Why Filmmaking is the Best Hobby an Introvert Can Have

Why Filmmaking is the Best Hobby an Introvert Can Have
BOOM MIC

I spent a lot of time in my head this week. Granted, I am, technically, always in my own head, but the mind is a canyon with cavernous depths and crevices that resemble some alien planet, and sometimes my thoughts take me into the deep.

That’s what being an extreme introvert can be like. I haven’t really spent a lot of time being introverted, the last few months I’ve been pretending I’m an extrovert, if anything. I’ve even had myself fooled at times, but this week, I got back to my ways.

Having my thoughts take me to the darkest trenches of my mind made me realize something amazing.

I was really really fortunate to pick up filmmaking as a hobby and passion. Sometimes I get so locked into my own tiny mind that I barely realize there is a world around me. Furthermore, I usually have no concept of the person I am that everyone else in that world around me sees, hears, and experiences.

I started making stupid little movies with my neighbors when I was about 14 years old, and I realized this week that it might be the only reason I turned out ‘normal’. When I say normal, I mean able to function on a familiar enough level with most people that is bearable.

First off, being on camera means that we have to watch what we film at some point. It’s common for us to love the sound of our own voices, we yap and yap and yap and yap, but as soon as we hear our recorded voices for the first time, we HATE it. Unless you hear your voice recorded a lot, odds are it always stays that way. It’s probably more common to hear and see recorded versions of ourselves with this flood of technology we drown in every waking second, but in the year 2000, it was not nearly as common.

Now, when you are on camera, it is three times worse. Not only do you have to hear yourself, you have to see yourself– in motion.

“I don’t sound like that! I really look like that? I slouch like that? I move like that? I look stupid! Crap!”

Over time, you become familiar. You see the person that all the other billions of people will see. There is a lot of comfort in that after the initial feelings of disgust and shame. Middle school and early high school is an especially rough time for that, because it is all so awkward and pitiful, but I became really familiar with who was beyond just what my two eyes occasionally saw in a mirror. I understood enough to be able to kind of lean my personas to project myself in certain ways.

Of course, I think no matter how comfortable you are, unless you can always have an out of body experience, there will always be a disconnect between the person you experience yourself as, and the person the outside world experiences.

Secondly, beyond familiarity with your third person self, there is the greater element of being able to be someone else; exhibiting different personalities; creating characters with characteristics that you don’t possess. Or maybe you could call it stretching out into extreme versions of yourself.

I’ve never called myself an actor or referred to anything I do in any of the stuff I’ve been in that we’ve filmed, but acting on camera has always been one of the most liberating things I’ve done. Now that we are inactive these days, I find that it takes longer to settle back into it, and I am more tentative when we are filming something. The greatest thing that your teach yourself when you’re on camera and being someone other than your daily self is being able to shed that skin and how easily it is to molt.

Sometimes a character for me is merely a version of myself, but with sharper or more pronounces traits. Sometimes a character for me is someone who exhibits things that I have never been able to, but usually with personality pieces that I’ve always desired.

In essence, over all those years, I learned to be comfortable with myself by not being myself, but also being myself more than I’d ever allow myself otherwise. I think I was seen as more carefree and ‘me’ in high school than I was at any other time period of my life, and it is easy to see why– that is when I was doing the most filmmaking.

I mentioned in a couple of posts back how I spent a couple hours looking at myself with photo booth on my Mac, just rediscovering this exterior James Curtis that I had completely disconnected from. That’s exactly what video production did for me. If I could recommend any hobby to anyone, it would be exactly that, and, while there are endless reasons, that is the only one I’d need. Especially if you’re an introvert.

I guess the gist of all this is that I really just need to get my best friends, a camera, an idea, and get back to practicing shedding my own skin, lest I have more weeks like this week, and get permanently lost in the labyrinth of my mind.

 

Moral of the story: Sometimes I have to just get out of there and be ridiculous and stupid — case in point, this video. Hadn’t been on camera in a year, but we just acted stupid and had fun with this unfinished one. 

Viva la resolution

I have never really used the concept of a New Year’s resolution for anything more than bad jokes, but this year, I have become motivated to actually do one. Thing is, this one is more substantial, as well as something that people can hold me accountable to.

For too long, I’ve let myself remain in my comfort zone and sit on, what I believe to be, creative talent. This entire year, it is my goal to produce some piece of creativity and put it out there on a weekly basis. I might adjust it to bi-weekly if it turns out that a week is too time constraining, but I am thinking a week will be fine because these will be mini projects I can knock out in 1-4 hours time.

