January 8th, 2015
I am so unaccustomed to writing journal entries, I don’t even know what to write about. In theory, I tell myself that I am just going to write about my day, so that I can remember and people who might–on the very off-chance–care, can know. At an even deeper level of theory, I want to be in the habit of writing in a journal, so that I can prove by practice that each day is a narrative and each sequence of days makes a narrative of one life.
But, somedays seem very narrativeless. On principal, I believe that every day is complexly bound up with eternal purpose and is also finely structured by desires seen and unseen. How many desires can one day hold? I mean, there are my desires, from making tea in the morning to wishing for where I might be in two years. But then there are the desires of everyone I meet pushing on me.
Today marks the third day of any experience I have at all with making movies and even though we are going slow and I have few lines so far and the process is very relaxed, the little people with rakes in my brain are already leveling out a space for the mansion of observations. One observation–even though it seems too big for me to point out with such little experience–is that movie production is a good metaphor for being a creature. These sorts of metaphors exist all over the place. The movie is only what the camera can see. But the actors see way more than the cameras. And it’s not a facade or a lie and it’s not all “fake”–it’s simply that the movie is only part of the picture. The actor sees the director sitting on the counter, telling him what to do and how to do it, where to sit. He also sees the lighting and all the people floating about behind the camera (including the cameraman). And he also sees the food truck outside the window. That’s important. And in his imagination, there is the BBQ pulled pork sandwich floating in front of his eyes, which makes the making of movies delicious and the camera nearly irresistible.
With this metaphor, I can’t decide who we are as creatures. We are not the director–that’s obviously God. Maybe, both the audience and the actors are creatures, but ones with different worldviews. That seems to work. The audience is not the one being tricked–what they see in the frame of the shot is true and happening–but they are tricking themselves; they play dumb about the director sitting on the counter and the boom mic hanging inches above the frame. If they only knew that they were going to see a movie, which has in it the assumption that it was produced, they would be aware of all the production happening behind the camera. The actors are enlightened. They know it is a movie, but they are not tricking themselves. They believe it as much as the audience does when it tricks itself, but they also know about the director on the counter. And somehow, they know that while it is being produced, it is also somehow made already.
There is also the level of the actors having their wills intertwined with the directors (although if it isn’t, I imagine it’s no fun for anyone). The actor has total and complete control over what he does and what he says. But he has to obey what the director says and what the scripted lines are. Still, there is complete free will there–with the predestination of the pre-production.
I love having left-overs. I made a very average soup a couple nights ago and there is still a bit left of it. I want to make a very delicious soup someday, but in that case it will have to be split pea soup. That’s my favorite and I couldn’t tell you why. There is also my mom’s legendary white chili…how I wish. How I could wish. How I wish I could imagine.