There are many aspects of making this film that are unable to be captured by the camera, as I have nowhere the battery capacity or manpower to keep the camera active and attentive for a 24/7 filming cycle. There are many aspects of making this film, the creative force driving the narrative in-between shots and interviews, that are spontaneous possessions of emotion, triggered by what is happening around me. There are many aspects of making this film that are internalized and manifest in the slightest provocations of my daily physical gestures, revealing or hidden. There are many aspects of making this film that need to be articulated, but cannot, nor probably should be, with the camera. The camera’s function is to capture the emotions of others and the pivotal dramatic moments of my Love Journey, as I have just now taken to calling it. I feel the exigency to write about this endeavor as it occurs, because if the film is about what it means to date and to fall in love, then it only makes sense to take other faces of human love, the redemption of self through Art and the Self-Sacrifice of passion, and to articulate them.
I do not see too much distance between my work in this film and my understanding of what it means to fall in love. The conceit, although, is obvious in that it is my understanding of love, which is prone to folly and err. I will avoid speaking in objectivity, as that is rather impossible. I will speak on how I feel. I will speak on how I process emotions. I will speak on pain. I will speak on triumph. I will speak on what it means to me to be making this film. I will tell the stories of those interviews which have incited spiritual revolt. I will tell the stories of those interviews which have darkened the windows of my mind. I will probably come off as pretentious and naive altogether, or trying too hard or simply letting my consciousness run off. I will speak on Love without ever claiming that I think I know what it is. I think to know Love is to suggest you’re actually not experiencing it, unless you have lost it, but in that instance you are probably still wrong as you do not have it with you. But we will see how I feel about that soon enough.
At the end of all of this, I will assemble what I have written and compile it into some sort of small series of essays and compile them into a supplement of the film. They will not be audacious to assume they are of great importance, but rather just something of written value to give added context to the greater work. I will try to write this bi-weekly, if not more, as the documentary continues, absorbing and synthesizing thoughts as best I can. It has thus far been a very emotional experience of complete metamorphosis and I have missed quite a lot to write about. But, I’m entering a point of extreme vitriol in my personal realm and nearing the climax of what is appearing to me to be a sexual revolution within me. I’ve already had my first kiss, but I can still discuss that as we get closer to the reenactment of it.
All I’ve to say before I conclude this is, if you’re reading it and going to follow it, good luck. I’ve lost my eloquence in real life. I’m going mad and realizing the folly of myself. That will reflect in this. This will get existential. This will contain graphic psychological elements. I will try to grapple with concepts my feeble brain probably cannot grasp as of yet. But have me in good faith. I hope in my nonsense, you can find peace of mind or insight or something to laugh at. I hope, by the end of all this, I have come out finally at some peace with what has been the great struggle of my identity and life, the articulation of a deserted and broken soul. It may not be that. Mark those words. Remember what I thought I wanted here. We’ll come back to the ocean, the delta, once we have reached the placid lake.
Valentine’s Day pt. 1
I want to make a note before I explain this particular incident of February 13th. And this is similar with the ethical dilemma of Brandon’s involvement with my interview subjects and my anxiety surrounding those. But this is, rather, that ethical dilemma in my predicament.
I have indeed asked one of my subjects for a kiss before. I have indeed hidden a camera and recorded myself when asking The Frisco Girl for my first kiss. I have taken cameras into gambling dens, unknowingly recorded college students snorting cocaine in a penthouse bathroom, and have even gotten myself on camera getting banned from the local North Texas Target for asking about Kwanzaa. But I have never publicized these problematic things. Although I have captured them, I believe in the goodwill of maintaining their secrecy. I do not want my filmmaking to be an agent of malice for others, nor myself a vehicle for discomfort. What I do and how I go about doing it, in terms of the mechanizations of my filmmaking, are measures of a great curiousity and experimentation. I will not claim that I am saintly. If anything, I think, in art-making, I am obsessive, egotistic, and brash to its logical fault. The art-making process is the siren call of my Id, a diversion to my otherwise generous and empathetic humanity. It is my righteousness and ego emblazoned by a preening cause. But I believe in my causes. I do what I do in the earnest belief that I am doing more harm to myself than others and that in the mechanization of whatever it is I produce, it is to the greater end of allowing a magnanimous work to be birthed. This is my opinion.