Now, when I say ‘piece of creativity’ I mean anything– from the obvious ones, like writing or short video stuff, to things that I do that nobody has seen any of my work.. such as music, to things I never do, such as painting or make a comic or something. I think this will be a good medium for me to force myself to put myself ‘out there’ when I am never comfortable doing that, as well as keep the artistic gears well-oiled, while not being bound by the confinements of having creative standards. Not that I am expecting these things to be terrible, though I am sure some efforts will be laughable, or almost an actual joke, but just that I will be able to trick my brain into not obsessing over every detail and worrying if it is terrible or not.

With that said, I am thinking of looking to release something onto the interwebs every Sunday before I go to sleep. Geronimo.

Rapumentary Vol 4. – One Year Later

First thing: I’m feeling lazy but oddly productive, meaning I’m not going to format this like I usually do until later (so I can use this productive burst on something else). If you read this and don’t see this, then you got in after I formatted this. SUCKER!

 

It’s been a while since I chronicled my work on my current pet project. A few months.. crazy— it’s June already? Wow. Anyway, a lot of the going has still been kind of slow. but lately my personal productivity has sped up. I spent the last few months learning and practicing as much as I can when it comes to mixing. I am just now feeling comfortable enough with it to finish up some songs and take the pseudo fictitious hip hop duo part of the documentary live. The real good news out of all this is that I can focus more on songwriting, making music and ultimately circle back some to the film aspect, which is no longer a cub, but a ruthless, starving bear. A picnic basket isn’t going to be enough to satisfy Yogi.

This is a pretty important update because we have officially reached the 1 year mark on this project. The earliest rough draft of any tracks I have on this project dates back to May 27th, 2010, a really rough mp3 of Lactose Intolerant with my scratch vocals, as well as all of Ryan’s verses. The creative process is such an arduous pain. It is probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever subjected to myself through, but the more ambitious and broad your scope, the longer it takes to chip away at turning out something finished– and as anyone who creates knows, these things are never finished, you just force yourself to stop working on them and share it with as much as the world that cares to pay attention.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I am actually surprised that we have actual video footage filmed and collecting dust particles of bits and bytes on a hard drive somewhere, yet the actual project hasn’t really started in my opinion. One of my closest friends in college and I had a ritual of nicknaming everyone in any class we had together. If I explained the nuances and intricacies of properly and effectively doing this, it’d take pages, so I’m going to shorten it and say that these nicknames were essentially random. One of the better ones was ‘Hat Wizard’. In my mind, this phrase has almost no meaning, although I do know that when I coined it I was thinking of Merlin or some form of a wizard who wears a wizard hat. Now I know it was all foreshadowing. I’ve made huge strides on being a hat wizard, trying to effectively wear every hat I can, not only in hopes of using it to market my talents and dedication, but really because I have no choice but to.

This has been a year long musical odyssey and I have nothing to show for it– yet. This is a new horizon I’m arriving at. I spent this year drifting at sea, every morning seeing the same painting of yellows, reds, oranges and gold bouncing off an endless navy blue surface, each night watching it turn into an endless void of black sometimes hidden by the silver glow of the sky’s lunar guardian. Soon, I will wake up and find myself wandering an entire new space, new obstacles, asteroid fields and the irresistible pull of gravity from all directions until I reach that new horizon, that new planet of which, in the third phase, I will crash land on. But for now, I am still a sailor.

So, as I said a second ago, I still have nothing to show on this project. The reality of it is that I have nothing I am willing to show yet. In February I played a few rough mixes of a couple tracks for my dad. Up until then, nobody outside of two or three others had heard nary a thing I had produced. This was actually a pretty nerve wracking thing for me. For one, I don’t always like to show things to my family first, because the good and bad thing about that is that they will always be positive about it– especially a loving parent. I don’t always need that positivity, so I usually let myself wrestle with it on my own and get beat up for a while, then when I need that boost, I go to what I can count on. Secondly, as I covered in my first entry, my dad is a musician and I have never not known him to be anything else or less (those two words can spell each other), and as far as musicianship goes, I don’t feel like I hold a candle in any regard (though I also hold the opinion that I am better than him in every way when we interact with each other). As we all know, I’m newer to this in comparison to my other creative pursuits, but I guess I am not ‘green’ new thanks to my upbringing and guitar playing. Then there are a few other miscellaneous aspects, for instance, I have to do a lot of singing on this project. I don’t nor ever have considered myself a good singer. My dad and sister sing, and kind of as a result, I never have. I wouldn’t say I’m bad, but it isn’t one of those natural things for me (I’ve been working a lot on it in the past half year), so it is something I am not always comfortable with, merely because most people don’t know that I ever do. Funny, because every time I let someone new hear a track they never realize it is me singing. Basically, there were a lot more reasons why this was kind of nerve wracking, but it was done and he liked it.

