For the first time in nearly fifteen years*, I’ve directed a movie.
Why so long between filmed projects?
I tried for a couple of years after Really Good Man to put together other projects, but they never came together. My inability to be in the correct headspace to follow through is the only real reason I can come up with to explain these project’s inability to get off the ground. Eventually, I became content with never shooting another frame again. The gap between available resources and my own minimum expectations for my work always seemed too wide. With novels, I could send Orson Welles to the red planet and back, but with film I could barely get Tulsa’s one-and-only superhero across the street without taking on an Ahab-like air of obsession.
Still, I had always said that, after RGM, I just didn’t have an idea for a movie that I could reasonably produce for almost no money.
That’s probably mostly true. I never did have a produceable idea, until I recently had the opportunity and means to make an educational filmstrip, but with just enough James Whale (or Carl Laemmle, depending on your level of attachment to the auteur theory) to make things interesting.
After writing eight pages of script, coordinating two half-days of shooting, and buying a post production facility/paper weight/Macbook, I’m once again the proud papa of just under a reel’s worth of pretty good** footage.
And here’s the thing: it was comforting to be back at the helm again, perhaps insidiously so. Between finally exercising again those parts of my brain that can plan out just how much coverage I need to shoot in order not to give me a headache in editing, to the simple act of making costuming decisions*** made me feel like I was once again putting every groove and synapse of my brain to good use.
Multimedia projects might be too much trouble and not enough payoff, but when it works, it is sweet. After the two days of shooting, I slept like the dead. I had felt as if I had exhausted every ounce of usefulness out of the day, and my body couldn’t argue.
Filmmaking may not be a drug, but I have a feeling I’m off the wagon regardless. I want back in, and I don’t intend to let a decade and a half pass before I get back behind the camera.
Now I only need to figure out how to get that done… Maybe I need to do a reverse Orson Welles****. Start with movies, and THEN move on to radio. Yep. That might just be the ticket. More on that later.
In the meantime, please take a look at the fruits of our labor. The film is intended as an introduction for potential new members to our writing critique group, Nevermore Edits. If you take that caveat into consideration, the video is pretty entertaining. I hope you enjoy it.
*Longtime visitors to the site will remember The Adventures of Really Good Man, but if you haven’t taken a look at it, find all four parts of the tenth-anniversary edition here. I’m pretty proud of it, all things considered. For those of us who were involved with the movie, it’s a pretty cherished memory of our high school years. I’m probably more proud of that quality than anything else.
**Or Really Good. See? I can make the jokes, too.
***All right… When you see the video, you’re going to realize that “costuming decisions” basically consisted of choosing a wide array of hats. Sue me. I wanted every character to have a distinct silhouette.
****Which, incidentally, was my nickname in high school.