Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 44 - Victoria Negri - FILM REFLECTS LIFE - Part 3 of 3

A lot like hurry up and wait.

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it’s hurry up and wait. So, yeah, the scope is completely different. I'm not raising the money. Thank God.

Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 44 - Victoria Negri - FILM REFLECTS LIFE - Part 3 of 3

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JESSE: A lot like hurry up and wait. VICTORIA: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it’s hurry up and wait. So, yeah, the scope is completely different. I'm not raising the money. Thank God. Yeah. JESSE: So, I have two thoughts/questions here and part of it comes from a personal background. And this is another rabbit hole I'd like to get down with you is that originally like-- So, when I went to college, I had done some prep work in high school with music theory, and I went to college with the intention to do music composition because I wanted to do film scores. And I went through, I basically have a minor in music because of the number of music classes I took towards this goal. But then at some point, I think maybe sophomore year I was like, I have no idea how I could ever make a living writing film scores, it’s so competitive. I'm just starting. Looking back, I'm like, I should have just done it, like I'm a dummy. But anyway, the question being like, because there is a lot of hurry up and wait, how do you make a living? Do you make a living from the film? Like-- VICTORIA: No. JESSE: Right. So, it's like-- VICTORIA: No. I piece together-- JESSE: How do you do that and balance making a living to support yourself? VICTORIA: Barely. And I think like, I really admire transparency with filmmakers when they talk about this because I always wonder with my friends who are making films, what the hell they're doing to get by. So, I actually like I was really inspired by one of my acquaintances on Facebook last night. She's been posting, she's a producer. She's been posting her hours worked every week ?? 01:45> write hours that I worked that were paid hours that I worked, that I got no money for, and we're just for projects that I'm trying to turn forward or are that are my own work that I'm not making money for. And I think one week, she had the 125 hours or something, insane. So, for me, it's piecing together like a whole bunch of things. I freelance produce some things right now, producing a short film that's shooting end of next week, the sixth through the 10th. I do a lot of transcribing, which is super boring, but can be very interesting sometimes. But what's great about that is it's very flexible. And I can do it on my own time and wherever my laptop is. So, it's mostly like those two things juggling them back and forth. But yeah, I would love to have this next film be the thing that gets me more into, I'd love to write scripts and get paid for it. I don't even necessarily have to direct or direct you know, a TV show and not work for a while. I’m not quite there yet. But I hope with this next film that it'll be the thing that does it. But yeah, it's like day job stuff, really. Like I've done such random things. I mean, it's been years since I've done this but I used to like ?? 03:11> for people. Or what else did I-- I worked in like a theater selling stuff during intermission. God, like random jobs. It's a stressful way to live for sure because there's no certainty about anything. But like, I can pay my rent. I'm fine. It's just like, on a day to day basis, the way I make money isn’t exactly what I love doing the whole time. Yeah. But I have a ton of flexibility is the thing. Like I'm able to talk to you right now. I can kind of shift things around. So, it's good. JESSE: Yeah. I kind of wonder, I'm sure you've had this experience of like-- Well, maybe not. But if I was a betting man, I would bet on this. Have you had people have the perception that, especially now because you have this feature film out and you're doing this other film and they're like, oh, you're this successful person. So, now you're making all this money. But then prior to that, obviously, there's a lot of back work that gets you to that point where you're not making money from films and you're not directing films, we have ?? 04:35> before you've got a feature-length film, people looking at you and going like what the hell are you doing with your life? Even though internally you're like I know what I'm doing, but like, you have that drive. VICTORIA: Yeah. JESSE: You had the experience where like, maybe your family or friends are like a wasted talent like she had so much potential. What is she doing? VICTORIA: I think it's more-- it's less like friends in New York. Because here I'm mostly surrounded by people that are, have the same struggles and are doing the same things. A lot of-- Family has been interesting for me because I don't think they sometimes know how to talk about what I do or they forget. They're like, “Wait, you haven't shot Ultra yet, your next feature, you haven't