.

That’s all I’ve had to say, for now. I just needed to vomit my emotions somewhere that wasn’t on Facebook where all of my friends and family will start worrying about me.


#2

Hey David,

Great hearing from you again! You’ve obviously been through a lot lately (thank you for powering through and being willing to share), and I have a few thoughts on creativity I’d like to share in return.

Creativity works in strange ways. On one hand it’s incredibly personal, and tied deeply to who you are and more importantly, when and where you are in life. On the other hand, it runs in its own bizarre schedule, and there’s a good reason why some cultures have historically characterized creativity as an entity not from within, but a mystical power from somewhere else entirely. While it may not help you “find the spark” again short-term, I do think it’s worth stating that what you’re struggling with in regards to creatively is in fact quite common, if not universal.

Sometimes it’s about your outlet - I personally dabble in different forms of art (drawing, writing, film, etc.), and my interest and passion definitely comes and goes over time. I had a story idea I was really excited about in college (that’d be a decade-plus ago by now), but I ended up getting frustrated with it and it never went anywhere. Not quite a “failure,” but certainly something that never quite got there, if that makes any sense. Anyway, jump forward to about a year ago, and now at a totally different place in my life, I’ve revisited the idea again, and am now actively working on it, with hopes of turning it into something “real” (in this case, an actual product for sale). It just needed time, and for me to grow and change as a person, my previous efforts to force it into being be damned.

There’s also times, especially after big life changes (both tangible events and “bigger adult concerns”) where you quite honestly need to recharge, and more importantly work through challenging and difficult places in life. Since you’re now a different person, pursuing the same approach and specific creative pursuits from before might not be as rewarding, but it doesn’t mean those outlets are “dead” to you forever. People of all ages create art, and your path to that creativity changes with you. Again, this isn’t a “shortcut solution,” but I want to really be clear that the creative difficulties you’re facing, while certainly substantial, are in no way unusual. I was a really different person when I turned 19 to when I turned 20 the year after. When I turned 19, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career, I was really worried about all the “adult stuff,” I was single, living at home when I wasn’t at school, and that certainly had an effect on my creativity. Somewhere between then and now, I ended up working in the film industry, and now I’m a dad and have a mortgage and stuff - and only now am I revisiting a story I was working on when I was 19. Life’s really weird like that.

Inspiration comes from both life and other art. Have you found your media interests and tastes have been changing as well? And if you’ve kind of gotten away from consuming media altogether, that’s also totally normal. I’ll go through dry spells now and again, or I’ll get really invested in one kind of thing (comics, music, whatever) and then just go all-in for a month and not explore any new works in that medium for years after. But that’s definitely a part of things too; I think everyone needs new input, both good and bad, to have the material to create from.

So this turned into a sort of rambling post, but I hope I’ve been able to convey a few of my feelings about creativity. Thank you so much for the time and courage to put your post together!


#3

David,
Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with so much and glad that you’re still here.

I emphasise with your creative struggles, they’re all but too familiar. And I think that’s not only the case for me but for a large majority of people.

When it comes to creativity, especially in writing, there’s two cents I’d like to add. I often find that working together with someone can be extremely stimulating. Every little thing someone else says can be a seed that resonates with your brain and sprouts into a myriad of ideas.
Working together on something also helps motivate each other to keep going through constant encouragement and the fun that can result. (Hell have you listened to any of the story break podcasts? The boys usually sound like they’re having a grand old time)

Anyhow if you ever want to try co-writing for a bit, I don’t know if our writing styles are compatible, but send me a message and we can Skype about it or something.
Also just if you want to talk.

Enjoy the little things, the warm rays of sunlight if the sun is shining, the rhythmic patter of the rain if rain is falling. I find that absorbing all the little pleasures helps me stay calm in face of my big worries.
I don’t know if it helps you, but if it does I’m glad.

Looking forward to seeing dream warrior, will you be posting it when it’s totally done? (I mean as done as it can be of course, these things can never be done if you don’t decide they are) :slight_smile:


#4

i think we have all been there/still there/working to never get there again.
im currently in a stage of not really doing a whole lot other then corporate work and edits which dont really make me feel to creative as well.
Last year was great for a ton of creative fun projects that mostly have all either:

a. still havent been edited by the director

b. have been edited and are horrid (like they never got back to me to color and released a log video cause “it looked fine”

c. are done and good but are “being shopped around and cant release them till we get a Netflix deal that will never happen”

d. are still on my hard drive and i need to complete them

e. etc etc

so overall it was a new experience in “lots of cool work” that at the end of the day “still means nothing unless i personally finish or hold the hands of the people that need to finish it so it gets done”. at that point its more of a “i need a agent or to get involved with a team that follows through”.
to sum up, we as filmmakers all go through it when solo: im 40 and still have the same issues as when i was 20. its not really that it “goes away” you just need to figure out ways to make it work for yourself and find the happiness in that rather then in others.

keep keeping on sir


#5

Hey! Thanks for the advice. Yes, I do agree with you, working with others helps a lot. I was a production assistant on my friend Nate’s set for some zombie series he was doing. He was actually very kind to me and actually LISTENED to my advice and sometimes applied it to what he was doing (other directors kind of ignore PAs) and I really enjoyed being able to bring something to the table. I might be promoted to production manager soon, actually.

I wouldn’t mind collaborating at all, so hit me up! Dream Warrior is almost finished, but I do have a tiny little teaser out if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvs04wB2eJQ I’ll post it to these forums when I’m finished.