Liberation Through Limitation

I know it’s been quiet, lately, around here.

I’ve been thinking.

I’ve been thinking that – after living – the most important things there are for a writer and filmmaker to do is write and make films.

Much of this past year was spent drafting Sophia The Great. On a script level, the project is almost ready to go. On a practical level, however, it isn’t.

So, I’ve decided to postpone Sophia for a while, for her sake and mine. I’m going to focus on other projects right now.

Here’s why:

  • The script, as scripts sometimes do, grew in scope as I continued drafting it. Sophia still can (and perhaps will) be produced on a slim budget, but I’ve done as much as I can (or am willing) to do scaling back scenes and locations such that they still fit the needs of the story and have yet been rendered as simple as possible, from a production standpoint, so that we can shoot the film within its likely budget range. Still, this range itself is probably outside the realm of what I can come up with at this time in my career.
  • I can’t, at present, spend time and money trying to create more time and money. I get that this is how business works. I get it’s how most feature films get made. And, actually, it’s not that I’m not prepared or willing to do this, or that I don’t have plans. I just don’t want to put so much effort now, while I am still young, burning off a surplus of energy and exhausting limited resources by pursuing possibilities that are just as likely to not work out – or to endanger my vision – than they are to morph into the solution to the problem that is financing. I’m better off dedicating myself to making good art.
  • Relatedly, due to both of the above reasons – I’m just not ready. Multiverse has proved to be a significant step up for me in my development as a filmmaker. It helped me prove to myself that I can do this, in the terms that matter most. To make Sophia what she needs to be, that time and money needs to be there. The story is delicate and nuanced. It requires tact and care. A guerilla-style shoot, which we’d have to embrace to offset budget challenges, might be possible, but not with my life the way it is right now.
  • I like my life right now. I don’t want to give up on it for a year or more to get Sophia made. I know that this would be forcing matters, rather than a simple case of facing the reality of what needs to be done. There’s a difference between making something happen and forcing it to happen. If I went the forced route, I would suffer and the film would suffer and I would resent the film and the job itself and all the work I’ve done to deal with my anger would crumble. All of this is against the spirit of creativity.

None of this means I’m going to stop reaching.

Sophia will happen. Multiverse, and then probably something else, is going to happen first.

I’m actually very excited about a particular “something else” – but I’m not going to tell you what it is yet.

What I will say is that I recently came to the above “hard realizations” more easily than past versions of my angrier self would have expected. I haven’t had much trouble acknowledging that they merely reflect reality – or a reality that I have to accept.

The other side of this reality, however, is that I remain compelled to create. Because that’s what I do. That’s what I must do. It’s what’s necessary.

I have made no secret of my dissatisfaction with the tides of American culture. I won’t spend time rehashing my grievances, or re-identifying the various possibilities that I believe exist, in order to raise awareness and advocate for change. All that can be found in the archive. Click around and have a blast or a good cry.

The imperative to get out there and address what’s hurting us has begun to outstrip the imperative I’ve always felt to not only say something, but say everything — perfectly.

So, I’m just going to keep making things, and then you can start telling me what you think. We can talk stuff over. Start a dialogue.

That’s what makes good art. In all the anxiety of trying to figure what to do next and how, over this last year, I lost track of this crucially important, core fact of creativity.

Films are business. Films require critical thinking and demand practical solutions. But they’re also (sometimes) art.

And art can thrive in the face of limitation – because art is born through limitation.

Thanks for reading. More later.

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