No Silver Lining

I finished a long commercial project yesterday on a high note. It has been many jobs like this back to back. Crew coming up afterward expressing deep gratitude and joy, a few telling me they loved me, holding me tight before departing. It has been overwhelming the amount of positive feedback. Today as it all slowed down, finishing the race well, patting myself on the back, reflecting on the season as a whole, I watched the first edit of my commercial. Suddenly and without warning, despair sieged my soul. The mediocrity of it all just fucking sank me. It is for a financial institution, just like the last one and the one before it. Banal, vapid of anything good or worthy of attention. Something I promised myself I would never do as an emerging indie filmmaker. I sank in my chair, the warm glow of set life comradery vanished, I thought, “It might as well have been for Mc’Donalds.” There is a grief I have been trying to suppress this year, hoping it would pass over me in my overworking and incessant doing. Making my family the kind of money that brings great security in a freelance, dog eat dog, race to the bottom culture. Professing to everyone that relationships are more important than achievements while battling my cognitive dissonance, realizing deep down I can not handle my own diminishing artistic achievements. It is a kind of grief I have not been able to articulate. Making the money but not the art. Being a good man of character with average abilities, having struck luck in the past, privately praying my muse might visit me again. Somewhere here in the middle of life, provider, 2 kids, a wife, a house in a homogenous suburban enclave, overpaid and overweight, with another vapid commercial under my belt. Another man coming to terms with his finitude and obsolescence, here I am. It is not easy. I called my dad tonight, he immediately started laughing. My fear of lacking cultural relevance and high art just cracked him up. “Thanks Dad, I’m serious, this shit is real.” He said “let me make it easier for you son, stop right there, stop….” I was breathless trying to get it all out so he could unpack if for me and find the silver lining. He said “son, there is none. No silver lining. So stop the resistance. I’ll give it to you now, now that your old enough to really hear it…you ready? It’s really simple. Your life is no longer about you, it actually never really was. Go kiss your kids and a big welcome to adulthood.”