core / life master / 2009 / JANUARY / january 29 (01-29-09)
editorial, motivation, gear, update, almonds
It’s been about 6 weeks since my last update. It might be more appropriate to begin, “Bless me father for I have sinned, it’s been about 6 weeks since my last update”. That’s how the Catholic sacrament of penance starts and the title “Mistakes I Have Made” could be interpreted as a sort of confession. By confessing my mistakes fully and in detail, I become aware of the circumstances and assumptions that made the mistakes possible, even likely. Flamboyant mistakes can indicate an adventurous nature but repeating the same mistake over and over is a sign of ignorance and stubborn inflexibility – a terrible sin for the mystic commando. This blog improves on the Catholic protocol by implementing confession early in the causality chain thus nixing presin – Patent Pending.
It’s also just over 6 months since the updates started and the novelty of following DOG may have worn off. “So what if Dan Kelly is developing super powers and saving the world? I’ve got bills to pay.” So to keep everyone’s attention riveted I’ve decided to reveal winning lottery numbers several days in advance. 466. 72851.
Following last month’s plan to generate finishing funds by liquidating extra equipment I have, after considerable effort, sold one of my HVX cameras and a few hard drives. Certainly the economy is funked – I’ve never had so much trouble selling my used gear before. I’m motivated to sell it all immediately because the economy is only going to get worse. To supplement cash reserves, I’ve also been preparing to start freelancing again. Initial recon indicates that I need to establish a more compelling presence with new reels – and that means new completed projects. So back to the project at hand – DOG.
Last month a radical approach to slashing the length of DOG from 26:40 to 13:00 was initiated. The idea was to have less movie to work on and therefor finish sooner. Unfortunately the test audience complained that the story was to dilute to follow.
My friend Faisal Azam suggested fleshing out Uncle Joe’s character as a way to make the shorter treatment coherent. The bottom line is that there is no quick fix, no easy way out. A shorter film brings up new storytelling issues which take time to deal with. A longer film requires additional roto and motion graphics.
I wanted to release something in January but DOG is far from ready. My other film “Almonds” has been ready for a year. It’s a totally different animal tangentially related to the DOG production. I had been saving it as a special feature on the DOG DVD. The prospect of getting something out the festivals immediately was inspiring, so I shifted gears and released Almonds last week.
Almonds is a sort of manifesto about wilderness and our connection to it. Over the years I’ve been exploring how I might translate outside experience, wondering how to convey the power. I equate disconnection from wilderness with consumerism. Disconnected people promote the conversion of the natural environment into junk and toxic waste. If I could create or at least initiate connection, consumerism would be in serious trouble.
Almonds reminds some folks of Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog, a movie I’ve never seen. Kai Schwarz and I got to talking about sustainable travel and after I showed him Almonds he too said it reminded him of GM. I don’t really want to watch Grizzly Man until I launch Almonds, but after hearing this yet again I did some research.
There seem to be two schools of thought on GM. Some poeple interpret GM as the story of a young idiot who gets himself and his girlfriend eaten by a bear. This doesn’t seem to support my objective of creating connection to wilderness, so it’s disturbing to think of folks drawing a parallel between GM and Almonds. Another interpretation is that Herzog’s portrayal of ‘Grizzly Man’ Timothy Treadwell was skewed to make Treadwell look like an idiot. Treadwell’s close connection to wilderness, his attempt to teach and live his vision even to the point of loosing his life are portrayed as crazy and foolish. That’s the narrative of consumer culture and Herzog may have pandered to it. Until I see the movie myself, I can’t be sure. However, I feel confident that the GM angle may be workable after all. Almonds could be the revenge of Grizzly Man, not on the bear but on the sleepy mindset of unsustainable post-modern life.

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