Whether Producer, Artist, Writer, Techie or Production Staff, we've all had to deal with that seemingly interminable period of time from which you first believe a project is going to start, to when it actually does.
Several factors must be present for the wait to cause real torment - You must first start off believing that the project is real. This means that you believe it will happen and the only question in your mind is when. The other main factor is that you not only want to work on the project, but also that you need the work. When these two combine they create the tortuous wait.
Who hasn't been there? A friend or associate calls and tell you about this new project that's about to get underway. You talk and it sounds like a great opportunity and you tell he or she that they can count you in..... Over the following weeks you meet the principals and your excitement and commitment builds. Soon you find that you are involved and have become part of the team. You're doing budgets, reviewing schedules and/or writing premises. Perhaps your pitching in with some preliminary designs or call people you'd like to work with to see if they're available. Before you know it you're a key person in this production and you feel like just maybe there is a god in the animation heaven and good things can happen to good people.
Flash forward a month or so and you are still a believer but you really need to this happen soon or you will be forced to go into your savings, a thing you've sworn you would never do.... again. You understand that these kind of projects that rely upon equity financing or paper banking take time, specially now-a-days, but a tiny doubt creeps into your head, "What if this never happens?" You brush this negative imp aside and continue on the happy highway - After all, everyone has put money or time into this project - it is real.
Three months later and you're now undergoing the full torment of the wait. All the people you've called and tried to enlist for the project have moved on and think you're living on Da Nile. The principals continue to assure you that the funding will be available any day and assure you that they will do the project. Each week brings a new set of potential investors who are all, according to the principals, just dying to put their money down and take an equity position. The distributor, you are told, is still there and as soon as the production starts will write all the contracts which then can be taken to the bank to borrow against. And on it goes and you still somewhere between your heart and your brain, think it may, might, could possibly, still just happen.
So what do you do? The answer is nothing. There is nothing at this point to be gained by telling the principals how they screwed up, so don't. You've invested a good deal of time and perhaps even work in this project and there's no reason to throw it out the window now, even if you feel like walking, don't. The chances are the people you are angry with want the project to happen even more than you and if they have been unable to do so, it won't be from lack of trying. They may have intentionally mislead you or they may have simply been mislead by others and they passed it down the line... It doesn't matter, you can't change what has happened so what you should try to do is to disengage yourself emotionally.
Once you've moved away from The Wait, you will begin to heal. You now accept that this once sure thing, has become very much a flyer.... Step back, take breath and begin to think like someone that needs to find work, not someone that is waiting for work to begin.
While you are now reconnecting with reality tell the principals that you're still on board and support them and are ready to go as soon as they have their funding in place.... The last thing you need is to tell these folks to take a flying leap, only to hear later that their money came through and the project is being produced with someone else taking your place.
Having gone through this once, or if you're specially naive or just a slow learner, twice, you will become a warrior - scarred and now battle tested you will never take anything like this for granted. You will have learned to nod your head and smile and say how much you want to work with them on their wonderful series. film, special or whatever.
You will have learned that nothing is real until it is funded. Even large mega-studios start projects and then set them aside for a variety of reasons so it is easy to understand that small independent producers can face an array of up and downs when trying to get their funding in order.
We're all hopeful in this business, we have to be or what are we doing here? But that doesn't mean that we need to suspend good judgment or set aside common sense. After being led down the garden path once or twice we learn that even good, honest people can be overly optimistic and we need to protect ourselves from being swept away on the wave of their optimism and bright expectations. We don't need to turn away from these potential projects but we don't have to bet the farm on them either. Those that do, often end up suffering the dreaded wait, and that's enough to break your spirit and test your patience. But who knows, long shots do come in sometimes, don't they?