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Canted Angle Media (Everything Relatively Applicable) is the brainchild of Jed Nichols. As a cinematographer, director, writer and actor, Jed's passion for art finds itself most drawn toward the world of narrative filmmaking. On this site, Jed shares stories from his adventures as a short film creator, purveyor of the arts, and reviews of popular films and other artistic mediums. 

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Total (Film) Recall: Time, and A Bottle

July 11, 2017

The title above has a couple of meanings. Obviously, it's a play on the film(s) Total Recall, which is based on the truly amazing short story by Philip K. Dick titled We Can Remember it for You Wholesale. It's worth the twenty minute read, and is one of my favorite pieces of Sci-Fi. Secondly, it describes, although a bit vague and mysterious, what this titangraph will be dedicated to: recalling my adventures as a filmmaker. Lastly, the subtitle is a play on the song title "Time in A Bottle" by Jim Croce. Some of you may know me as the late Mr. Croce's biggest fan. I urge you to check out that beautiful tune. In this essay series, I will be discussing my interactions with filmmakers, networking pointers, work ethic conversation, and general pitfalls of going into production with a limited budget as a filmmaker. 


A lot of focus will be put on how to conduct yourself in the workplace, and I believe much of my experience can be seen and felt in other professions. That is to say, I've dealt with slacker work ethic as an audiovisual technician at a formal workplace as much as I've had difficulties on a film set shooting in a public park. This series will be a place where I bare the deepest parts of my soul, and I hope you enjoy. If the story is about you, realize I still love you, but you're fuckin' up. Also, I will curse. 




 While I've had my fair share of successes in my short career as a short film creator, I've unfortunately had equal success with finding bad behavior and shaky work ethic. Although, I have been blessed with the discernment of spirit, a thing I feel when someone gives me the wrong or right "vibes", I do so very often miss noticing people's flaws. I can't see my own sometimes, so it follows that I might not be capable of seeing everything wrong with someone's work ethic. Laziness seems to be the biggest issue I've had working with people. Also, people who think their idea is paramount. Anyway, this essay regards the former. 


For all intents and purposes, I've been a lazy worker most of my life. I don't think I can describe to you how much of a slacker I could be. The best way I can think to give you an understanding of my slothful nature is a song by Tech N9ne, aptly titled "Slacker". In the song, Tech N9ne describes himself as a slacker, a draft dodger, and a generally untrustable source. It took me several years to realize it's a diatribe about slackers, not about who he is to the world. He was pointing his finger at those who cruise through life using someone else's work ethic, those who "skate by". I was so damn lazy about analyzing the song that I thought he made an anthem for people who "shirk their work or duty", as Tech says at the beginning of the song.


Those people seem to find their way to the top, sometimes, and that's discouraging. They are like children who flap their fingers toward their palms to draw attention to wanting a bottle. While children are certainly okay for acting that way when they're hungry, grown-ass adults who need to be mopping the floor and not fucking around, Dave(not sure if this joke hits or confuses, let me know), shouldn't have that type of attitude toward doing the work someone is paying them to accomplish for usually a third of their 24-hour day.


Anyway, in all my years of gas station clerking, shoe sales, the dreaded "retail", steel mill bitch work, sales, sales, and sales, I finally found film(a little triple alliteration for ya, yer welcome). Film, and all of it's intricacies, transformed me. The idea that if I applied myself hard enough I could create a series of images that speak to how I feel about something through a narrative, that blew my mind. Film allowed my monster out of it's cage and let it roam free for the world to see. I became a person with a solid work ethic. No longer did my laziness affect everyone at work. Now, my work is making really cool shit, and generally everyone I work with feels the same.




 Right, the image to the right is called "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali. The title itself doesn't have a lot to do with this essay, but the clocks melting away, and I suppose my interpretation of them, does. The concept of time, for some people, is a challenging notion. I've a family friend who's been in my life for 22 years this year, and she is always two and a half hours behind schedule. Want to go to a movie with her? Might as well see it yourself. Having a birthday and she's cooking half the meal? Well, good thing you made six pounds of mashed potatoes because that pasta salad she promised won't be here until after most of the hungry crowd has left. Anyway, I still love her. Her lack of grasp on time doesn't outweigh how much I care about her, despite the fact that "time" as a concept has existed for a couple thousands years, this year.


I say all that to say, filmmaking is not a place where laziness or poor timing works. As a short film director, if you're anything but early to my film set, you're late. And, you and the rest of the crew will know that you're late. I'm merciless in handing out "You Fucked Up" cards to anyone who isn't 15 minutes early for the set time I've told you to arrive. The wildest notion regarding my attitude toward time is, while many people and businesses promote the "if you're on time, you're already late" attitude, filmmaking, from my back yard to big-budget Hollywood films, is a career where that adage is practiced and lived by on all levels. I've worked with several people who think that filmmaking is a frenetic experience in that it happens when it happens. No, filmmaking is math and if your ass didn't bring the proper tools to set, and at the time you've been told to be there, you no longer have a job. 


There are millions of folks like me who struggle to get on film sets, and those of us who shoot our own films have a similar set of struggles. Because you can't show up on set a few minutes earlier than expected means a lot, and it is absolutely taken as a disrespect toward everyone who abides by the unwritten-but-well-spoken rule. Your choice carries a lot of weight when you disregard being early. This can apply directly to being on-time for plans with friends, just to curtail the curling of any short hairs someone might get thinking of someone telling them to be early for important functions.


You want to know something really cool? Because I attained a level of professionalism through filmmaking, my work life outside of film changed. I'm now consistently half an hour to fifteen minutes early for my audiovisual shifts every day. I spend that few minutes before my shift working up my knowledge of the day's routine, and I bring that professionalism to the job when I am being clocked. My boss told me several months ago that he had noticed how much better I was handling my time management. He took time out of his quite busy day to say he was proud of me for showing initiative to be early for work. That meant a lot because I spent so much time worrying about being on time and lived a life of stress dealing with my behavior. I was a slave to myself, in a sense. No longer. 


My dad tried instilling in me the "if you're on time, you're late" notion when I was a kid. It's a shame I wasn't ready to conceptualize it properly. I missed a connection with my father that I would have enjoyed sharing with him as an adult, myself. However, I didn't have film when he was trying to teach me, and I put a lot of my thankfulness into the concepts and guidelines set by film as an entire entity. My father would be proud that I'm early-on-time every day, and my emotional connection to responsibility and accountability have been strengthened because of these guidelines. Viva La Film.



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