Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An inspiring video for 12-12-12

Yup, it's 12-12-12. If I was really clever I would have posted this at 12:12 pm, but oh well.

To celebrate, here's a video that I'm very happy with, that I've contrived to give a “12” theme:

These are the man-on-the-street interviews that I recorded during my road trip. I asked several creative people questions about art – why we make it, why it's important, and how to cope with pressures not to do it.

I asked these questions because they were questions that I, after several years of ups and downs with this movie, found myself struggling with. But while I'd been finding these problems to be increasingly unsolvable on my own, everyone I interviewed had upbeat and articulate answers.

I presented a rough assembly of the footage at a Buffalo Movie-Video Makers meeting, but the editing still needed work. I then tightened it up to 10 minutes so it would fit nicely on YouTube.

What motivated me to refine it further, however, was a call for submissions for short videos to screen at a holiday party at Squeaky Wheel. Videos needed to have either a “December” or “12” theme, and I reasoned that since I asked 5 artists 7 questions, I met the “12” criterion.

I'd already gotten it down to 10 minutes so it would fit nicely on YouTube, but Squeaky Wheel's length restriction was only 5 minutes. So I edited tighter and tighter and tighter, until the video said everything in 5 minutes that it had said in 10.

While the video didn't get accepted (they liked it but didn't think it fit a party mood), it gave me a reason to trim it as tight as possible, and I'm happy with the result. In fact, this video is probably the greatest souvenir I took home from the trip.

Even while reviewing my earlier 10-minute cut, I realized that I had gotten a pep talk from five strangers. Whenever filmmaking – or any other creative enterprise – starts to seem like too much hassle for too little reward, I can now rewatch this video and be reminded why I should press on. The realization that I even got such enthusiastic input from five strangers – after years of considering myself an introvert – is a shot in the arm as well. Whenever I'm at risk of letting bitter, small-minded, unadventurous, unimaginative people get to me, I can watch this video and be reminded what it's all about.

Also, I'm finally sending out review copies of the movie, to get some press and maybe even some distribution nibbles. This is something I should have done earlier, but with everything else going on in my life lately it never quite made it to the top of my to-do list. However, I'm motivated to do it now, because I want to start 2013 with a fresh project. It might be a spin-off project related to Saberfrog, or it might be something completely new and different.

My goal is to take everything I've learned from Saberfrog and build on it. Moviemaking is a form of communication, and I'm ready to get the conversation going again.

So thank you to John, Calvin, Cynthia, Vanita and Caitlin for your inspiration, and for making the journey worthwhile.