We put too great a premium on childhood. Nostalgia is a killer and we are awash in it in the modern media landscape. It is impossible to know if this is only a recent phenomena or something that adults throughout history experience when they reach a certain age.
Let me let you in on a little secret: we are not ready. My generation is comprised of entitled brats and illiterates, trend followers and frightened children. We are going to drive this thing into the ground, this media thing. This is due to the fact that our generation’s entertainment was so overwhelming, so ubiquitous in our childhood, from video games to cartoons to the live-action versions of the commercials for the toys or video games, that we were doomed to an infantilized adulthood. Get them young and you have them forever.
Our parents’ entertainments were made by people who had lived a life apart from media indoctrination. They loved Howdy Doody and The Beatles and John Wayne, sure, but it was just apart of an overall experience of being outside, running around, getting into trouble. Kids today are fat. They weren’t when my parents were young, more so they were rare. I’m not making fun or pointing fingers or attempting to make you uncomfortable so don’t worry.
And that’s another thing, we’re too sensitive.
So what am I bitching about exactly? Movies, of course. That’s what I always bitch about but I bitch because I love. You know that when you read an article on line and the author expresses some negative or judgmental attitude towards a film or TV show they are just letting you in to how they judge themselves, right? What they dislike about themselves and how its reflected to them in the media.
So my current dissatisfaction with the state of movies (we should rename movies re-movies since we’re so afraid of making something new) comes from my dissatisfaction with myself.
I’m always thinking about the features I’m going to make, sometimes they are happy thoughts, sometimes not. There is a dissatisfaction with yourself that emerges when you consider, not actively are writing or making something, but when you just think about the ideas you have that can be crippling. You spend a few minutes each day making the movie in your head then judge it as unworthy. This is not how you get things done. The question that repeats is: is this my voice? What is my voice? Is this authentic? What story do I want to tell?
I’ve already decided to ignore the judgments I’ve made against my as of yet not made movies so that I can actually make them. When I make short films I go through a similar thing but it’s much shorter so not as bad. When you are actively engaged in making something you usually surprise yourself with happy accidents or just a thought like, “Oh, that wasn’t a bad idea after all.” But you’re never sure, you can’t accurately judge what you’ve done because you can’t separate yourself from the thing. Maybe there is an afterlife and maybe that’s when you can watch the movies you’ve made as a pure viewer. That’s my idea of heaven.
So I’m left with a question of why make movies and I have to admit I do not know. It’s not exactly compulsory but it is, it’s not something wholly premeditated nor wholly controlled by intuition. I’m not entirely sure what stories I’m going to tell yet but I’m going to keep at it and maybe something will become clear and maybe it will be an authentic expression and maybe if I just do it a voice will emerge on its own.
I don’t know but I’ll keep trying.
Here’s a movie I made 4 years ago called The Saddest Man in the World. It’s a silent film, the only one I’ve made so far. I like it, it’s cute. Not the greatest thing in the world but my generation doesn’t deserve the greatest anything because we’ve too long engaged in hyperbole. Like Louis CK says “We’ve condemned ourselves to a shitty life.”
Maybe I should just work on being proud of what I and my friends have done for the last almost 6 years but you don’t make movies for satisfaction.
You make them because there isn’t anything else you want to do.