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|The ephemeral light of day reflecting off a shallow pool of water projects a magical tapestry of swirling and dancing shadows onto a sterile, white ceiling. An etherial silhouette enters the scene, evoking impressions of the memory of an absent lover. The haunting soundtrack by the tragically unhinged rock legend Syd Barrett heightens the sense of mystery and intrigue.
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|Film Festival Screenings
Warning - may contain spoilers
With the fantastic comeback success of "Narcissus' Kaleidoscope," you'd think I was back on the horse again. But that wasn't how it went. I was still having a difficult time adjusting to the new video equipment and editing software. I was out of my element, and I wasn't creating the way I used to.
I had a biographical piece I was working on with existing footage and using the old software. I was happy with the way it was shaping up, but it was a very long and complicated tale to tell, documenting an extended adventure I went on after "Wasteland" had been rejected, and wouldn't be anywhere near ready in time to submit to MIX that year. Instead I submitted a fun video I had done on my own called "The Nude Woodsman." I thought it was a cute piece, and am actually still quite fond of it, but MIX didn't like it enough to include it in their program. The following year I had completed the biographical piece, called it "Meet Me Under The Joshua Tree" and sent it off to MIX. I was really happy with the piece, and thought I was a shoe-in for the festival. Unfortunately the selection committee didn't see it that way. I was shocked, and quite gutted, when they sent me the rejection notice.
So there I was, out of my element, feeling dejected, and having no ideas to pursue. But to my credit, I did still have the creative spirit. I wanted to create stuff. I just wasn't sure how to make it happen. I went back to my roots and started carrying my video camera with me. Back when I first started out, I would never take a step anywhere without a video camera in my hand. I had gotten to the point that I never even had one with me anymore, but that changed. I would at least toss the video camera in my bag whenever I went anywhere. At least by bringing it with me I would have it in case the mood struck or an opportunity presented itself.
And then one day an opportunity did present itself. I was visiting a friend who was having the tile on his balcony redone. While it was all torn up, rainwater had accumulated making it all one big puddle. At a particular time of day, the sunlight would reflect off the water surface and onto the living room ceiling. The rippling effect of the windblown water made for interesting shadow patterns that were constantly moving. It was like underwater lighting, except on a living room ceiling.
I knew I could do something with this, but I wasn't sure what. I got the video camera pointed at the ceiling and framed properly. Then I stood up in front of the window and moved about. It looked great. My silhouette moving around in the midst of the swirling water shadows was a beautiful image.
But I still wasn't sure what to do with it. If I had more of a dance or gymnastics background, or even knew some tai chi moves, I would have had some options. But with no better ideas, and having limited time before the sun moved in the sky, I just went to my traditional standby of getting naked and wagging my fat dick around. I got up in the window and just sort of skulked back and forth, making my anatomy as conspicuous as possible.
The sun would occasionally go under a cloud, and the whole scene would fade out. At first this vexed me, but I quickly realized I could use it. Knowing it would make a good edit point, I would reposition myself when it went dark, and when the sun came back I would perform a mini vignette until the sun faded again. I did this until I had a few minutes of tape, and then I put the camera away and got dressed.
Once I got back home and started editing, I was a little disappointed. It looked as good on screen as it did on camera, but in terms of poetic movement, I just didn't give myself much to work with. It was all a little flasé da. I cut up the raw footage into the individual sun fade clips, ditched the ones that didn't work so well, and arranged the rest as best I could. I slapped a title on the front, a credit at the end, and that was that. I then went into my music library looking for songs that had a running time the same as the video. I found an old Syd Barret song called "Late Night" that fit nicely and had the right vibe. Just like that, the video was finished. I don't think I spent more than a couple hours on it.
I wrapped it up and sent it off to MIX, but I had very low expectations. It was nowhere near as good as "Narcissus' Kaleidoscope," and in fact didn't even measure up to the other two they had just rejected. Imagine how surprised I was when they accepted it! I honestly didn't even think it was good enough myself, but one of the curators decided they wanted it in their program, so I was in.
I went to the festival and had a great time. My video played on the Saturday late night program, which was traditionally where they put the more explicitly sexy works. While I still didn't think my piece was particularly strong, and while I was utterly humbled by a shocking black and white film that played in the same program, I did see how mine fit in. It could have been better in my eyes, but it was artistic erotica, and it wasn't bad.
A bit of a light bulb went off in my head. The Saturday night erotica program was my niche. I wasn't sure where my creative future lay, but at the very least I could target that program, and if I played my cards right have an easy in with the festival.
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