But I do these things because
1) if not for the film, I would never do them because these mannerisms of my quotidian self, this Shamed and Scared and Sinful personhood, are self-perpetuating. I will speak later about this phenomenon, but I must address now that integrating myself in a creative process, self-important and above my comfort and safety, is tantamount. It is truly therapeutic. It is the body donning a quixotic imagination. And, within that, I am allowed a space to explore what I cannot explore in the public sphere, what I cannot explore due to the financial withholdings of medical treatment, where many irrational behaviors are all of a sudden justified and deemed acceptable in the guise of “art-making”. I am given carte blanche to navigate anxiety and fear whilst shielded by “my vision” and I am given an audience of kind and helpful people that I otherwise am too self-loathing and too cynical to approach. To create is to force myself to trust not only others, but myself, for if creativity is the one greatness I exclaim of myself, then anything that falls in regiment with it, is much more secure. So to say, so long as Creativity leads the helm, my personhood will not falter, for the ego of my Creativity is a brilliant tyrant.
2) I believe in what I am making. For, in my conception of it, I evidence a necessity for it to begin with. It is cringe-worthy, some of these scenes and some of the things I plan on cutting into the film. They are uncomfortable because I make uncomfortable gestures. They are uncomfortable because I am a revelation of reality on the screen. I do not believe in the mythologies that are presented to us in the culture, or I feel that our mythologies are bankrupting. There are things that will happen in the film that I pursue because I am under the delusion of a mythos that assures me triumph in a moment where it is otherwise unpredictable and irrational. I ask for things from strangers that I should not ask for. But I do. There are things ask for from people who really I should’ve made clear years ago. And I do. There are mistakes I commit to, there are tragedies I knowingly blunder into. I do because it is not only good for me, but for others to witness something that isn’t artifice. Moments of immense humiliation are perhaps some of the most mundane moments that puncture our comfort with the world. And again and again, I will enter and discuss such moments. Love is an immensely vulnerable emotion; Sex is an immensely romanticized interaction; Kissing is an immensely underrated intimacy. For me, growing up, there was no discussion about any of this. Everything was discussed so one-sidedly. We are left to our own devices and so of course we want to believe the fairy tales because the reality is we live existences that have a high frequency of heartbreak and vulnerability, and those emotions warp us when not handled properly.
There will be more to both those points, surely. But, if I can call back to the initial cause, I am ethically problematic. Less so than Brandon, but simultaneously more so. I am constantly becoming infatuated with people I interview during the interviews, and with many of them I develop strong friendships. With others, I decide there is a moment to be bold with my feelings, at the end of it all, and to act against Shame. I make sure that the moment is safe, and I make sure that the other person, in one way or another, is safe as well. I also do not make the presumption that they are too weak and fragile to not handle someone opening an emotional desire; hopefully they do not reveal themselves to be so. I feel compelled to make some effort of transparency. I cannot, in clear conscience, at all excuse myself for foolishness and selfishness. For taking a camera and a cause and saying that my interest is interwoven into the expressed virtues of this cause. I do it nonetheless.
This film had its conception in an attempt to understand, through the guidance of others, feelings and anguish beyond my taught language. And now I find myself asking these same people to guide me more and more through this world, and it is selfish. But I am not greedy. I am not hurtful or malicious. I am awkward and aloof. I am naive and misguided. I am, ultimately, profoundly hurt and lonely. I wish the best in any one, and I have for my entire life. It is just now, though, that I find myself wanting the same for myself. So, when I ask someone if it is ok that I kiss them, on camera, it is not a motion to abuse the integrity of an art-creation, but rather an honesty of the art-creation. If at any point we can declare that this isn’t what the film is, then we may call me duplicitous and fraudulent, but I never said that it wasn’t that. I always express that, at the end of it all, the film is carried along a bridge that is my journey. And my journey is one of understanding the redemptive power of Love and the Anguish that necessitates it.
Valentine’s Day pt. 2