Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where I have been

I have been enjoying the silence. That is where I have been and that is what I have been doing. Allowing all of those critical of my ideas and intentions to question my commitment to film and art and loudly proclaim that I am (was) all smoke and mirrors. I simply became tired of being that guy…you know, that one that just talks and never seems to do anything. Well, that’s not really a fair assessment of my artistic past because I have shot a film…but for the film industry that was eons ago. Suddenly all my work in public access and bullshit student productions is all but forgotten. Suddenly my Epic/calling card short that was so full of visual style and production value and ego that the “independent” claim of Scott and myself was perpetually in question was now just a short. So what if I shot on film, so what if I had car stunts and insurance and production cubes…it was all old news for most people.

I tired of my stump speeches and the never-ending optimism that filmmakers are supposed to have; it has always been grossly out of step with my rigid, glass-half-empty, east coast approach to situations. So I decided to stop the marketing I am so famous for. I must say that I enjoyed the curious change in the approach to dealing with me. It seems that when you talk incessantly about a topic to the extent that the words “obsessive” and “compulsive” are often used in close proximity to your name (and not in the good sense) that the masses begin to distance themselves. Of course now, now I have lost the love for film, now that I am apparently consumed by doubt in my own abilities and fear of my own success the end is supposedly near. Now the rumors are that I am afraid, or even worse have decided to just spend Mom’s money and fuck chicks and leave all that “accomplishing things on my own” shit on the back burner.

If there are two things you should know about me it is as follows. Rarely am I silent, rarely do I not have a comment to make or an opinion to give to those who are willing (and unwilling) to listen; additionally I have no real fear of failure. Fear of failure is something that is reserved for those who haven’t tried to do that much, haven’t failed that often and haven’t gotten back up several times after a good hit (good hit…good hit!). Luckily I’ve dropped a baton at the Penn Relays in front of more than 10K people, failed CFA level -1 three consecutive times, lost 35 straight track event races, had 5 shorts die in principal photography and had my heart broken so many times that intelligent people question what is the purpose of reassembling all the pieces for yet another attempt, blown an engine in my Z, made a woman pregnant, got my moped impounded by Marlton’s finest minutes after I promised my mother I wouldn’t ride it till I got my license . And lest we not forget the illustrious dating past like moving tweaker Melissa into my apartment so she could work on her meth addiction full-time with no interruptions, or maybe I should mention how I found out that a girlfriend of mine got engaged to another man during a highly publicized lawsuit against one of the major networks…and my attorney found out before I did. Maybe I should discuss the infamous Kristine who dated me for nearly 5 straight years and never introduced me to her parents, or maybe I should talk about Jamie and how I woke up one day and realized that I had been foolish and that 10 years of my life was never going to return and would pay no dividends…I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am no stranger to loss.
Never do I quit. I’m down for the get down…I’m up for the down stroke, I’m in it win it ( call me Lotto bitches!) the real deal like Holyfield…this is who I am, this is where I am…so let the chorus of the doubtful sing, I have long been tone deaf to their harmony’s. I have never quested to be the most well know or the most well paid or the most fucked or the most recognized…and this is what it looks like. I am no more discouraged than Arthur Miller before the breakthrough of “Death of a Salesman” so you can stop worrying about me.
I am quite amused by those who think that I’m a spoiled brat who always get what he wants and has never had to work for anything. These are the things that are being said about me on a nearly daily basis. The concern has reached a fever pitch. It is due to this situation, these concentric circles of doubt that surround my film existence that I wish to address.

Film is all that matters to me. Don’t get me wrong, my Z is almost as precious as my dick and I really miss Cooper (I had to put him down)…but this has always been about film for me. Film is the reason I stopped speaking to my father, film is the reason I didn’t marry Kristine. Film is the reason I moved to west in the middle of the night after a nasty fight with a girlfriend 15 years my senior. Film is the reason I didn’t speak to my mother for 5 years. Film is the reason that Canada and I didn’t make it. Film is the reason I threw a book across the media section of Border’s Books on the promenade and was summarily ejected from the store. Film has been the motivating factor in my life since before College (I’m about to turn 40…well next year… (Fuck you Jody!)). So the notion that I have somehow given up…is ludicrous. It is the sole meaning for my existence and those who say different have never really had a conversation with me…that much is obvious.
Success can never be measured in the present tense, you would think that we would understand this by now. I, for one, enjoy this loss of respect by the industry in general. It has given me an opportunity to taste defeat yet again. To sink my teeth in to the darkest, coldest, emptiest feeling that most of us will come to know…the inability to live up to your intellectual and creative potential. For those that never try, for those that set the bar low…this is never a concern. You don’t worry about your vertical leap or even your handles when you are playing on an 8ft rim.
But this is not a pity party and this is not a “hey, look at me blog”…this is what filmmaking is. After you get the money, after you tell the lies, after you shoot, after you get to picture lock, after you raise a ruckus on the festival circuit…you may very well return to the withering desert that is the development of projects and the search for funds.
So yet again the quest a begins, yet again the quest continues…one in the same really. Film be it development or production, financing or post is a perpetually state of “Jesus-fucking-Christ I have to get this shit done.” And this is where I am…
This will not be a long blog by Cooprdog standards but I do believe that it will communicate effectively to its intended audience. To those of you who have been on the beaten path for quite some time, for those of you who find themselves defending positions and attitudes you have long established and many times defended, fear not. You are not alone and you are not losing your mind. Well, that’s not completely true, you cannot work in this industry for any severe length of time and not have a sizable loss of your wits…but that’s the point. It’s the journey and not the destination.
Yeah, I get that you want to have big tittied women riding your shaft (or soup-can cocked studs drilling you into submission) while extolling the virtues of high speed photography and simple camera set-ups; but is that really why you do it? I understand that the money and the fame and the power that comes with a hot feature is a very intoxicating mix of rewards and respect, but is that why you do it? I can see that the ability to have one of the badass DGA jackets and to have your whip always valet parked in the front of every establishment is a beauty of a perk (Beauty Clark)…but is that why you do it?
Let me tell you why I do it. Because I have to, because the voices never stop, because I haven’t slept since the early 80’s, because every time Spielberg makes a film people like me become more and more invisible, because every time Lucas adds another installment or re-releases another installment of his mammoth epic I am haunted by the fact that according to him and Gene Roddenberry’s legacy that there are few blacks and few women in our not too distant future. Because Kevin Smith doesn’t really have anything to talk about that doesn’t include dick jokes or comic book themes. Because “Iron Man” is an ancient piece of intellectual property, so is “Fast and the Furious” and “Batman” and all the shiny, happy shit that they love to release.
What I am trying to communicate to you is that this is much larger than me and the stakes are much higher than blows to my ego and a loss of face. That being stated, my temporary absence should be seen as temporary…for people like myself can never stay away from the art for long.
So…why do you do it? What have you been up to? And what are you trying to prove? It is going to be a very long journey my friends and this is not the time to get cold feet. I’m here till they shut the industry down or I die of a venereal disease (she better be hot though).


COOPRDOG

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