More Sunday ramblings

I know I’m blogging a lot today, but I guess it’s just one of those days when I have a lot I feel I need to get off my chest, even though it’s not really directed at anyone or any topic in particular. Just a lot of disjointed ideas that could probably turn into one or maybe several really good blog posts if I sort of nurtured and developed each one individually.

But fuck it, there’ll be more ideas. So I’ll just dump them out as they come…

For instance, I was thinking how a few days ago I was listening to Louis C.K. on the Marc Maron WTF podcast. It was kind of a serious podcast because he and Maron had some history and a lot to talk about, so he wasn’t really joking around much. But he was talking about anxiety and somehow, as it often does with Louis, the topic of masturbation came up. Louis said that all kidding aside, wacking off is a great way to relieve built up anxiety. And that got me thinking about this kid I was good friends with in high school, and one time he let it slip that he beat off an average of 3 – 5 times a day. A day. And at the time we all giggled and made fun and thought he was some kind of masturbating troll with two arms of grossly different sizes wacking away in the soft light of his laptop. Which is funny. But he was also a good friend of mine, and I remember him telling me how he was a “worrier” and had a lot of anxiety all the time. And I never really put the two together until today, several years later. I guess wacking it really can be a legitimate way to relieve stress, or maybe just escape from the pressures of life and reality for six minutes or so.

I was also thinking today about…sort of the whole dynamic between leaders and followers, though I don’t really like those terms. I was talking to my friend yesterday about a mutual friend of ours who has helped me on video projects in the past…

Now, me, I’m the type of person that sort of has to be a director. In any project I work on or collaborate with people on, I always have a desire to take charge and steer the ship. I get all these ideas and if I’m not the one in charge, I can’t implement them and I get frustrated and annoyed at my subservient position. I can get a big ego at times and I often don’t want to follow other people’s ideas or chase their “vision” because their vision sucks and mine is better. So that’s kind of the attitude that makes people become directors. I guess that’s a better term than leader.

And I was talking to my friend yesterday about this girl who, by her own admission, is not a director. Though she wants to work in film, she’s one of the few people I know who isn’t really trying to be a director. She’s not very visual and cinematography is not her strength. But she loves to be on set, and if I’m shooting something and need a crew, there’s no one I’d rather have by my side. Why? Because she can organize things, get people into place, and take care of details and stuff so I can better focus on my directorial duties. People like that are essential to a successful shoot. Just because they’re not leading the creative vision doesn’t make them followers. That term is ugly and has negative connotations. The truth is a brain is useless if it’s not connected to any muscles to actually make things happen. And a world full of directors would just be a war of egos and nothing would ever actually get done. So I appreciate her and people like her and I’m glad that not everybody is like me, because you need a bit of both.

But following can be bad at times. I have this group assignment for a class, and I met today with the group members so we could discuss how exactly we were gonna tackle our project. While we were bouncing ideas around I was sort of disturbed by how much the other people restricted their brainstorming because they were afraid of “what the teacher would think.” Our professor has a reputation of being a tough grader, and the thinking processes of my group members was almost like they were navigating a mine field, careful not to decide on something the professor may not really like, resulting in us getting a dreaded C+ or something.

You know what the professor likes? The professor likes good work. So if you ask me, fuck the details she may or may not be in favor of. If we get struck by an idea that we think would work well for our project, let’s roll with it. Nothing is more attractive than self-confidence. If you get caught up in worrying about what the professor may or may not like, you’re gonna come out with one boring-ass forgettable product. You’ve got to take some risks and have faith in your own abilities if you really want to impress anybody. Especially because most people really have no idea what the fuck they want specifically, but everybody knows when they see something they like or don’t like.

So yeah in those scenarios I don’t think being a follower is too beneficial.

I was sort of thinking about beginnings and endings too. Though my world is film, this applies to any narrative really, whether a novel or a play or even a poem. I’ve read before in some of my screenwriting books that if you don’t like a movie in the first 10 minutes, you probably aren’t going to like the rest. And for the most part it’s weirdly true. The beginning of a movie sort of sets the tone of the whole piece and ideally introduces you to all the major players. You learn who you are supposed to side with in this movie, and if you can’t relate with them in the first 10 minutes, you’re gonna have a tough time empathizing with their problems and giving a shit what happens to them in the film. These days, if I start a movie on Netflix and can’t get into it in the first 10 or 15 minutes, I shut it off and watch something else. Even if they’re notoriously great movies. There’s just too much out there to waste your time on something you’re not really that into. Hell, I haven’t even seen Alien because when it came on TV one time years ago, I couldn’t sit through the first 10 minutes and shut it off.

And endings are even more important. The ending is everything. It’s why we’re there. You spend all this time building this world and the characters to populate it and the conflicts that make us care, all to lead to an ending. An ending doesn’t necessarily have to be good, it just has to be satisfying – and there’s a difference. A satisfying ending leaves you feeling like the conflict was resolved. Like you got the whole story, even if you didn’t like the outcome. You can have a really satisfying ending that not everybody is going to like, and conversely you can gave a really awesome ending that doesn’t really resolve anything. But if I could pick, I’d go with the former every time because if your ending isn’t satisfying, you’ve just wasted everybody’s time. What you have is a fragment. It’s like a house without a roof. So a lot of writers advise that you think of your ending before you start writing. At least have a general idea of how you want things to end up, rather than just typing away and seeing where it takes you.

So yeah those were just some things bouncing around in my head today, and I had to get them out before going to bed…