Monday, April 18, 2005

Still Uncertain... Still Meandering...

Continuing the thought from the other day, there are various ways for us to make us worthy to ourselves... as a filmmaker I could measure my success by the number of people I get to see my work, and by how many people tell me they like it... but what I am thinking is that I would rather have an audience of 10 people and an hour later or a week later hear them involved genuine conversation, than have a full theater and hear them telling me how much they liked it. Don't tell me you liked it, let me hear in your words that you liked it without saying anything so directly... that really is a dream for me. I think earlier somewhere in this blog joint I said I would love a standing ovation, but now I think what I am saying is that I don't need that. I want to not rely on the immediate responses of humans, because I often find immediate response to be contrived based on our expectations of the situations, and group dynamics, i.e. everyone else is applauding, time for me to stand up and applaud...

I am absolutely committed to the idea that I am the ultimate judge of the "success" or "worth" of my life... and I do not wish to base those feelings on the number of tickets I sell, or any other figures, or third party reviews, I just want to base them on the feedback I get from the people I meet. That's it...

for now.

As I write these things I begin to fear that I am preemptively making excuses for failure. That I really want that definition of success that everybody agrees with, in other words, that I want everyone to agree that I am successful. Then of course, I am in the clear, because if EVERYBODY agrees I am successful, then how can I question myself and my own worth?

Well, maybe I am... but I also think that historically speaking some of the artists who have influenced me the most were never numerically successful in their own time. The market never rewarded them in their own time, only the the tastes and desires of audiences over the passage of time. I mean really market success seems like a distraction to me. So without that, I seem to be able to only rely on my own definitions of success. That is why I think I am spending time on this now, because I am trying to shape my own definition before I get too far into it, and I've got a hundred people telling me that I should follow them to success. Because I want to succeed. But if I am committed to this approach, maybe I will fail to make a film that carries a million people in its first weekend. So then the real question is do I want to make one of those? I mean everyone thinks they can do a better job than who ever's doing it now. Me too. "I can really make a great Hollywood film that will pack the aisles and not cater to the lowest common denominator for audience approval. " Thats what I tell myself in a secret place maybe... ok, so I'll do it. I agree. I'll sign the contract. Give it a shot and see if it eats my life. That's the only way to know. Right?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Oh, and as a sidenote... as I cut together these scenes for a separate documentary project.

There has to be someway to show these individuals stuttering over their words, and still show their humanity. As a matter of fact that is the only way to go. I hate to think about a world where only the best parts of ourselves are represented on film and video. Because, in that world, films will always only be a half-truth, and if I am going to settle for a life dedicated to a half-truths, I might as well do porn.

Ahem... excuse my crassness. It would be tasteful of course... more like art...

Monday, April 11, 2005

An Uncertain Theory

After a conversation with one Craig Brewer I have gotten a hold of a little baby birdie of an idea. This could be ugly... it's like I'm trying to keep it from drifting away. Basically, there's lots of great shit out there. Lots of great movies, documentaries, finished, unfinished, etc... there's lots of great songs, paintings, books, poems, etc. There are also lots of great people doing these things right now, making films, writing poems, and I understand now... media is just a way to get to know yourself. The real point of media is not to change the world. It is a tool to better understand yourself, and if you can acheive a high level of understanding with yourself then you will, in my hypothetical world, make great media. Ernest Hemingway and my great-great grandfather may be no different. Celebrity is a bitch anyway. I am just throwing out thoughts now. This is not pre-packaged. It is just a transition in my head. The films I make, I want to teach me something about myself. If they do not, I should not be making them. They should also reflect my personality, my hopes and dreams. Oh, perhaps this is beginning to sound a little self-absorbed, and perhaps I should take the attitude that media is here to bring humans together, but I'm not sure I believe that. I believe it is here to be used by the greatest number of people to their own greatest benefit and that society and audiences will pick the ones they need. We can get rid of the notion of a single history. There is no single history. There are multiple histories for communities and individuals. The history of the Memphis filmmaking community I will tell will always include Blue Citrus Hearts as much as the Hustle & Flows, the Right Questions as much as the 40 Shades of Blue, the Media Co-ops as much as the Film Commissions. There are so many audiences out there, who cares who's is the biggest? Would you rather have a big audience, or a small audience that loves you and treasures you and your work? Like I said, celebrity is a bitch. Keep your doses small.

Oh, and can anyone tell me how to post pictures to this site? I know that's why this blog hasn't hit it big yet. There are no pictures. Man, I'm gonna put some hot pictures up and EVERYBODY AND THEIR MAMA is going to be checking out this blog. Mmmmhhmmmm.... can't wait....

(oh and what about the middle of may for a screening date? what do you think?)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Oh, what trip you may ask? I forgot to give details.

http://facing.org/facing/fhao2.nsf/regional/memphis?opendocument

Click on the more selection below the photograph of all those kids standing in front of the bus.
Update. Over 90 minutes of rough cut lay on the master timeline. Another 40-50 to go? It is difficult to resist the temptation to begin moving scenes around and working with the structure of the whole film, but there are still 10 to 11 scenes without anything resembling a rough cut. I am in a good place with it. I know I am going to have to put it on hold for a couple of weeks, because coming up I have to refocus my attention on another project which has a hard deadline of the 18th and puts money in my pocket instead of taking it out.

So, April 18th, a mini-doc at the Ridgeway High School Auditorium, free and open to the public. Pop in if you wish. 7-9pm. It was an amazing trip. I swear I think I learned more in those 6 days than I've learned in the last 5 years. The secret is, it may be one of THOSE events, you know, the kind that change your life, in, like a big way. You know the kind they put in your 500 page biography. The kind that make it into the movie, when your 500 pages are cut down to 90 script pages, resulting in a couple of moments on a screen, big or small. It may be. We'll wait and see huh?