I have a semi-regular podcast with my good friend A Man Chasin’ His Hat called Shootin’ the Shit, where we talk about pop culture, media, film, video games, theatre, television, music and much more. I’ll always post the audio here, but we also have some texts there that are pretty funny. Check it out at Shootin’ the Shit with Joe and Nic.
Is it an Animal Thought, per se? Not as such, unless you count human beings as apart of the animal kingdom, which we are, but anyway –
Is it on Monday? No, it’s Friday, and thank all the powers of the universe that it is. Now that I’m not posting everyday, I think I’m gonna use the schedule as more of a “Suggestion from my Previous Self” rather than an actual rule.
I’m working on a short story which is actually turning out to be not so short. But I shall be returning to you, my beautiful and most loyal reader(s), soon. And oh, what a glorious time will be had by all.
Or at least I hope so.
I don’t know how to end this.
. . .
So . . .
. . . how are ya?
. . . my girlfriend asked me as I dished out a small serving of Singapore Noodles onto my plate. I broke the chopsticks and rubbed away the remaining splinters away with my thumbs and dug into the thin, curry flavored noodles. I choked slightly as I attempted to chuckle while chewing with my mouth closed. “Do you not have a topic?”
“You don’t know how blogging works, do you,” I asked as I finally swallowed the noodles in my mouth and then washed it down with some expensive looking cheap beer.
“What do you mean? I have a blog, too.”
“Topics are for beginners. A person doesn’t need to worry about theme or topics or plot. As long as you strike the right tone, readers will think that you’re writing about something even if they don’t know what.”
“Why, I could even write this conversation, word for word, and as long as I did it in the right manner, people would enjoy it. In fact, I’ll do that tonight.”
“But we’re just eating cheap Chinese food. Nothing’s happening. There’s nothing interesting about this.”
“I agree,” I said, louder than I had intended, “but the fact remains that an experienced writer, or one who is more lucky than talented, can make the mundane seem important. And by the time you’re making something seem like something it might as well be something, at least on paper.”
My girlfriend stopped chewing and stared at me. “That doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
“That is because your mind is too literal to comprehend the basic tenets of deception. It takes guile to fool someone.”
I was startled, but I can’t say I was surprised, when she threw the noodles that were on her plate on to my head. A piece of chicken toppled off my nose and I was able to catch it in my mouth before it dropped to the floor. She poured more noodles on her place and began to eat again. She wasn’t angry. I figured she got it all out when she upended her dinner over my hair. I was happy that was the end of it and there would be no ensuing fight that I would have to work against the rest of the evening, but she had ruined the experiment I had set for myself – to write about nothing and make it seem like it was about something. My offensive comments and her rash actions had forced a plot into the evening, and now the entire story had a purpose.
But there was still some room for breathing; would it be about my girlfriend’s inability to grasp the bare bones of art as a whole, making something from nothing and fooling the audience? Or would it be my insensitivity to her view and abilities? Or would it be how, through all the dumb, careless and petty things we say, the bonds between people will always survive? I don’t know . . . that will be up for the readers to decide.
It’s hard enough just getting by in this world, let alone trying to do something. But when someone comes along and starts spouting condescending, parental-sounding bullshit advice then you suddenly have to deal with murderous rage alongside everything else. Please forgive the general truism, but if you are to succeed in any venture a definite structure must be set into place. God, I feel dirty, excuse me while I take a shower.
Unfortunately, it’s true (truism . . . true . . . oh, I get it). We had no solid structure to how we went about producing. Oh, I tried to keep a calendar and notes of when we talked, but these were feeble attempts when a key element in the structure was missing: Hierarchy. In AirSWAT, each of us held the same amount of power as the others in every aspect of the project. This was fine in general as AirSWAT wouldn’t have existed if we each hadn’t been involved, but in regards to each particular production it was a detriment. Going from my POV for a moment (unlike the rest of the article which should be considered straight from the mouth of THE LORD), working endlessly on the script from conception to realization only to have one of the others argue against a crucial plot point during production was more than just aggravating but truly upsetting. And I’m sure that this happened vice versa as I would argue/comment about an area that I did not have experience in, such as the actual filming process. Undermining each other is a natural part of this set up.
If for every production we had said, “Okay, Nic and Pete, you write. Matt, handle direction and filming. Mark, just . . . just . . . just act, man. You’re good at that,” then a hierarchy would have been set. We could have written, directed and produced without getting in each other’s way, thereby forgoing many of the issues that we ended up having with each other.
But there’s more to it than the practical. Now here comes another truism, but this one doesn’t make me feel like some corporate stooge so I won’t need to take another shower.
On a creative project, you can wear many hats, but you can not wear them at the same time. You can not write as an editor or you will spend all of your time nitpicking and the writing will suffer. You can not act at the exact same time you are directing others or else you won’t be in the moment and the performance will suffer. You can not produce and promote at the same time or the project will suffer. You can do all of those things, but you must do them separately or else the quality of the work will lessen. The separation between duties and roles is vital to the success of a creative endeavor.
Here is another PSA, the only one we didn’t film in a garage with a parachute as a back drop. To his credit this was one of Mark’s ideas, and it was the last PSA that we filmed that actually could have a genuine message to it.