Hey, kids! How y'all doing?
Last night at 4am, I finished my last scene of the movie I've been shooting for the last month. Moreover, this is the film I've been talking about pretty much since I started this space. Man. That's a long time. But if I've learned anything in the past few years -- aside from the fact that my Multi-National Entertainment Conglomerate can't figure out a server that doesn't fucking crash four times a day, that a workforce of seven stoners don't make for a fast sandwich shop, and love is so hard to pin down that even fake gay Hollywood marriages arranged by insane cults don't always work out -- it's that things in this town move very slowly. In fact, for the budget of the piece versus the caliber of production -- and the fact that it's on 35mm -- I'm surprised the movie didn't take even longer to come to fruition.
This was my first major role in a feature, and I learned so much about filmmaking and acting for film. Though it can be very frustrating, causing you often to worry much more about movement and hitting your mark and continuity (oh, but how continuity goes to work on the OCD part of my brain where it scratches quietly but persistently like a convict digging a hole in the back of his cell with a spoon,) than your performance, I find that there can also be something rather liberating in the sheer constraint of it all. It erases certain variables and focuses your attention in a way that sometimes theatre does not. There is also the matter of the monitor, which allows you to watch a taped copy of the shot immediately afterwards, allowing an actor to see what works and what doesn't, and to adjust. Yeah, we didn't usually get more than two or three takes of a shot, but I found it to be very helpful; I also, surprisingly, wasn't bothered by looking at myself on the screen. (Yeah, I might feel differently about that when my face is projected fifteen-feet tall.) And I like my performance. I mean, I've lived with the character for so long, and the lead and I, we have been playing off each other for so long, that it was insanely easy to slip into the character every day. And it's fun to play a sweet numskull, which is pretty much what this character is. Because in real life I am neither sweet or a numskull. (Shut up, you.)
And as I drove away last night I did what I always do when I finish a big project: I pat myself on the back. It feels important to stop and acknowledge a job well done. Of course, two minutes later I started obsessing over what comes next. Next. Next. Next. Always next. I do that in many aspects in my life. It's hard not to. I'm result oriented. It's not usually about the process, though I've been taught that throughout my life, but about the finished product. And I learned early on and that I usually create a damn fine product, no matter how late I begin. This lead me to do most of my papers throughout high school and college in all-night sessions the night before the due date. And I got "A's." I just did. Naturally, the downsides to this are numerous, but it's hard to really enjoy the process when a long process often seems unnecessary. But then I miss out on stuff. And I don't always work as hard as I could. Because I can pull it off easily with minimal effort. And then extrapolate this, if you will. There aren't always end results in life. Certainly not in relationships. I mean, what is the end point of love, let's say, aside from the literal end of love? Maybe this is a part of why people get married. Because let's say things are going well with two people. They love each other and get along great and there is trust and communication and mutual respect and admiration and maybe they live together and are committed and have a dog and everything is fantastic -- and yet there is that part in one or both of them that says, "What's next?" And what is next? Marriage. Babies. Then what? The affairs? The breakdown of trust and communication and mutual respect? The divorce? The silly relationships with silly younger people? And I know this sounds incredibly cynical, and of course there are many other reasons people get married -- and furthermore I'm not even against marriage, even for myself -- but I wonder sometimes if our penchant for tangible results, for achievement and hard data, doesn't somehow make us unable to recognize and be satisfied with happiness in the more amorphous facets of life.
And living in this town, where there are sales and options and contracts -- where one either gets or does not get the role, the rewriting job, make the spec sale, where there is evidence of one's worth -- is it possible to be in the moment, to enjoy things where we don't always know our standing at any given time? Can we take pleasure in a sunset viewed over a dilapidated Snickers billboard outside of an Elk's lodge in Rosemead while on break from shooting? Can we enjoy the sound of a old Smashing Pumpkins CD even though they got shitty and then broke up and left a bad taste in our mouths? Can we sustain ourselves with the smile of someone we cherish or the feel or their breath on our necks?
I hope so.
Nice to see you all again. Bitches.
The first day of the rest of my life, X, stand behind the mic like Walker Cronkite. Y'all keep the spotlight, I'll keep rhymes tight. Lose sight of what you believe. and call it a night. This ain't the light-weight, cake mix shit that you're used to. Teflon territory you just can't shoot through. You gonna shoot who? (Who?) Not even on your best day. Rollin' the Wild West way, givin' it up. Leavin' the whole world stuck not givin' a fuck. Laid in the cut now we break through in the rut. Hennesy and Orange Juice baby fill up a cup. Quick to grab Mary Jane by the butt and squeeze. Loosen up, let your hair down, and join the festivities. Overcrowd the house like lockdown facilities. Bitches be quick to give me brains while I post the range. Going up and down my dick like the stock exchange... speaking of which. Um, I don't know if taking five weeks off and then, you know, just coming back and saying these things with your talk, then, of lockdown facilities really serves to make you seem like a good person, you know. It makes you seem like you don't care about anyone, let alone me, and I'm just not sure if this self-crafted compassionate, worldly, mature, uber-sensitive but still macho thing you've become can withstand the negativity and selfishness of these types of actions. But who am I to judge, right? Yeah, you would say that.
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