Friday, April 10, 2009

churning bs out of bs

earlier this week, i debuted the film of black snow i've been working on, and boy-o did it suck. it was a jarring experience to stand their aghast in front of a small crowd of strangers, witnessing the grand failure of my imagination birth itself. the deformed mutant wailing on the screen had me blushing in shame.

it was part technical failure - understandable, as this was my first foray into film - but the bigger malfunction was due to a mental failure. i tried to make a fun, light film out of a dark book because, i realized as the seconds ticked agonizingly by and i read my tattered script from trembling hands, i had lost confidence in the story itself. i thought: if i show/read a serious, sad tale at the launch, i will ruin many people's evening, not least my own. make 'em laugh, and they'll love you.

bs the movie will make no one laugh, and not only because i have buried the only living copy at sea. it will make no one laugh, i discovered, because a massive explosion that kills 2,000 and a war that eats that many people on a daily basis are not, at heart, funny.

in the pub after, as i hung my head in defeat, a buddhist friend delicately bucked me up by talking about the joy of failure, and clowning. they are related. when you are a clown, you will regularly bomb. no one will laugh at you, or everyone will laugh at you, but it won't be at the time you want them to. you learn from this, my friend told me. you learn about your ego - if laughter is what you're after, why does it matter if it's at you or with you? - and how you see yourself.

it is disturbing to find out the world doesn't see you as beautifully as you see yourself, if your ego is mis-shifted in that direction. i suppose it is pleasant to find out the world sees you more beautifully than you see yourself, if you ego is mis-shifted in that direction.

dramatic, public failure is a bracing wind, blasting away errant thoughts and misconceptions. it shows you what works, and what doesn't. it can be exhilarating, or whatever her dark twin is called.

so bs the movie is dead, and i'm back at the drawing board for a way to a) entertain whoever is kind enough to show up for the launch and subsequent events and b) not terrify myself too badly, for i discovered i have awful stage fright, too.


in other news, here's an interesting article about the future of journalism. i still think print has some kind of future, but my friends, the age of sail is over. the steam engine of the internet is speeding past the paper dailies. journalism is not dying, just transforming.

i wrote an article about state of play today, the new russell crowe journalism movie. i had fun with the metro article (coming coast to coast to a city near you next week!) and then found this article in the uk telegraph. oddly enough, the telegraph subeditor used the same joke as i put in my poop-scooping story about people who scoop to conqour, though with quite a different pun. i love the end paragraph:

That's journalists for you – they've been portrayed as amateurs, quasi-cops, tyrants, snoopers, romantic adventurers, drifters, gamblers, seducers, drunkards, people who stand up for themselves and fight their superiors, knight-errants, social misfits, outsiders, moguls and complete bastards. Such an arsenal of identities doesn't quite fit the majority of journalists – talented men and women who spend every day working quietly at their desks, checking their Facebook updates and looking forward to teatime. But who'd want to make a film about people like that?


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