shot it?” I'm like, “No.” They go, “Well, what's happening?” I'm like, “Well, we're reaching out to actresses.” They're like, “Oh.” And then I have to explain. It's just a lot of explaining. And I can't tell, I think everyone's super-- I think everyone is very supportive. There's just a lot of questions. I don't know, this undercurrent of like, will she ever make it kind of thing. Like everyone, the question that annoy-- there are two questions that annoy me that people don't mean anything by it. It's just they don't understand anything about filmmaking. The first one is when will your film play at Sundance? And then the second question is, is it on Netflix for me to watch? And those two, achieving those two things are pretty difficult. So, people act like, “Oh, it's not at Sundance? How is it not Sundance?” I'm like, “I don't know. They take point 00.1% of the people that submitted. And to get on Netflix, like right now, Netflix is in a weird time where they're mostly making their own original content. So, net Netflix isn't that interested in like, little me over here with Gold Star despite having Catherine Curtin plays my mom in it, and she's on Stranger Things. Like despite stuff like that, they're not as amenable to pitches from people lately. So, yeah, there's just things like that, that I'm like, I think people understand success in filmmaking, and just the very obvious things rather than looking at the film itself and seeing it has a success of like “Oh, it's-- she did that. Wow.” I had one relative actually say to me after she saw Gold Star, “You made a real movie.” And I'm like, “Ah, yeah, I did.” I'm glad your expectations were so low going into ?? 07:17>. I don't know what a fake movie is. But thank you. JESSE: Right? Yeah, it's real. Like you said, it's a sad thing where like, they're very well-intentioned. It's not they're not being malicious. They're just ignorant. VICTORIA: Does that happen with you? JESSE: Yeah, like I have-- So, I spent-- I'm not anymore but I spent eight years post-college, trying to become a professional triathlete. I don't quite have the physicality to do it. But I mean, it's basically a six to seven day a week, 52 week out of the year pursuit. So, it is not-- I'm not like doing you know, something on the weekend like it's a-- At its height I was training 15 to 20 hours a week on top of doing all my other work. And I have a niece who I love and she's of a similar age like me, she's a few years younger than me. But she would always ask me now to explain every time and she meant well, “Are you training for a triathlon? Are you doing a triathlon anytime soon?” Like I don't think you understand, this is an all-consuming it says project for my entire life. This isn't just, I'm gonna do one maybe sometime. No, this is every single day. I wake like this morning, even though I'm not after that anymore. I got up at 6 am to go to the pool, to swim in the pool for an hour, and I had strength training after that And like-- VICTORIA: Do you get antsy though? Do you do plan out like cuz I'm in this weird phase right now where I'm looking for like, what's my next move gonna be in running? Like, what race am I going to do? Because for me, it helps to look forward towards a goal. Are you okay with just kind of not having anything on the horizon? Or how does that mentally work for you? JESSE: No, I've had a lot of difficulty with that in the past few years. So, I basically stopped my pursuit after I had a crash at a 70.3 event where I probably would have qualified if I’d finished. I was having a phenomenal day. And I was going around a blind corner, a guy passed me on the inside when he shouldn't have. I hit a patch of gravel and I shattered my collarbone. VICTORIA: Oh my God. JESSE: So, I had to have surgery and I was out for several months. And I had worked my body in my mind so hard that I was just broken. Like, I was just-- VICTORIA: I can't imagine that. Oh, my God. Yeah. JESSE: I was just a shell. Like I said because you know, so I went to-- I don't know how much you know about like sport divisions at schools, but I went to a school that was originally NAIA, which is it's now a Division Two school but like-- So, I was not a division one runner. I was not top of the class kind of runner, which is who normally becomes a professional if they try to switch to multi-sport. So, it was a long shot for me from the beginning, but because it was something I was so dedicated to doing because I wanted to do it. Like we were talking about earlier, the freedom to choose anything. Well, this is the thing that I chose. And because I put myself through everything my body and mind had to get there, there was just nothing left after that setback. So, I've had this period where I've had difficulties trying to figure out what is the next thing. Because I lived with trying to be better than I was last season for 15, 16, 17 years of my life. And so it's like, what do I do now? I've had trouble with that but, so I still pick out races. I've got my first-- I'm getting back more into just like running only races. I'm