It’s been a weird year. The ratio of highs to lows were pretty even, but the dips low have been kind of off the charts. A friend died in October. Another friend relapsed in a spectacular way last May. All the accomplishments of 2012 (shooting the feature ONLY CHILD, the month long kickstarter campaign which preceded it, releasing the second Tableau de Parfums fragrance) would feel major any other year. Judged against the senseless loss of a friend, they haven’t felt like much. I’ve struggled the last several months to get some kind of perspective on things – on what I do, why I do it, why I should bother. I’ve struggled more than “done”.
Today I’m leaving for a month long trip to LA with the intention of shutting everything but ONLY CHILD out of my head. I was charmed during the edits of my first and second films; I don’t remember any problems focusing or burrowing into the material. The edit on Only Child so far hasn’t been without focus, but my thoughts are in a different place, and I’ve been doing a lot of re-evaluating. Right after the shoot wrapped, I started applying the standard pressures to myself – when to be finished with the edit, when to do a website, when to do a trailer, when to talk about it, how much to talk about it. None of that has anything to do with the film, and it’s not the way I’ve worked before. I think it’s just what things have become. A lot of us are hurrying to get things done. I keep thinking of the old adage about Hollywood – You’re only as good as your last film. I feel like that’s not so localized any more, and much more accelerated. Really, you’re only as good as your last tweet. It astonishes me that anyone can do anything meaningful or the slightest bit sincere under those circumstances.
I also feel like we control the circumstances. That pressure is a lie of the mind. Eight months ago I got off Facebook. I figured it would last about a week or two. I just needed some down time. I haven’t been back since deactivating my account. It’s not a moral thing. I’d talked so much to so many people during the kickstarter campaign and the shoot for Only Child, every day, that I didn’t want to hear so many voices for a while. I got tired of my interests being so all over the place and at the same time so strictly guided. I missed meandering around from one interest to another. I didn’t want them laid out on an endless scroll. I didn’t want to feel there were a thousand other films vying for attention. I know there are, and that some of them are worth seeing. But during the edit process I need to luxuriate in the fantasy that mine is the only one in the world. I want to focus on what it’s saying to me. It’s not that I don’t want to hear about yours. It’s just that I want to hear mine more clearly.
At my friend’s memorial there was the standard “moment of silence”. For the first time I realized how flimsy a moment like that is. What good is it if it only lasts a few seconds? How do you extend it more meaningfully, so that maybe it informs your daily practice? I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing: observing a moment of silence. I think maybe I’m trying to make the moment most of my life. And I want to make sure I feel those moments in Only Child, or whatever I do.
(Photo of a moment in time on the Only Child set, by Philip Horowitz. The set was made to look like it had been there for years. I spent months gathering the props and furniture. Last month, I dismantled the last bits of the room – lamps, bed frame, chair. The moment exists only in the footage now)