Beyond that, he didn’t really hear anything more than that one time, so the other day I actually let him and my mom (who hadn’t been exposed at all) at some stuff– a mix of old and more recent stuff. The reception and what not is irrelevant, the point is that if I am feeling comfortable enough to do this, then I am almost comfortable enough to offer a true look at this project, and not just words. So here is my guarantee:

My next entry on this project will feature at least a few snippets of some of the tracks for my pseudo fictitious hip hop duo– of course, I may even put some stuff up on their soundcloud before then… so…. We will just see how it goes. I have to just finish tying a few knots on a lot of things, arrangements, mixing, some writing, recording here and there (this excludes the songs I’ve recently started on, but there are also good odds I finish a lot of those first because my process is better and my abilities are more refined).

 

There you have it. I’m pretty much going to leave it at this for now. Not much insight, or expounding on anything, just more of thing where I place a milestone in the ground for my own purposes.

Final thing I will say is that it is a total bitch (honestly the only substitute I can think of to replace this word is about 2 paragraphs long– I’m lazy) to come up with all this stage and group name nonsense. You’d think for a fake persona and group it’d be easy because it shouldn’t much matter, but there are so many external forces that it has to align with.

Be proud of me, I kept this under 1500 words.

Until next time folks,

Jack Wizzy

Rapumentary Vol. 1 – The History and Birth of a Mockumentary

Here it is, me finally blogging about the current project I’m working on. I’m gonna try to kinda keep this series organized. I also kinda gave headings for the various parts of this, in case, say, you didn’t want to bother with the preface or parts of whatever (e.g. preface is irrelevant to what I’m actually up to)

CONTENTS:

PREFACE

WHAT I’M UP TO

Historical Context

The Beginning

VOLUME 2

 

PREFACE

I went through a phase where I debated if I wanted to discuss the current creative project I’ve been working on, or if I just wanted to work on it and whenever pieces of it start to surface, it would be what it was. For whatever reason, I tend to hold my pet projects very close to my chest. For instance, the mini-series I’ve been developing for the past year is something that I don’t even really discuss with any other member of the crew. I have so many ideas for that thing, from characters to visual techniques and so on, I guess a part of me is paranoid if I blab too much that pieces of my precious baby will be transplanted into other unrelated projects/crew videos, where as this is something I have a really strong vision for and don’t want anything diluted. This mentality is pretty ordinary though, people in similar spheres often poke fun at photographers and how paranoid they are with their endless watermarks and other methods of ‘protecting’ their IP and work. I will say one thing, ideas are everything to me, and I just like the whole potential shock factor– as in, when something finally gets produced, hopefully someone (who likely knows me) sees it and will think, “wow he did this?,” and hell, maybe that is coupled with a negative connotation instead of positive, but at least I surprised someone. It is that whole self-expression thing. I don’t feel like anyone really knows me until they see these grand schemes that are extensions of myself that also explore the realms of art and creative energy.

Anyway, back to the point: I realized a few things. In summation, I was being foolish. For one, this isn’t one of those “idea is everything” kind of projects. It relies more on execution than the idea, just ask Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix. Secondly, and I’m surprised how long it took me to realize this, I can talk about any project I might be working on in a vague enough manner to not compromise any details that might need to be protected– if that were ever something to worry about. I already have an tendency to be over ambiguous as it is. Finally, I am pretty sure that most people who ever read this are people who have actually mentioned reading it or discussed my blog with me before, these are people who likely have heard me talk about these projects in some way already, or I wouldn’t mind talking early details with and so on. On top of that point, anyone who I don’t know of reading this, it isn’t like I care because I’m not giving away the secrets to immortality or anything anyway. I guess the main point is that my audience is really small, so if you’re cool enough to be in that audience, then you deserve that extra insight and exposure to what I’m working on.. not like that’s a great life bonus or anything (but it is good resume material). I’ll also go ahead and say that if you do read these entries and I don’t know you do, you’re more than welcome to mention it to me, even if I don’t know you well. Because that makes you cool to me (ego fertilizer), and gets you up on my employee of the month wall. OK..

 

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO

Historical Context

Let’s start it like this, I am now one half of what can only be referred to as a ‘pseudo fictitious hip hop duo’.

I feel like, from a surface view, this is one of the most unlikely things I could end up saying about myself, but I must reinforce that my idea of exterior perception is often pretty off, so who knows.

This project is much more than that, though I was recommended to introduce my project like this by a friend, and I agreed with that suggestion. It’s like the triple threat/attack in basketball, I can pass, shoot, or dribble from that point– take it any direction. Let’s take it back to the beginning.

