The Thesis Film

I may very well be the poster child for ningas cogon. It's pathetic that I have only two posts to my name, after making such a big deal about what this blog was going to mean to me.

In my defense, however, I've been pretty busy lately. Things at le film school have been getting serious, and I am preparing to shoot my very own short film sometime during the last week of October. That being the case, I have accepted as many projects as I can handle. Currently, I am juggling three -- a layout gig, a short film, and a kind of fashion event -- as well as running around putting together a small online garage sale that opens within the week. In short, I've been driving myself crazy trying to get the funds to make my thesis film happen. Hopefully, my sanity pops up soon.

And just so we're clear, this isn't going to be some long-winded complaint. In fact, there is a part of me that dreads the moment my financial crisis is solved. Not that I'm appealing to the masochistic side of my personality or anything, but just that when funding is no longer an issue, I have nowhere to look but at my directing.

And this is what it is; this is the process, at least for many of us. The mind-numbing terror, the tension, the bleeding of whatever's inside of you, the making sure you're able to communicate perfectly. The pressure to ensure your story is fleshed out in picture and not just a summary of things inside your brain. To actually create something complete and personal and moving in some way.

A friend of mine is in the process of editing some work, and we both shared our heartbreaks regarding our respective pieces. I was lamenting the fact that a person I love dearly misunderstood the script I wrote, while my friend was trying to get past some hard criticism and serious feelings of self-doubt.

We talked about how risky it was to direct, to even step up to the plate and just try. Directing is about putting your heart out there. You can't expect to tell a story and have people respond to it in the way you hope them to without first getting naked. Investing. Trusting. Hoping.

And it is for that same reason, that vulnerability, why so many of us love this kind of life so much. It's the fear and feeling like you're going to throw up that makes it so great. Because it's that feeling, that sense of knowing that you're on the edge of your own sanity trying to piece together something that (at the very least) makes sense, that shows how much of ourselves we put on the line. Because that's what people understand.

You can make a film entirely in Chinese and present it to a North American audience without subtitles. If there is heart, it will translate, even in the absence of what may be literary genius. And when we succeed in making that connection, that is the reward. That is the juice. That is what makes all the torture absolutely worth the terror. That is the bliss.

I am young in this industry, and I can't say that what I think is most certainly the case. I do, however, recall the films of my childhood: The Sound of Music, The Little Mermaid, Gerard Depardieu's Cyrano de Bergerac. I may not know them all word for word, or the exact sequence in which all events unfolded, but I remember how they made me feel. I was happy, I was scared, I was amused, I was sad. I was wholly embraced by characters I, ironically enough, only really knew in still motion.

I don't suppose that whatever I will create will be so important in the eyes of the world, or that it will be anywhere near perfect. What I hope is that it does touch someone, and that at least the people I have written it for -- my family, most especially my mother -- will see that it is my love out there in moving pictures. That's more than enough for me. That's not only the juice; it is the cherry on top of the cherry on top of the cherry.

And so I go back to my real life, scrambling around trying to get this little film made. Because as much as I don't need it to be Oscar-worthy, I do need me some cherries.

1 comment:

  1. if the way you make a film is as good as your writings, i'm sure it's something people will really enjoy. i'm looking forward to your "obras", just like your blog, i hope i get a chance to see them.