🎶Excuse me while I run... I really gotta get outta here...🎶
Click HERE to listen to today's writing inspiration song, Excuse Me, by the band Nothing But Thieves, on Spotify!
Do you think the best medicine for what ails you(emotionally) is doing whatever you want? I think so, sometimes. But, when I've got the freedom to do what I want, I'm sometimes stuck in a shitty loop where I just stare at my phone and my social media pages.
As a writer, director, cinematographer, producer, actor, painter, lover of arts and one of the strongest farters you've ever met, I can justify spending most of my life staring at a screen, for "learning" purposes. Most of what I do as a profession is viewed on a screen of some kind, be it a phone, laptop, or movie theater.
But, if I'm being honest(silly turn of phrase considering my life is spent in turmoil for being openly honest), I spend way too much time piddling around, staring at things that don't fulfill the vision for my life. I watch a lot of YouTube, just random dead-space kind of stuff like "10 Times Marilyn Manson Out-Classed Interviewers", or one of millions of food recipes I've yet to actually complete on my own, despite my best efforts to convince myself one day I will try to make that pizza pot pie, dammit.
I maximize my wasted effort to learn from films and comics when I'm lying in bed on my back, phone in air, staring deeply into some dumb-ass article I've no real business reading or can even draw inspiration from. I'm not dissing media as an entire entity.
I have grown tired over how quickly I fall into an M-hole when I pull out my phone before bed. I've got a literal stack of comics at my bed, around twenty issues of Dark Horse and some Marvel and DC I've yet to read, a mixed bag of sorts, and I'm staring into my phone.
To further insult myself, I've an 1,100-page Rising Stars compendium at the desk, too. And, if I get out of bed and reach six feet, I have a box of around 100 comic books and about 15 graphic novels. Many of the novels I've already read, but the point I'm making is I'm sucked into my screen and there's all this beautiful artwork and paper material at my fingertips. Yet, I'm under-utilizing all of this in favor of being daftly attentive to a device I'm almost always touching or fiddling with, even when it's in my pocket.
I still love paper media. Digital comics are fine and all, and I prefer the smell of a thirty-year-old comic coming out of the slip cover for the first time in a few years. I like the texture of paper under my fingers. I love the dulled but vibrant coloration of fading ink on paper from years of sunlight.
I think what separates genius and normality is partly synaptic ability in the brain and just flat-out laziness on part of the person with the intellect that collects info better than others. I'm not downplaying being normal, nor am I saying I'm a genius, though I am using genius as an example. I have all of this vast knowledge at my fingertips and I'm found watching things that don't spiritually complete my own desires, and somehow I'm neither mad nor okay with it when I'm watching.
When I've spent three hours inside of my phone, only to realize I didn't take away all that much, that's the problem I have with being attached to my device and the news I can find. I'm personally not studying the things I need to to make my life as a filmmaker better or smoother.
I mean, I study my ass off when it's time to. I spent all of three months researching Western film techniques and watching movies that had a style I was looking to employ for my film, Sun. I do enact studying when I need to. What I do with my free time feels like I'm just fucking around too much.
In fact, the act of studying very specific film languages, genres and types of shots is what led me to realize how I know this is true. Over time, I'd forgotten that repetition of an act breeds comfort. So, when we were shooting a shot for Sun, and I knew that shot to have originated in other films, I knew how to spend my time getting that shot to look the way I wanted it to. There was only one time during filming where I had a shot in mind that didn't work. I couldn't "find the frame"* I wanted because I hadn't studied how to make it happen.
I was watching Logan during the second morning of shooting Sun and saw a shot I thought I could recreate in a few minutes. It was a foolhardy errand once I got five actors into position and it wasn't working out. I had only spent fifteen minutes kicking the idea around at the time, and since I'd never shot anything remotely like that shot before, I had no precedent at which to have set before making the determination I'd shoot the shot in that way.
^ Lots of words mean I hadn't spent three months baking shot plans like I'd done for every other shot in the film, so it was much more difficult to make the shot work out the way I wanted given I'd only spent about a bathroom break's worth of time on the idea...
I guess I'm griped at how gripped I am to my phone, and how little learning I do some days. Many days, I will read about the world and how it's revolving, the goings-on in it, and I enjoy reading non-fiction mysteries. I fell into the trap of using my phone as a catharsis and not a tool for learning, over time. I suppose realizing this is the first step.
The steps afterward require some concentrated effort to not watch bullshit like album "reaction" videos. I can't fully grasp the "reaction" genre on YouTube, though I do like some of them. There's a lot to be learned from another person's perspective of a song or a film, though not all of it is as informative as I'd like.
This cathartic effect, teamed with Facebook's eye-catching technologies and all the synaptic stuff they've played with has run racket on my brain. I can remember a time when my brain wasn't loaded down with garbage.
I feel like if my head were a trashcan and I was standing beside it looking down into it, the can would be overflowing onto my feet, the contents of Youtube videos about professional wrestling has-been's and 10 Gaming Moments That Made You Say WTF covering my red Converse All-Stars.
I don't know where I'm going. Maybe, just watch what you're watching and how long you're staring at your screen? That's basically what I'm saying. Assess how much time you spend on your back in the dark, staring at your phone before bed.
The blue light fries your circuits and makes sleeping harder, even if you're dog tired. Simply having your phone on beside your bed emits brain-altering wavelengths. Science, bitches. Turn that shit off and keep it away from bed, if you can.
It's okay for me to not do what I want to when I want to, too. It cannot be healthy to watch videos over and over and then go right to bed. It's time I dive back into comics more, crack open my cinematography books and psychology texts and expand this giant fucking brain I've got.
My big ol' waterhead deserves to feel smart. I know your big-ass melon does, too. Let's get back into our books and into our Kindles, if we must, and spend more time reading books. I'm pretty sure the act of reading a book makes geniuses out of people.
I want to be a genius, at the very bottom of my thinking. At the very top of my thinking, I keep dropping my phone on my face and I've begun hitting the bottom of YouTube's search engine results. Shit's getting real weird.
*a filmmaking term which means to put the characters, interactions, setting, props, etc. into the frame at a very specific compositional angle and movement