This project has roots that begin in high school. Years blur into each other at a certain point, but I’m thinking it was junior or senior year, so 2005-2006. We, the swb crew, had a really simple idea of taking Ryan Baker (our resident rap encyclopedia and tall guy) and making him spend a week or two pretending he was trying to become a rapper. The two main ideas that led to this general idea were the though of having him go to an open mic night somewhere acting like your average suburban, middle class caucasian’s idea of a rapper/wigger/gangsta blablah, looking and acting the part and then trying to rap. Of course, the furhter away this open mic or writer’s night was from that genre of music and subculture, the better. Secondly, we wanted to put him somewhere, like perhaps on the streets of downtown Nashville with the whole donation hat or whatever and him try to freestyle to people walking back and so on. Basically, just another ruse that we thought up to make Ryan make a fool of himself and film for our own enjoyment.

It was a great idea for us at the time. Little planning needed, fewer resources, quick and easy to shoot and also gave Ryan a role, which was always important because he would come around pretty rarely, so it was always important to use as much of the limited mileage as possible. Of course, this project was never to be, just like dozens to hundred of others. I think Ryan’s availability was the main thing, plus we probably were mostly all talk on it.

A few years of dormancy passes until opportunity springs out of the earth, much akin to the moment that Jed Clampett misfired at some game and oil came gushing out. Except this oil geyser was carrying the precious gold statuette of Ryan Baker, the rap artist. Double jackpot. Around this past April, Ryan told me he was going to be in Fairview, or at least Middle Tennessee for the entire summer. Working off of a few assumptions, I knew that the people in the crew with the most availability would be solely me and him. Basically, my schedule was wide open, his would be wide open, all the other guys would be in and out. It was obvious. All my other projects I had been working on were so far down the pipeline. So I pitched revisiting the idea to him, he was down, though I’d also guarantee he didn’t take me seriously, or believe I was going to take it seriously.

The format was supposed to be weekly to bi-weekly web episodes, with the goal of being able to compile them into somewhere in the vicinity of a feature length mockumentary. In my head, it was the perfect solution. I saw this as having the same commitment level of the original idea. Something that doesn’t take much forethought, or work to execute and push out. We’d be able to rely on always having something to work on each week, while having room to do other swb crew projects, and then I started working on the thing…

 

The Beginning

School got out for me and Ryan said he wouldn’t be out of Knoxville til June. This was a bit of a disappointment because his initial declaration made it sound like he’d be around sooner, but on the other hand, I had the green light from the girlfriend who was excited to see me actually working on something after 1-2 years of nothing, no job or school clouding my time, a new computer that I had dedicated to video and music production to keep me away from gaming too much, and so on. Basically, I was set to launch, so I decided to do some test flights and work on some of the music end. Since we wanted to do everything in house, I was taking on the burden of pretty much every aspect of musical production. From songwriting, producing, even singing and rapping. Of course, I didn’t have plans on actually being on any of our main character’s tracks, but rather just recording scratch vocals so Ryan could get an idea of what I was thinking for any given song and beat. Problem was, he ended up liking what would eventually become my parts. This led to the birth of another character in our mockumentary and eventually to the evolution of one man with a dream to two men in a group with a dream.

That summer had many plan changes, for instance, Ryan was only around a tiny fraction of the time he said he was going to be… then he moved to California. Your lead man being that unavailable is pretty gamebreaking. That, I think, has been more of a good thing than a bad thing though, because the entire time I’ve been able to focus on the music aspect of the entire project.

I’d consider this at least a three tiered project. Music, performance and film. The music has to come first, we want the music to actually be good. We have to build the idea of legitimacy even if the characters and personas are ficitious. Of course, the music sometimes is coupled with these characters, so things like subject matter and what not are not as immune as the music, but I want to get into this later. Then once the musical foundation is established, build off of it and get into the performance and filming aspect, which are tightly coupled, but not quite joined at the hip with each other.

All things of the filming part fit in well with my experience, but the other two are only in the periphery of my background. Music production is time intensive as it is, I’d say more so than anything performance based. For instance, I can write a song, and to get a demo out of it will take exponentially longer than if I wanted to go grab a guitar and play it at a writer’s night. So like I said, it’s been good how things have worked out so far, because I’ve really devoted enough time and energy into the music for this pseudo fictitious hip hop duo to crush an anvil. There are other elements, such as writing and idea and character development that are brought along at all stages, but this is how I divide it up, and this is the stage that project is currently under.

So we arrive now at one of those retrospect moments. In retrospect, I had no idea what I was getting myself into at the time. It’s kind of funny that I expected to be able to one-off on these songs and get them out quick, but then again, at the time we were expecting to merely make stuff that was passable for the character. The problem is, if I get started doing something, there is only one way for me to do it: do it right.

