#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Filming Stress!

What’s the best way you have found to handle the stress that pops up while filming? – Jairo

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Let’s talk about stress and filmmaking! Inevitably, even though you’re playing pretend and surrounded by people (some of whom you even like!), you’re going to get stressed out. Of course you are: there’s a lot of money at stake, things go wrong, and no matter how well you plan your production, you’re going to be surprised by SOMETHING.

I personally tend to get more stressed out BEFORE production; that’s when you have eight hundred balls in the air and every one landing in your hand depends on the one before it making it there first. I have a very Irish-person/East Coast mentality when it comes to stress: suck it up, get it done. It’ll only last X weeks, then you’re filming, so just finish what you have on your plate. I highly recommend delegating — ask for help. Get help. Pay for help. The more you try to do everything alone, the worse everything becomes. 

Once you’re on set, things kind of are what they are, and getting upset about stuff tends to help no one. Can you put out the fire? No? Find a way around the fire. Can you get an extra whatever light to do the hickey with the doo dad? Yes? Okay, go get it. Just keep things very matter of fact, straightforward, and simple: is this fixable? Can I work my way around it instead? 

I am also a HUGE fan of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and keep “thought journal” worksheets (linked) for myself to fill out if I ever feel overwhelmed. By the time I work my way through, I feel much, much better. I also turn my brain off — books are generally my go to for that. 

Knowing how to react under stress is a very personal thing; I encourage you to know yourself, find what works, and embrace it. Maybe you need time alone; maybe you love going to a bar with the cast; maybe you need non-industry friends! Find your happy stuff and make sure you always set aside time to DO THAT too.

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