The joy of being "competent" / by Jason Nunes

This is a from a recent review of The Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die, a film I co-wrote, and acted in:

The Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die is above all a fun horror movie that might not have anything terribly new to offer, but it tells its story well, with its tongue firmly in cheek and never shying away from a bit of camp to go along with the scares while still delivering when it comes to shocks and suspense. And of course, a great location (an "actual" haunted mansion) and a competent ensemble playing well off one another certainly help bringing the story across.
A fun ride, really!

Aside from the fact that I think this review nails it--I think we did do a fun, funny send up of reality ghost hunting, with some nice little scares folded in--I'd like to declare that I'm proud of being part of a competent ensemble.

I'm not sure I would have always been proud of being called "competent", what with the desire to stand out, be important, make, and do things that blow people's minds. In other words to be special. With the subsequent desire to get some kind of validation, and acknowledgement that, yes, I am indeed special, because how else would you ever know you're truly special unless someone tells you that you are?  

But, you know what? I have had people tell me I'm special, smart, genius even, and aside from the fact that I never ever believe them, or worse, wonder what they're trying to get from me through their flattery, being thought of special kinda sucks. Why? Because suddenly I'm thinking more about being special, than I am about the things that I'm creating.

I'm worrying more about if I'm really shredding out those blistering 20,000 notes on the guitar, or showing my musical mastery by playing some obscure chord shape than I am about the song that I'm playing. Yet one of my biggest musical heroes is Bill Withers, one of the greatest song writers of all time, and most of his tunes barely have 3 chords in them. 

Or I'm so caught up in the judgement that what I'm writing may not be special enough that I don't actually finish it. And yet if I were to list out my favorite films, a huge percentage of them were just made at the whim of someone who had a crazy idea, and then, before they could talk themselves out of it, dove in, and made the damn film, and usually crazily fast at that. Alien. It Follows. Dazed And Confused. Etc. 

So instead of being special, I'm recommitting myself to making stuff--films, books, music, apps--but instead of trying to stand out, I'm going to do my best to be competent, and to have fun, and to shift my focus on the thing, and the process of making it, and the people I'm making it with, than on my ego-centric desire for praise, or validation. 

Why? Because I think that'll make it easier to have a fun ride, really!