My wife has been watching my creative process for 20 years. She says I go through a predictable sequence of emotional states with any project, and this has not changed with video production. If anything, I'm worse.
She says I always come back from a shoot in a state of euphoria. It's true. I've been in deep connection with many people, I've been in the world and I've seen wondrous things. In my mind I've captured masterworks. This is before I've seen any of it; the experience still dominates.
Then I look at what I've captured. I might be excited to see things that I hadn't recognized during the shoot. Or, more likely, I am disappointed at where I've missed the mark. Yet I have to make something out of what I've hunted and gathered.
This is where I predictably descend into my dark night of the soul. In the darkroom days, it was a self-flagellation of my creative ability. The shoot is derivative, and I can't print worth a damn anymore. With video it's worse. Much worse. There's nothing here. I am lost in my test sequences. The B roll sucks. I missed the key moments, again and again. There isn't any variety. I have nothing to illustrate the most important point in the interview. I can't find a narrative thread that ties together the interviews. I have to reshoot everything. I mope and I'm difficult to have around. I'm a failure and we will lose the house and the cat will go without food.
Robin is not taking me seriously. Worse than that, she's teasing me. You're right, the cat will starve.
At some point, I've pared enough of the dross away to see that there is, indeed, a story present. I accidentally copy and paste a segment next to another, and suddenly, it works. I mistakenly overlap dialog, and I like the effect. A direction emerges. For the first time, I have a vision of what the final piece is going to look like. Now I enter the phase of joyous construction of the edifice. I am exultant. I am not a failure. Even better, I like what I've got and I'm pretty sure my client will too.
Exhilaration, reality, depression, more depression, avoidance, desperation, transformation, exultation. I pretty much know this is the sequence of any project, and I tend not to buy into any single state for very long. It's just the way it has to proceed. Even-keel I'm not.