doing like a St. Patrick's Day run here in a few weeks, so I do pick those out. And that helps, but I still get-- because there's an aimlessness to it, I'm not trying to qualify for anything. I doubt I'll ever be National Champion. Like I'm friends with and he's been on the podcast, Todd Buckingham Episodes Three and 29. He has been National Champion and World Champion as an amateur. I'm just not on-- not quite to his level. So, it's like, I don't have these goals anymore. So, I still have that existential dread from time to time, where I have-- I have things on the race calendar, but sometimes because I'm working so hard, I'm like, why am I doing this? So, I struggle with that and trying to figure out like I mentioned earlier, do I go back to-- do I start over? And I go, okay, now let's start working on music composition. Well, that's a daunting task because I've never written anything. And yeah, so I struggle with that. It's definitely not something that comes easily to me. VICTORIA: Yeah, it's tough. Setting a goal versus like, yeah, what I'm grappling with running is because I used to be really goal-oriented. And I knew I was never doing it for like anywhere near your goals. Right when I started, my times were just dropping like I was getting so fast, so quick. And like to the point where in like New York Road Runner races finishing like 10th in my age division, where I had no coach. And I'm just like, oh my God, I can actually do this. And then I started, I was like, I want to keep running further. And now I'm at a place, I’m at this weird place where-- So, I had an injury last summer I was in a walking boot for a bit and my foot was just messed up. And now I'm like, I don't-- I just kind of want to do it for the experience and enjoying it. And I think that's what I like about ultras, for me, I just like, living in it for a really long time. But yeah, I'm still kind of confused about like why exactly am I putting myself through this for so long? Which makes me, yeah, unsure about how hard to train or-- Yeah, I'm in a weird moment right now with running for sure. JESSE: Some of this stuff, I feel like whether it's running or whatever the discipline is. I have a variety of hobbies, I'll say. I feel like sometimes, and this is, maybe this is a cop-out, but it's kind of what I go back to where it's like, whatever the discipline is, it doesn't matter what the discipline is. Just pick something; painting, running, filmmaking, dog training, whatever it is. If you have an interest in it, and you kind of dedicate yourself to it and trust the process; there are things that will appear in your life that will possibly seem like chance or luck, but are a result or a direct result of the time that you've spent engaging in this activity. Like would you have ever made a film around ultra-running if it's not something you did, you know? VICTORIA: No, I mean, I hadn't run one until after I started doing it. But I started-- I started just reading a lot about ultras, and then learned about Bad Water and was like, “Oh, my God, that's very cinematic.” So, yeah, it's just yeah, my interest in it led me there, for sure. JESSE: Yeah. So, it's-- VICTORIA: It led me to my producers. My producers, I think, my initial first person that signed on, David Lowery, I think we really-- he's a runner also. So, we both were like, oh my God, we would get sidetracked with talking about running for a while. And he already knew about the race the film's based on. So, like that was a huge thing, I think and getting this team's interest, which I'm really fortunate for. JESSE: Yeah, so that's exactly what I'm talking about where it's like you made that connection with him based on the subject matter, which is like, maybe it goes back to your dad being a runner and that influencing you and then you kind of getting into it somewhat reluctantly. VICTORIA: Yeah. It’s all about ?? 15:34> coming. Yes. Crazy how far back it was. JESSE: Yeah. There's this analogy I heard once and I'm gonna butcher it. But it's something along the lines of like you are in a boat on a river and you have a paddle so you can paddle that boat. But there is a path that the river takes you have no control over. And you have the options-- Yeah. So, you have the option to paddle against the current or to try to paddle to the side and hop off. And I feel like in those moments where we're struggling, and we don't know what we're doing, and we feel just completely lost. It's like you're on the river, you're going around to bend, you're not sure where you're going, what's around the bend, what's happening whether it's going to be rapids or whether it's going to be smooth sailing. But ultimately, if you trust the current of the river, which is the current of your life, you know that you will reach your destination because that's simply the path that the river takes. VICTORIA: Yeah, that's how life feels to me as I get older. I’m like anytime I felt completely overwhelmed, it's because I'm fighting something that I should kind of just accept. JESSE: Yeah, stop paddling upstream and just let the