 

Volume 2 – My Odyssey into Music Production

Lessons I’ve Learned From Disney

I am going to try to stay mentally engaged by writing a little bit so I can stay awake and carry on with the rest of my plans for today without sleeping through everything. It should be a simple enough setup for a moderate disaster, now just to wing it from here.

So I had a micro thought– like forty-five seconds ago, I was thinking to myself about Johnny Tsunami of Disney Channel fame. That movie came out in 1999. I was 12 or 13 years old at the time, and man, I loved that movie, much as I loved just about any Disney Channel Original movie that they grinded out, except that one, Double Teamed. That movie simply offended me on every level; as an athlete/basketball player, as someone who bases half of his moral philosophy on all of Federico Fellini’s work from 1950 – 1969, and mostly as a young man who had always dreamed of one day being able to reincarnate as a pair of twin sisters– one soul, two bodies– that became a highly unappealing dream after that movie, plus I don’t even believe in reincarnation anyway, so I had to move on.

Getting back to Johnny Tsunami, in 2007, the Disney Channel released Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board. For whatever reason, maybe even God’s calling, I just so happened to have the TV on and on the Disney Channel the very night and minute it premiered. Given how much TV I watch on the actual television these days, just having the set on was a major miracle. I was 20 years old. Given the rarity of such a cosmic alignment and coincidences, I had no choice; I watched the sequel.

Now let’s make one thing clear here, I don’t believe there is any type of sanctity protecting any TV movie franchise, especially not Johnny Tsunami (now Smart House, Luck of the Irish, or any one of the other ones that starred a young Ryan Merriman, well we can at least discuss their possibly sanctity), but I can’t ignore a few things. For one, I have a childhood memory of liking a Disney Channel Origianl Movie (I guess I might go ahead and start abbreviating it DCOM) about a kid, who was my age, who is a surfer, which was cool, and he had a grandfather, who was also a monster surfer, which was cool, who moves to Vermont and becomes a snowboarder, which was cool, and obvious, since surfing 20 ft. waves on a board is practically the same thing as surfing a 10,000 ft mountain; cool. Of course, much in the vein snow and mountains, this all avalanched into a snowball effect of coolness, he gets an attractive girl (well, she was attractive because Disney casted her in the role of the attractive girl that the protagonist gets, at least), he sticks it to the man (his dad) and ultimately makes some punk preppy pricks (like my dear pal, POOP aka Corey Griggs, because all Vermontians fit this stereotype) look like absolute CLOWNS; not of the Bozo or Krusty class even, but more of a Bello Nock level, and he isn’t even actually a clown, by standard definition, just a guy who’s always filled a clown’s shoes. Escalating levels of coolness for my vulnerable 13 year year old mind. So clearly, not holy in any regard, but still has a small stamp on that section of my heart reserved for things classified dear.

Finally beginning to put frayed threads of thought together, as soon as I got hit with this memory of Johnny Tsunami and his conquering of the Pacific Ocean, Vermont and what I assumed following the movie, the world, I was subjected to the awful reality of Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board– Johnny didn’t conquer the world, in fact, he wasn’t even cooler than me anymore (though when I was 20-21, I was probably at my peak coolness, probably guy with 3d glasses for a 2d movie level of cool, not bad, but not my goal of Pointdexter ranking from Toejam & Earl). It was almost as demoralizing as when you saw Benny ‘the Jet” Rodriguez in his Dodger’s years and just knew, albeit at a much later point in life than initial viewing, that some Hollywood prick was just playing games with you, because there is NO WAY The Jet would ever rep the mustache, especially not at that point in his pro career. Granted, The Sandlot is a movie that is anointed into the ranks of movie sainthood, so you learn to look past stuff like that, and the faith-shattering TWO sequels that they have released this decade, but here is the bottom-line: this sequel took a piece of my childhood, and discredited it.  And what are the implications of discredit? Well consider this, when I so happen to re-watch one of these pieces of my childhood, which while not happening often happens enough to matter, the only thing that keeps such a piece of entertainment protected from the razor sharp eye of criticism and willingness to make merciless incisions upon the material, with the same willingness and enjoyment as the stereotypical case of the plastic surgeon gone bad, is the fact that I do have this fond perception of it that stayed with me from my youth. Johnny Kapahala represented the American dream of coolness, as did Andy ‘Brink’ Brinker, and countless others who were created for that exact purpose. It is an antique curtain, of highly flammable material; Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board was a mere spark which exposed me to the harsh light and poisonous radiation of reality. Bummer.

So here we are, with a multitude of decently threaded ideas, time to finally try and braid it all into a solid rope. When you’re younger, you and your parents have this concept of anything that is made in the name of Walter Disney being both good (if not timeless) entertainment, while instilling valuable life lessons that uplift and educate fellow kids on the good in the world. When you get older, if you’re lucky and don’t become a parent too young, you learn that most things created in the name of Walter Disney is good capitalism and the greater picture gives us a clear image of yet another vandal in a land where nearly the entire population has caught the virus of vagrancy.

