VOYAGE OF PERSONAL GROWTH | Adam Nelson
As a young filmmaker, I constantly try to make a point of evaluating the personal growth that I gain as a result of making a film: I ask myself questions like, what went well, what will I do differently on the next one, what accomplishment in this film am I most proud of—typical stuff like this.
In the context of making Sea Odyssey, I have answers to all of these questions and more, but truthfully, these answers may hold little value to other filmmakers around the world—and that’s because every filmmaker is on his or her own journey of personal growth.
We’re all excelling at different speeds and are getting good at different things, and that’s always important to remember. When I first started making films, I was often frustrated because my work wasn’t amounting to the grand vision that I imagined my films to be when I wrote them. I’ve always had a lofty appetite for creating something fantastic—something that’s never been seen before and is truly great—and I still have that goal. I want to make films that make people feel and inspire a sense of awe. When I first started out, my visions kept falling short – and that’s totally normal.
Nobody is born a great filmmaker. Admittedly, I do believe there is a partial element of “natural talent” that’s involved in making something special—an important quality that lives somewhere deep within who you are, but the point is: we all have to start somewhere. It seems that the only way to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be is through creating work and learning from those experiences.
So let’s talk Sea Odyssey.
I learned a lot making this film and I loved every minute of it. But it didn’t just happen.
In 2014, it took the support of 487 people on Kickstarter to make Sea Odyssey happen.
1 year later, this is a number that I still have a difficult time fully wrapping my head around. 487 kind-hearted people decided that our little film mattered and chose to support us in any way that they could—wow! But let’s keep going with this…
Then there’s all of the people who were directly a part of making the film. If my math is correct, the actual production process involved nearly 300 individuals. This number includes all of our cast, crew and excited extras that joined us along the way. This means that somehow our film managed to touch the lives of close to 800 people.
Personally, this number is quite humbling—especially as this entire project all began with a blank page on a glowing screen. I remember when I first got the idea to tell this story. I wanted to make a film that at its core was about a father-son relationship, but then, I somehow became hooked on this idea of a lonely man building a submarine in his garage (I know… my mind really does wander all over the place). The point I want to emphasize however is that the journey between Sea Odyssey as a “blank page” and as a fully realized short film took shape in the form of a lot of hard work—and the value of the experience as a whole is simply immeasurable.
It took quite a lot of people to make all of this happen (close to 800 actually), and all of those people had to give a part of themselves in some way to support our story. Whether it was their time, energy, maybe a few pieces of 1960s wardrobe hanging up in their closet, or a few dollars out of their pocket—it really did take a village to pump life into this film, to make it breath.
In retrospect, this whole project brought up a lot of different emotions: it was overwhelming, exciting, an absolute blast, sometimes stressful and headache inducing—but I have no regrets about embarking on the journey. I always love making films because of how I much grow from the experience, both personally and creatively. I’m also always proud of what my team and I create. Despite its strengths or perhaps its flaws, in a way, a finished film is a snapshot of where the filmmakers are at that time in their lives.
So this is us. Team Sea Odyssey. 1 year ago, when we set out to make this crazy little underwater adventure film set in the 1960s. As you watch Sea Odyssey in the Top Shorts Online Film Festival, we hope that watching the film is as memorable for you as making it was for us.