Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Last year I took a film class that turned out to be a literal film class where we were given cameras and assignments and lots and lots of creative stress. My first thoughts: I can't do this. I'll have to quit. This girl knows nothing about lighting, cameras, storyboards, production, editing, etc. A quiet voice said: hang in there . . . do it anyway.

The first assignment was to shoot an uncut one-scene project about ourselves. It could be done in any way, any length, but no cuts. In my head came an image of what I wanted my project to be, but then came the voice again: You crazy? You can't do that. Quit now. You don't have an SD card. You don't have time to film. 

Do it anyway . . .

I drove to the store, bought an SD card, then went to the lake and filmed the shot exactly as I had seen it in my head: a landscape seen through a clear glass jar filled with water. Slowly, I dropped in black ink until the water was clouded and became a mirror. The idea was to show how toxic words can be, and how others' harsh opinions or actions slowly contaminate us until we become a mirror to the abuse. 

That night as the kids were busy watching cartoons and gaming, I peeked at my video and felt horror. My God, it was ten minutes long, indulgent, horrible, boring, etc etc etc. I dreaded the day I'd have to show it in class in front of the others, and when it came time to do so, I sat back in horror, somewhat hiding my face with my hand, wishing I could shrink into nothing. The lights came on and the teacher spoke about elements he'd liked and not liked--the lines of the landscape, the repetition, the colors. I chalked it up to constructive criticism and nothing more. 

My grade turned out to be a Perfect A. He wrote down that it was only the second time he'd given someone that score on that particular project. I was in shock, but happy. 

A few weeks later I showed my mother the grade and she was happy too--little did I know she'd be gone within months. I'll always be so grateful of that memory. She and I did not always get along--we were like the mother/daughter duo in Terms of Endearment-always at odds, too alike, too stubborn. There was toxicity between us both, but also love. Sometimes we can fix the past, forgive, and sometimes it never happens. Sometimes it takes a while and it's ourselves we need to forgive.  

Like art, life is to live, learn and let go. Once it's done, you leave it for others to judge, enjoy, own, hate. That part is not up to you. I'll tell you more about the film class later. And if can upload the damn thing, that'd be great. Thanks for reading. 

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