So what are some things I have really learned from Disney? Well look at some of the lessons they apparently learned from their long journey through the 20th century to the 21st; from a wonderland so brilliantly crafted by the prestigious minds of the Imagineers, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, to Beauty and the Beast, to the troubled history of The Land Before Time— all thirteen of them; from monochrome Davy Crockett to autotuned Hannah Montana– nothing is safe or precious if it can make you a buck or two and there’s no such thing as sloppy seconds.

Now, I’m not a historian, nor have I been alive long enough to really know, so without research I’m only making an educated guess relative to my knowledge of the timeline, but it seems like Disney spent much of the 80’s taking notes. For instance, I consider this the true rise to prominence of the sequel, you know, the one with the colon after the title followed by some obvious caption that must have been written by some hive mind intern. Now, you might convince me that the 70’s or 60’s or even 1820’s are the real decade responsible here, and you could make a good case for the 90’s, as that was likely the highest output of this class of sequel, but as it stands, I am certain it was the 1980’s. The output may not have been the highest, but it was like when the guys in suits had the big apple fall from the top of one of their sky scrapers and crush them, leaving their then brain-damaged heads with the realization that there was easy money to be made, thus paved the way for another gold road. It is already hard enough to make a decent movie, and I think there is a certain responsibility that any filmmaker who really loves what they do should have to at least try to have some kind of balance between entertainment and art. Obviously, with most things the best balance needs to favor entertainment, but the point is that there needs to be some art to it too. Without the art you have no heart, too much and you’re likely self-aggrandizing to the point of no return; balance. This ‘invention’ of the corporate sequel takes both of these key ingredients out.

What are we left with? Soulless celluloid, alive but not living. It eeks onto our screens and into our minds and hearts, as if it were exclaiming, “feed me!” Our children and parents of all ages are feasted upon by the living dead until their soul too, is devoured and a thirst for anything more than over-processed, synthetic marketing campaigns of arts and entertainment abandons us and never returns.

So did I really just assert what it seems I just did? You bet. I’ve learned the Disney is ultimately responsible for sucking the souls out of the populace, likely holding them captive in briefcases, which they use to store and refrigerate until they finally sell them to the devil, at a great profit. Furthermore single-handedly maintaining the world’s largest prostitution ring running, whoring out every one of the creations and machinations until we get the message; it is ok to be whores, Disney gives us the green light! Personally, I’ve felt less ripped off by Nigerian princes. Back in the day people used to get cool stuff for selling their souls to the devil, like guitar chops.

I will end this with a message of hope though– Disney hasn’t quite caught on to the’ reboot’ sensation of the 2000’s, yet. There have been a few signs of life here and there, but I guess when the new Tron finally drops, we will know how well they have been taking notes. Personally, I’d rather have the sequels.

closets full of ideas

The other day I was looking through all of my posts on wordpress– drafts, stuff I published and what not– and it turns out that I actually have been writing pretty regularly. I probably have 15 or so entries that were either finished, or more than 70% written and I’ve just never published them.

I’m not really sure why, but I am currently thinking that a lot of it has to do with a slight deviation between speaker and writer/author. I’ve been writing a lot of stuff, which despite a lot of it being heavily wedged between the roots of my life, also has a lot interwoven of which is from someone else’s life; partial fiction, partial reality. In line with this thought, I’d imagine it is just too much trouble to be actually publicly displaying smudged writings. Maybe I’ll change my mind on this, or realize I am wrong about my theory entirely, but for now none of that will change.

The more interesting portion of all this is that is the reason; why am I writing these cross entries that represent a very out of focus picture of my life. I could come up with answers for days, and that signifies the multiplicity of pretty much everything. I’m not interested in completely breaking down something that won’t get more than 60 minutes of thought in the next 6 months, but I would like to at least get something out of the hour or so of thought that will be spent.

Call this the optimist within me– yes, yes, he is in there hiding somewhere, much akin to a political minority on the same scale as the independent party candidate in the U.S. Presidential election– but I think the first thing to note is that it is a corporeal representation of the fact that I have ideas. Substantial proof that I have a lot of ideas going through my mind these days. I wouldn’t consider everything a bleeding of ideas though. My thoughts aren’t just hemorrhaging and seeping into every other thought around them, but I think it is a subconscious representation of many things. For one, I’m not trying to write fiction, but I have a few entries that border on the line of being short stories; straight up. I don’t want to be writing short stories though, I mean, when I sit down and write the stuff I have zero intention of writing a short story, or any such work of written fiction. I’m just writing. I just get ideas and I want them down in words, whether highly abstracted and more stream of conscious, or something that resembles a narrative format. Of course, when I think about it consciously, it seems apparent that I just don’t want to risk the misconception.

