By: Derek Hammeke
When starting the edit of “Finding Home,” working from my home office seemed like a great idea. In end, even with great advantages, it probably was not the best idea.
I returned from an almost 3 month long shoot in Cambodia in October of 2012 to embark on what turned out to be an 18 month post production process from start of edit to completion of film on DVD and Bluray. I was going to be the only person working on the post production of the film (aside from the composer and audio mixer.)
So the idea of working on the film from my home office I thought was a good one. After months of shooting in the field I looked at my office and editing bay as a place of comfort. No scorching sun on me all day anymore. No lugging gear or dumping footage onto hard-drives. No traveling to different locations everyday. I would get to work in just one spot. And this spot would give me great freedom. I could work on the project as needed. Set my own hours. Start work whenever I wanted and walk away from work whenever I wanted. Boy....was I wrong. There are for sure some great advantages to working in a home office for a massive time consuming project. I found there are some major disadvantages as well.
SETTING YOUR OWN HOURS.
You can set our own hours completely. If I had an office off sight technically I could still set my own hours but by the nature of it being away from a home there would still be a little bit of a sense of keeping some kind of a schedule to work under to come home. Working from home I am literally 15 seconds away from my bedroom and office. It made it easy to take breaks, grab food, sleep, and grasp inspiration before heading immediately right back in to work.
NO MONEY SPENT ON GAS.
I barely drove anywhere while working on the project. I would go to the grocery store and a few other places during the week but that’s it. And with gas prices today this was great!
NO FAST FOOD. EAT AT HOME.
Since the fridge was just around the corner with great healthy food (that’s cheap) compared to unhealthy fast food joints that would most likely become a routine if I had an office outside of my home, I would say this proved to be one of the best advantages for me.
NO MONEY SPENT ON OFFICE RENTAL.
I’ve already paid money to live in a home, why pay more money elsewhere when I can do that same thing here. Win win.
SAFER PLACE TO PROTECT MY GEAR.
I didn’t have to worry about my stuff getting stolen (as much). Since all of my equipment was kept securely in my office in my home I felt it to be much safer from a home break-in than if I had it at an office down town where a break-in was more likely. To a thief a hard-drive is worth a little something, but to me the contents (footage and editing timelines) were priceless. Home security.
Here are all the things I of course did not think about that would happen until months and months into working on “Finding Home” to realize.....even with all the advantages....maybe working from home was not a great idea.
YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE
I can’t tell you how many times I would realize I hadn’t left the house for 4 or 5 days. When you have enough food at the house and you have lots of work to get done...then why leave. But this is a bad thing. The place that was once going to be your solace from the harshness of the shoot and from the noise of the world to focus on your project has now turned into your prison. When work is so close to you at all times....it never leaves. There is no separation between work time and no work time. You think of work when you eat,when you sleep, when you take “a break.” When you clean or mow the lawn. You work is always with you. The editing “cave” is always calling you back in, because the film is not done and you have work to finish. Which is not the right way let me tell you.
DEPRESSION AND ISOLATION
Naturally when you don’t leave the house, you will become more depressed. Life seems to not exists outside of your small little world in your cave. When you head to the mailbox in the afternoon and you are shocked at the amount of light you are experiencing from the sun and grandness of the outside world, you know you are in trouble. Isolation is always dangerous no matter what, but especially when working on such material that “Finding Home” contains. Having to emotionally connect and respond to such a heavy topic as sex-trafficking and to be creative while dealing with isolation issues is an extremely difficult thing.
Some days Stephanie would come to my home to have a meeting with me. I always thought this must be what it feels like for people who are in prison when they have a visitor. The more you become isolated the more you continue to go down that road. You can think to yourself that you need to get out more, but you are already isolated and have work to do, so just keep working. Which is not the right way let me tell you.
I like to think I’ve a very communicative guy. I love to talk with people and engage with them. So I found it strange that when I would finally leave the house to go do something during the making of the film that my communication skills were lacking. I just hadn’t been practicing them. Also my mind was always still back at the office because it was in my home. I was living with it. I made it a part of me. So when hanging out in community I couldn’t really be in community. So usually I would just leave early and head back to work. Which is not the right way let me tell you.
I could probably keep going but I think you get the gist of it. In the end I’d do a lot of things differently if I had another go at making the film. With a tight budget, no way of hiring out help, trying to create a quality project in the time frame we had...something have to give. I’m thankful I made it out alive and am able to have a life again. I would be reminded everyday though that the slavery of my home office was nothing like the slavery that the girls in the film have gone through. I never again want to work on a project alone. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two and this experience has for sure shown me why. I’m so thankful for being able to create “Finding Home.” I’m thankful for the trails and struggles and for the successes and fulfillment that the project has brought me. I hope it is a film that moves you as it did me when making it and that you feel called to respond to it. Thanks for reading.