A well told story might give the impression that anything we encounter along the way might have a use to solve a problem down the line. Watching a lot of Hollywood movies, this is especially reinforced. Ideally, nothing is wasted and anything can have a through-line. Back to the Future has layers of that in its construction. What if your life is all about movies, even for decades, and that information either culminates in a future making movies or it does not? What if you are spinning wheels as a know-it-all and there is no reward for that?
What can go through your mind are motivated frame, when to use selective focus, when to cut on an active frame (leaving a blurred piece of the person running through), and why story boarding is more satisfying that leaving the images to the cinematographer. But another aspect of movie immersion is that while empathy extends to the characters (fictional or otherwise) on screen, the heightened emotion and stakes can overwhelm our identification and as they say in Fight Club “turn the volume way down” on the everyday issues of reality.
What comes to mind is the Delroy Lindo musician character at his piano and ignoring his family in Spike Lee’s Crooklyn. Or the depressed and neglectful father Mel Gibson plays in Jodie Foster’s The Beaver. Time accelerates and I can be grateful if anyone has a fond impression of me despite my preoccupied disposition. When I had some luck with grants a couple of times in the early 2000’s, I could justify being in that head space. I may be a better writer now and have more resources, but I have to get over being fed up with people and their own goals which may not mesh with my own. I can prepare something for a year and see it fall apart because I have been doing “producer” work for which I have no particular knack instead of simply writing and directing. But a lot of people are in that boat, including big directors from the Eighties who find themselves having to do what a producer might do – and as a result not generating many movies of late.
I may not like green screen, but I may use that where I did not expect to, just to simplify the logistics of projects. I am eager to get actors on camera bringing to life certain scenes, even if I have to comp them into scale models. That might be where more of my focus goes in the months ahead. It also allows for having as few people around as possible in the post-Covid world. And in an industry where people skills and connections will trump a knack for choosing the best shot for each beat of a scene, or the most appropriate transition between scenes, it will be more tempting to let the movie in my head overwhelm the conversations around me. It will be vital to prepare people for that aspect of my psyche. So people know they are not being ignored or under valued if I am in a daydream state or concentrating on something not yet there.