On that angle, maybe I’ll get over it and just put the stuff up for the heck of it, I know my intentions after all, and nobody can convince me I did something I didn’t. In fact, having this internal dialogue with myself on it, I probably have given myself enough of a ‘screw it, I have ideas, I’m writing them however I want and posting them, so screw all of you’ attitude to probably starting excessively posting these idea based things. I need to be able to steal from myself in the future anyway.

Bobbing back into my subconscious, I think I can also say that a lot of it helps cover up thoughts and feelings that hit me from time to time. You know those alien thoughts and feelings that come into your mental orbit and briefly streak across the sky of your consciousness and don’t return for years? Those kind of thoughts and feelings– often dark, or conflicting, maybe troubling, foreign, or something straight out of the mind of that evil twin you have running around somewhere.

From there, I don’t really have any take on it though. Am I trying to not vilify myself? Am I trying to maintain a conceptualization of myself that is antiquated? Maybe I’m just trying to spare everyone else of having to deal with the kind of thoughts and emotions that we likely have to battle with from time to time. I don’t have any clue, but I will say that as a best friend of mine once noted when talking about his creative process (and I very very loosely paraphrase– so loosely I’m not even close to paraphrasing), “By letting myself work through the darker side of my thoughts and myself, I am able to work out ideas I have into more balanced end results, or that can better show the good out there.” Heck, I really just paraphrased a lot of myself, but rather think that he said something that pretty much was exactly inline with my own views on such things.

In the end, this all falls in the line with the well-known fact that being associated with us creative types (especially the writers for some reason) is an association that is apt to go through many moments that you won’t find in typical means. From saying one foolish sentence which can inspire thousands and thousands of words, to what can seem like a self-expose (imagine there is an accent over that e) of an insane, depraved person. Regardless, I have a closet of ideas collecting dust, so soon I’ll either do some spring cleaning or just move that crap up to the attic for 25 years.

A Filmmaking Pull

Foreword:

I started writing this 2-3 months back, got a few paragraphs in, and forgot to finish writing it.. until now! I tried to reconcile my thought processes at the time, though I still kind of know where I was going, just not how I was getting there. In conclusion, I Frankenteined this thing, and so despite it coming out a bit like a Picasso painting, I think what I was trying to say is in there, and how I wanted to say it shows up in small portions.

Ever since I was about 13 or 14 years old, I have actively been partaking in all types of video production (along with other media production). I think if you’re a young kid with a creatively oriented mind, there is no better hobby or passion to have, really. I also think that if you’re a shy kid, then the worth of it is even greater. I know I was provided a lot of opportunities to really be closer to myself through making short movies when I was younger, as opposed to the gravity that we all feel to resemble the singularity mind that is formed through a blend of our culture and society, the media, our communities and the collective minds of people our age. I could go on and on, sounding like a local actor reading a customer testimonial for how some small business product changed my life, but that isn’t what I’m here to achieve. The point is, it has had a big impact on my life, and I’d consider myself someone who has been involved with forms of media production for about half of my life.

Given this path of enthusiasm my life has taken, I ultimately have tossed around the idea of using this passion and hobby and trying to monetize it or make a career out of it in some form. I know when I graduated high school I pretty much wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to keep it as a hobby, something that I do for fun with some of my friends and that’s pretty much it. When I set on my Entrepreneurship major, it once again came into the picture as a key factor. One of the things I realized was I don’t really want to work. I surely don’t want to work some normal kind of job. It always bothered me in high school how everyone was so submissive and accepting of the norm of working– and because they are of high school age, working the crappiest possible jobs out there. It was just something you did when you came of age.I guess that there is a good point just from a financial perspective, especially if (attempting to finish this half-finished sentence 2 months after I started writing this….) your draw in life pretty much requires it. I am fortunate enough to have gotten by without the necessity of such a thing. My point here, which is actually quite deviated from what I am ultimately going to write about, is that I am not into the status quo. It is too easy to get lost in the current if everyone is headed that way, anyway.

More to the point, I have tossed and turned, flipped and flopped, bounced and backed on my opinion of film/video production, though it ultimately has a strong linear progression; fun/hobby, career and future, creativity and possibly art (don’t like to use the word). Here is the thing with it all, I’ve been involved with this for so long, I’ve probably been involve with the creation of over 200-300 works, many very small and short, of course, but it has been a long time. Despite this, nothing I have helped produce has fully represented the creative being that is shelled up in this cage of flesh and bones. There are hints and signs of it there, but it is always very diluted.