current take you where it's supposed to take you. VICTORIA: Yeah, just go with it. Yeah. JESSE: Yeah. So, even though we are both kind of free to make our schedules, I'll try to be mindful of your time as we're kind of running a little on the overside. This season, which is this year, basically of this show, I'm asking everybody the same question because just-- I like to see people's opinions on it. So, I'm asking everybody, what do you think the purpose of sport is? VICTORIA: Wow. Yeah. The purpose of sport. Wow. To think of one purpose is really difficult. I think it's to prove something to ourselves, that's how I interpret it. Whether it's to prove that you can work well with people, to prove that you're capable of doing something you thought was impossible. Or prove even like we are the better team. Like I think that would be the thing that all the ?? 18:08> downs can come from to prove, but I think to yourself. Even though sports can be a team thing, I think there's a lot of psychological stuff going on that you have doubts, and then you play a game or run a race or have a track meet or something. And it's constantly proving, yeah, challenging yourself. Yeah, that's such a good question. What’s the purpose of sport? Yeah, for me, specifically within the context of as I explore ultra running, I think I need to do it. And I don't know because I'm sure there's a lot of subconscious stuff going on that I can't even talk about. But I think I've been through enough in my life that's made me feel like not a strong person. Like I've had to overcome and everyone, everyone has. But I think I need a concrete way to prove it to myself to show myself that I'm resilient. I need to exercise my own resilience. And for me, ultra running is the ultimate form of that. It's exploring, what am I when I feel like I can't go any further? Who am I? Because it really breaks you down. And then you have to keep facing that over and over and over. Yeah. I can't-- Yeah, it's so deep for me really. It's like, who am I at the end of the day, like when I'm alone in the woods and at mile 40 and I have 10 miles left or something. And I haven't yet done 100-miler, I'd love to. But the furthest I've gone is 51. But yeah, when I feel like I have nothing left and my legs are shot, and I'm exhausted, it's how am I going to handle this challenge? What kind of person does that show I am? And I think that's what it is. It's proving to yourself, the kind of person you hope to be in moments of difficulty. That's a very long-winded answer I feel like. But I-- JESSE: No, it's good. It's good. VICTORIA: I think I'm finding something, I hope. JESSE: Maybe you'll spend more time with it when you're out on your next run thinking about okay, why am I out here? Which is nice because you have all that time to yourself when you're running, it's just assuming you're not running like in the city, and you have the freedom to not worry about traffic, like it’s just-- VICTORIA: I hate running here. JESSE: Right. It's a lot of like, time with me, time with myself, what's going on with my own thoughts? What are the automatic thoughts that are playing in my head that I didn’t even notice, small irritations from the day or joys or whatever it is. There's like things in the subconscious. So, I love the answers. It's a great answer. So, obviously, you have not shot Ultra yet, so I can't quite ask you when it's coming out. VICTORIA: No. We're hoping to shoot-- We can't shoot in the summer because it'll be too hot in the desert. So, we're hoping to shoot fall or winter of late 2020, early 2021. And then the next year, so 2022 probably. These things take forever, and then we can talk again. JESSE: That'll be great. In the meantime, where can people find you, possibly watch Gold Star? I think I'm watching it on Amazon. VICTORIA: Yeah, Amazon Prime is definitely the best way. And if you watch it, I’d love for you to leave like a little note saying what you thought. Because reviews are really helpful for more people to discover it. Yeah, I'm on all social media. I think I'm blocked-- private on all of them. But if you follow me and you seem normal, I will follow you back and accept. But yeah, Twitter, Instagram, all those. I have a mail list you can sign up for on my website, which is just my name at and that's a good way to get updates. But yeah, so please, everyone wants to Gold Star. I haven't seen it in so long. It'd be interesting for me to rewatch. I think it'd be painful for me to rewatch it. JESSE: Maybe it's just about-- just leave it be like it is what it is. It's done its thing and you could maybe revisit it like down the line. VICTORIA: If I didn't act in it I think I'd be less freaked out. But it's exhausting looking at yourself a lot. JESSE: I think a lot of people ?? 23:02> VICTORIA: Everyone ?? 23:04> watch it. Yeah. JESSE: Yeah. Well, thanks. Thanks for spending time with me today, Victoria. VICTORIA: Yeah. Thanks, Jesse. I loved the conversation. JESSE: Take care. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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