When I was 23 I did a film script for Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. It was easy. I just sat down with the words, and watched the visuals that unreeled in my mind. Then I wrote them down. (Getting it produced was another matter, and ultimately I did not, but I didn’t care.)
Recently I started working with multimedia and video. The piece was about African boxers, and it came out OK. At least, people said they liked it.
Then I showed it to a friend who is an Academy Award winning producer and director. Different response. He asked me things like, “What did you feel in the middle of this work? These people? How did you feel when you were with them?” (In fact it had been a bit scary, I said.) “That’s interesting. Where is that in your video?”
This response was much better than praise. So now I’m re-cutting it. In this new form it is a bit jumpy, kind of like I was when I did the work.
For the first version I had let myself be driven by my idea of what a video should look like, which was kind of fluid and bland. (Maybe I’ve been working in advertising too long.) And the software took me to that very easily.
Now I have begun a new project, and this time I’ve started by playing it out in my mind’s eye, working with what was there rather than smoothing it into something that looks like a well-made video.
I’m reminded that, in spite of what my second grade teacher thought, gazing into space is a great way to start creative projects.