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  • Bazz Hancher

The Overthinking Filmmaker.

Life can be cruel in many ways, not that I have anything to complain about; however, this doesn't stop us from overthinking. My overthinking started when making our latest film, Axel Falcon. I feel the trap we fall into is when we believe that we are mentally strong when in reality, we are a couple of bad decisions or a few wrong turns of bad luck away from entering the dark place. The gates to this dark place seem to be in the far distance, but let’s not kid ourselves; we think we won’t reach this place in our short lifetime, but then BOOM, we are in the dark place with little to no warning, so how do I explain this from the filmmaking perspective. Ok, this is from my point of view and experience, I do understand if people think this is a load of bollocks, but to me, this is how I feel about it. The first ingredient in this stew is pressure. This is usually there for most filmmakers from the outset, from raising money for the project, to getting actors in place, and generally getting prepared to make a film for virtually no money. There is nothing strange about that I hear you say; and I fully agree with you; however, this is the start of the overthinking process. So, then we get to the filming of said project and the hardships of the organisation process and bringing everything together, along with all the time restraints that go with it. Once that is complete, we must ensure we are happy with how things have gone on the shoot. We all ask ourselves, have we done everything possible to ensure everyone involved in our project has had a good experience? 99% of the time, they will all say they have had a great time, but have they really? Now, this is the first time I have become aware of overthinking. This is especially difficult for me as I rely totally on the goodwill of the actors and crew because they are not getting paid; this makes me reliant on making their experience a good one, this is because it's only ever going to be travel, food, and occasionally board, which is usually at Jimbo’s house. If we paid the cast and crew, it would be more of a financial buisness transaction and more like a job, so being as cynical as I am, this would dilute the emotion from the situation somewhat. Again, this isn’t a big deal, it’s an individual choice, as we all know what we are getting into, don’t we?

Then comes consumption, when the filmmaking process spreads into your personal life. Dawn who is my long-suffering wife, listens to this shit from me on a regular basis, I’m filming this weekend; I’m out tonight filming. Sorry, I’m off to a film festival this weekend. This is when the arguments start, and all I hear from my wife is, you don’t take me out anymore; you think more about your films than you do about me, etc. The harsh truth is she has a point, and what you don’t understand is that her point is far more valid than you realise, this is when the overthinking starts to bite. So let me explain everything I have said so far; it doesn’t seem that bad as this is more than likely the norm for most filmmakers; however, where it starts to change is when loved ones become ill, loved ones die, friends have troubles, friends die then the spectre of the overthinker takes hold. Let’s start with the why: why did I continue making this film when an actor who wasn’t getting paid committed suicide? Did he have money problems? Did we put undue pressure on him? Did I play a part? The overthinking is kicking in now; why didn’t I call the film off when our young sound man had to live through one of the worst experiences of his life so far? Why didn’t I spend more time with my terminally ill mum before she passed? Yet I still pressed on with the film with all the pressure building in the background; I needed to do an excellent job on this film as a payoff for everyone’s effort through these difficult times. Again, I’m overthinking. Then we have the what, what if this shit happened because of what we are doing? What if the film is shite? and the cast, crew, and audience hate it, In ordinary circumstances, this would never really bother me as I make the film I want to make and fuck what anyone else thinks about the subject matter. you either like our films, or you don’t? I have never had any other way of looking at this game. However, Axel Falcon is different; many things happen in this film. I have started to think about my mortality and that of my loved ones and friends. I have never had thoughts like this before, and I really can’t understand why the sudden overthinking. I believe that my age must have a hand in this as we are all getting older, and as loved ones and people you know around you start to die, then the natural thought is, shit, it’s getting closer to me. Also, I think stress, especially the stress we put on ourselves, plays a big part in overthinking, because you don’t want to let people down, such as actors, crew, audiences, family, friends, and customers. Everything must be right because, in my own opinion, I owe everyone involved. Is our film going to be the worst at a festival? Will other filmmakers hate our film, or hate us? There is no reason to think this way because the truth of the matter is who cares and what real difference does it make, yet we still believe it. I have always suffered from imposter syndrome, not only in my filmmaking but in my general life, and that’s hindered me in some respects, but helped me in others; I would say that my don’t give a fuck attitude, and the fact I say what I think is a positive attribute of my imposter syndrome, but again the overthinking part of me is still thinking do people see me as an imposter, do they think that I have no right to be in this Game. 

So, to sum up, overthinking does absolutely nothing to extend your life; it worries you and puts you closer to the grave, yet I have no honest answer on how to cure this. All I would say is sometimes take a step back and see the bigger picture, which is family, friends and doing the right thing, we need to except how lucky we really are to live in this country, however imperfect we think it is, and how much better off we are in comparison to millions of others around the world and here at home. Everyone has darkness in their life and tragedy, some greater than others, but there is no measure for sadness; this will leave us with a missing piece of our puzzle. Remember, it doesn’t matter how hard we try to replace another puzzle piece into that hole It will never be the same, but it can be very close so embrace the next best thing. Maybe this will give me the clarity to stop overthinking because sometimes our outward bravado does not always match our true nature.


By Bazz Hancher

Filmmaker and overthinker  

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