I’ve spent the past 2 years rather inactive with all of my creative pursuits; music, writing, video production, and so on. I’ve spent stacks of time these past 2 years inhaling, without any exhalation. I intake as much information as I can. Much of it is useless and rarely does any of it appear to coherently connect to anything else I’ve ‘researched’ (as I call it). For instance, I’ll spend several hours a day sometimes just reading and analyzing arguments held over various websites– interesting thing to note, most of the time the people arguing aren’t disagreeing by the time the argument is halfway through, despite the fervor of the dispute continually rising. There is no structure to this great engulfing of data, I just drift around the cyberverse and observe for a while, until I find myself prodding and poking around with a stick, until next thing I know I’ve got the microscope out, not taking off the lab coat, goggles and gloves until I can break down the professional Starcraft (a computer game released in the late 1990’s) scene in South Korea, or the entire life cycle of the Juice Boosted free internet scam from the early 2000’s, all the intricacies included. When you can’t sleep, anything can be engrossing. Three to eight in the morning flies by, too.

One of the last stops I encountered on this journey of immersion was the viewing of my first Stanley Kubrick film. Kind of weird that I had gone so long with never seeing any of his works, especially considering the film ties and what not. Making things brief, the intake on this end still hasn’t ended, and more importantly, it has really shaped– reformed my ambitions. Beforehand, I knew that I couldn’t go too much longer ballooning up like this. I needed to get back to a state of output. Things were lining up for this to start happening, and I had plans, and several ideas in their fetal stages. I guess I just wanted to make some stuff, more than anything though. The difference now, is that I really want to get my vision out there. So often you’ll hear that phrase tossed around, like the director’s vision, or artistic vision and so on. In many other art forms, the creator’s vision is very clear due to the sole proprietorship of many creative outlets. In video production, film, TV and similar formats, it is really hard to produce something that is really what is stirring within yourself. I recently watched some Quentin Tarantino interviews, and he really made a good point about the difference between director’s and director’s who also write the movie’s they direct. Not to get into too much of the point he was making, it really is about the only real way that, in my opinion, someone can produce a film or short and have it be really, truly, closely connected to one’s vision for the project.

So that is what had dawned on me. I really want to get my creative vision out there– if for noting else, then to just truly witness what that is outside of my own thoughts and feelings. I am pretty sure anyone who is familiar with the production work I’ve been involved in and the swb crew has this clear cut idea over the kind of stuff ‘we’ do… but nobody really knows what stirs in my head. It is very, very different. As I alluded to earlier, I want to honestly create, I wouldn’t say I want to make art, but just make a truthful effort to pool together all of the creative energy I may or may not actually have and make an honest effort. I’d call it a pull towards actual filmmaking. I’ve always loved doing the silly stuff we do, and I also really love the improv elements we often rely on, but it isn’t what I truly want to be doing right now. Not that I want to abandon that, and there is always time for that, it likely will never cease, but I am going to be driven by a much higher calling, in the creative sense.

When you look at most ‘filmmakers’ or video producers and production companies, how many of them are just hired guns? I guess it is just the offspring of industry and art, but the idea of being someone who is just a hired gun, just hired for my technical abilities (and technical abilities even bleeds into the creative front, that is why we can be approached by someone for an actual job, like say a commercial and easily meet the creative needs, technically, because the writing and ideas behind everything are so standardized). Maybe I’ll lighten up on this a bit in time, but I’d rather be doing custodial work at a fast food joint than just a hired gun, as I call it. So what else do I call it? I want to get into filmmaking. I have no other way to put it. I’m not saying I want to do this as a career or anything like that, don’t confuse me there, I just want to be actively pursuing it, even if it is just on the side.

I always appreciate guys like Harmony Korine, who just do nothing aside from pursuing what they are inspired to do. I don’t know if I watched Gummo or Trash Humpers if I’d like them, or really be able to relate to them well, but the guy is making stuff that is unique to him– we always see his creative vision. Furthermore, and this really would get me back to Kubrick, there is the potential to transcend beyond just that. Of course with Kubrick, he had this absolutely unique ability to weave together these mind blowingly complex and beautiful machinations and often obscure so many layers of his creative vision under surface narratives that had a pretty high level of accessibility, in terms of audience. This goes way beyond an intense 2 year period of absorption, this is 23 years of creative vision that hasn’t been truly witnessed. That is something I just need to see with my own eyes. No other medium comes as close to allowing someone to fully unveil what is inside a person.

All these years of making things that would probably be referred to as funny, or attempted humor, and in all honesty, I’m not much of a humorist. I’ve got a few months of notes slowly piling up, and I hope that when those notes are in their complete form it turns out better than this, which I finished over the course of a few months, jaja. From April 20th, to June 21st, 5 am and my brain is out of juice. Good night