I tend to dream rather vividly and rather often. What's strange is that my dreams aren't usually the incoherent mess that most people's dreams are -- they actually make a lot of sense most of the time. I mean, they have the standard inconsistencies like walls changing colours when you look away and stuff like that, but the actual "plot" of the dream tends to be pretty understandable once I'm awake.
Last night was kind of a creepy one that made me think for a bit, but it needs some backstory to understand why. See, I'm a filmmaker who runs a small media production company with my friend James. (The actual story of how we met and started working together is kind of funny, but that's a story for another daylog.) Anyway, mostly this company exists for tax reasons so we can charge people around the area to get videos made for them at low, low prices without it being mad, mad illegal. But our actual goal with the company is to use the money from the commissions to produce our own independent projects.
Typically he'll serve as director and general yells-at-everyone person, and I'll do the little quiet roles that I prefer -- writing in pre-production, editing in post-production. In the actual film industry "writing" and "editing" would be incredibly vague terms, but since we're small-time (more like tiny-time), most of the time they're singular jobs done by yours truly. And I love doing them. That's what made the dream scary.
I woke up slowly, stretching my arms to the familiar sound of loud-ass banging on my bedroom door. My roommate wakes me up this way at least five days out of every week, then tries to play it off as if he needs something from me and had an actual reason for waking me up. It's infuriating, but he's obviously trying to help me maintain a human sleep schedule, so I let it slide. Without him I'd be up until 5AM every single night.
But when I opened the door, it wasn't my roommate -- it was my old roommate, the druggie-alcoholic-homophobe-dickwad who I thankfully hadn't seen in over a year. Since this was a dream, I didn't think anything was out of the usual. He came into my room and did that thing he always did back when we lived together: put on a fake smile, and took a stab at me. "I like what you've done with the place," he said, eying the pile of clothes on my nightstand which I'd neglected to put away the previous night.
Funny tangent: The only time this guy had the nerve to talk to me after finding out I was gay was when he ingested a pile of shrooms right before the fire alarm went off. I couldn't stop laughing at his misfortune. Not mature of me, no, but he was always a prick to me and his homophobia was the last straw that made me start openly hating him.
Anyway, I got mad at him and said a lot of things I'd always wanted to say. He tried defending against me by saying that he'd fixed my computer problems. He eventually left. I'm sketchy on the details around this part; it's part of the dream that I've forgotten some of. After he was gone, James came round, waving a DVD case in my face. He told me that he had a surprise for me. We sat down on the couch and started watching.
It was a fully-realized, finalized version of a script that I've been working on since 2009. This script was basically the script. Not-funny tangent: I once suggested mailing some scripts out to see if any company would be willing to back us financially. This script was one of the scripts I suggested, and James told me quite firmly that I could send out any other script I wanted, but that one was our movie, and he wouldn't want to work with me anymore if I was willing to throw it away. It was a very dramatic moment in my life.
The movie was perfect in every way, and at first I was really happy about it. I enjoy production, but it's really annoying and the idea of having someone produce all my scripts for me without having to stress myself out with actors and shit can sometimes seem appealing. After a point, though, it became so obvious that James would not be capable of producing such a great-looking movie on his own that I turned to him and said, "This is ridiculous. I'm dreaming, right?"
He looked at me with sort of a disturbing glean in his eyes and answered, "Yes." At first I didn't buy it, as if it was just one of those things that you say in a crazy situation, but then I realized that this really was impossible. I pinched myself. The dream became lucid (meaning I could control myself in the dream).
Once it was lucid, the brain fog of a standard dream lifted and I realized just how scary of a situation this was. James made a huge, ambitious project without any help or input from me, my old roommate (by all definitions a moron) fixed my computers for me, and evidently no one needed an editor in any of this. The only way I'd contributed to anything was--
--with the screenplay itself, but for a variety of reasons I've recently been... It was at that point that I woke up. While thinking those things, I'd ran back to my room and went back to bed. When I woke up this morning, I saw that it was nearly 2PM despite my going to sleep relatively early last night. At first I was convinced that the dream really had happened and I'd actually ran back to bed and fallen back to sleep. But that obviously was not the case.
So maybe this dream wasn't a nightmare in a traditional sense, but it scared me. I've recently been stressed a bit trying to get some writing done quickly for a competition, and I suck at getting writing done quickly. I'm the kind of writer who can do a first draft, and edit, but not both. The only way I can edit my own first draft is if I let a significant span of time pass, and I don't have that luxury with most of my projects which have been created thus far. As a result of this, I've started to doubt that I have any skill at all in writing, and this dream reminded me quite painfully that editing and computers are replaceable skills -- or at least they feel that way to me -- and that my only real worth to James or the company is my writing.
So really it was more disheartening than scary, but I still woke up sweaty. Whatever guys, details.
I think I'm going to try some basic writing exercises to see if I can gain new perspective on my own work without waiting a ton of time between writing and reading. Maybe rewrite the script as a short story (or vice versa in other cases)? From a different character's perspective? Anyone have any ideas, feel free to /msg me. I'd appreciate it.