I’m in a state of flux right now. Not everything feels like it should and I have a general discomfort and I’m not 100% sure where it emanates from. Definitely writers block contributing to this, but that’s not all. The world and specifically my world is off-kilter in the now.
I got a car again. It’s a Chevy Blazer. As most people who know will guess, it’s not exactly a perfect fit with me. I don’t look right in a Blazer, but who cares? I’m mobile again. It’s weird to be able to go where ever I want whenever I want. It’s been a while. I waited until the right circumstance hit and I’m glad I did.
Some money has filtered back into my life from commercial work, so that has helped a lot. I’ve started teaching my editing class and this past weekend on Sunday I even tried something new – a one day editing seminar in Cleveland. What was risky for me was to drive the new automobile all the way to Cleveland. I had paranoia because the last 3 trips prior to Cleveland have all resulted in a car that had problems.
I think I’m better at teaching my class now than ever before. I have more experience (thanks Captain Obvious!), but I have also gotten more streamlined on the information and how I put it out there. I used a lot more video in my presentation than ever before and I put the Laptop through it’s paces since this wasn’t taught at a studio, but rather at TALKIES, a coffee bar in downtown Cleveland. In actuality, this worked out great. I used the Laptop as a DVD player, and also as an editor to demonstrate editing a scene from a movie from the raw footage. I have another paranoia (I am neurotic after all) after doing any kind of public speaking where I think I did terrible. I become needy & want feedback if I sucked or not. Luckily, several of the students emailed me and said they enjoyed it, including 4 gentlemen who drove up from Kentucky for this.
I crashed at Johnny Wu’s so I could sneak a peak at some footage from his feature THE RAPTURE. He wasn’t feeling well, at least not until he started showing the clips and he got animated and excited. Johnny said he could barely stay awake, but then after showing footage we chatted for a few hours.
Yesterday, I made a side stop in Wadsworth Ohio where I “grew up”. This is the one place I consider my “hometown”. I was there from age 5-12 and most of my fondest memories reside in this place and that time. This was before our family moved to El Paso Texas where I feel that I was raped of my childhood by circumstance and my own ignorance. I get a great deal of solace from visiting Wadsworth, even today. Nearby our old house was “The Woods” and this is now an official city park. Half of the park now has formal cement paths and a parking lot, plus a small pond where I nearly drowned 20 years ago is now a sanctioned, real pond with benches and everything. I detest the revised part of the park, but the majority of it remains unfettered by time and conservatism.
The last time I was here, a few months ago, I went through the modern & sanitized part of the park, hating every moment of it until I found the paths still lead to a more wild, un-cemented and less traveled part. This time I started at the opposite end of the park, nearer to where my old home used to be. I found my way to the northern most part and wandered about. I have grown so much older. It’s been 22 years since I lived here and yet I found that I left a part of my soul in this place, in these trees and hills. I found that there are parallels to that time of my life and this time of my life. I am happier now than I have ever been since that era. I’m struggling to maintain this happiness and trudge forward into the future too. This little journey into my past has given me a great deal of hope and I look forward now, eyes open, first foot out.
I want more spoons. Brandy won’t give them to me. She’s working two jobs and well over 50 hours a week. Spooning is not sexual; it’s more a form of torture in a sense. I am not a touchy feely person, but because Brandy hates spooning, it makes me want to do it all the time. Brandy is small. See this Brandy? YOU’RE SMALL. You’re a tiny little thing and I want to spoon soon, so get home damn it.
I have become a good friend to SPAZ ANDERSON, the black cat. He and I have formed an unholy alliance against COUSETTE, the pretty 6 toed cat in the house. We have a “boys room” and she’s not allowed in. We have special hand shakes and secret codes just to make her feel left out. She can go play with Brandy and they can make a “girls room” while we continue our manly excursions. Take that ladies!
The commercial demo reel as been updated with more recent projects (since I’ve made about 12 new commercials since the last edit), plus I made a first cut of a “Director’s Reel”, for my more artistic endeavors. I intend to use this to get more directing work and an agent at some point, although I’m not sure when at this point. I put these reels on both YouTube ™ and MySpace ™ for all to see in higher res than even my own site.
SEVEN SAMURAI CRITERION 3 DVD set came out today. For anyone looking for cinema history, Akira Kurasawa’s master piece film demonstrates everything you need to know in film. I bought the single disc Criterion DVD a few years ago based solely on Steven Spielberg saying he watches his 35mm film print of this movie the day before every shoot he’s ever done. George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, & John Milius all swear by Kurasawa and specifically Seven Samurai. I might have to pick up the new 3 DVD version soon. It’s too enticing.
I also broke down last week and bought the triple-dip LORD OF THE RINGS DVD’s that got re-released. I already have 2 sets of each, but this 3rd set has all new feature length documentaries on each of the movies that are “unseen”. Overall, they aren’t that great, but I bought them for so cheap, it was worth it to me and won’t be too many consumers. I don’t recommend them unless you are fanatical (like me).
In the month since my last blog entry, I have tried many things to spot writer’s block. One of the things I did was re-visit an idea that was brought to me by a publisher. Having read my articles online and some of this very blog, I was approached by a publishing company to potentially write a book. They wanted my sardonic approach to writing and the perspective of “going from DV shorts to feature filmmaking”. Of course the caveat was to see how well Horrors of War does, so at least they were honest. Since Horrors of War is due out in the near future, it was time to look into a compilation of the articles and flesh out a bigger piece.
In doing so, I started to reminisce about more sad stories that had happened to me as well as more articles. I made a test pressing of the first draft because I am a tactile person. Touching & feeling the book did make me write a lot more. I did several updates, drafts, and several new stories and articles emerged. One far more important aspect added was asking Dan Kiely to do illustrations for the book for the “caricatures”. These added so much vibrancy & light to the book. The book is coming along fantastically, if I do say so myself. There is some genuine insight into the real process of making DV movies and how to prepare for making bigger, more accessible films. It’s really a book with 2 parts. The first are the straight to the point articles which are advice driven, although occasionally sarcastic, but in bite sized nuggets of information. The other half are personal stories, many of which are partially found on this blog, and the rest have not yet been told in a public forum.
I actually have managed to get pages of the script written. I’ve started over with a page one re-write, meaning I have jettisoned almost everything written by the other writers, at least the exact words written. I will maintain much of what they did in spirit, but the dialogue is almost entirely new. I just let the characters start talking, but I keep writing myself into a corner. What sucks about this particular bout with writer’s block is that it’s not normal & unlike any other I’ve come up against. I already HAVE the entire outline of the story done. There are plots, sub-plots, even nuggets of dialogue written in the outline, but I just can’t get the groove to start. I can’t go for more than a few pages at a time. It just isn’t there. I can’t explain it.
Johnny Wu has hit on a theory that I tend to agree with. He said I have too many loose ends. My spirit is not at peace and I can’t focus until I clear my head. This ties into the intro to this little journal entry. I am un focused and it is because there are still loose ends on Horrors of War, Brandy and I have had a tiff or two recently, both of their own accord & also because of my own frustrations carrying into the relationship, plus I have not been getting as much freelance work & the money isn’t coming in like it used to.
I’ve already made the conscious decision to push any kind of shoot for this dark comedy until the spring. I will not commit to shooting a feature until I am 100% happy with the script. I won’t make the same mistake I’ve made with some of my short films & make the movie before the foundation has been made rock solid. After the trip to Wadsworth yesterday, making out with Brandy last night, and making some money, I may be able to crack the writing nut a bit more this week.
Until next time, my precious Acolytes. Until Next Time.
Peter John Ross
P.S. – No politics this time, but to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Katrina…