Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Movies and Rockets

Let’s not fool ourselves. Making movies with no money is the same as trying to build rockets to fly to the moon in your garage. We know it’s pure lunacy and yet we still do it. It’s difficult and costly work that may or not pay off but we still do it. And we constantly ask ourselves why we’re doing it while we’re doing it. If you’ve made one film and want to do it again, you know you’re fucking batshit crazy.

I have a lot of ideas, I want to do a lot of different things and lack focus and organizational skills. (Don’t judge. I’m working on it.) Add a Libra’s indecisiveness and the fear of fucking it up to this equation and you have days, weeks, and sometimes even months and years of eternal farting around without finishing anything. This malady has a name. PARALYSIS.

I don’t remember getting to work this morning. As I drove all I did was think about what project I was going to commit to next and what my approach would be. I wrote and rewrote the screenplays in mind. Some were more along the crowd-pleasing side and others along the Teri-pleasing side. It’s difficult trying to decide between you and me until I remember I know what I like and I don’t have a goddam idea of what you like. This is why I can’t cut it in the Factory of Mainstream Entertainment. I won’t waste one second trying to figure out what people want because it’s phony and stupid. Remember: Nobody knows anything.

A friend recently sent me an excerpt where Louis C.K. talks about what he does and why he does it the way he does.

On being honest:

I like to do standup that's very honest. I don't think it's the only way to be a comedian. Some people the whole point of their act is that they're lying or being fantastic or really silly or absurd. I think Steven Wright is a great comedian. Nobody says, "God he's so honest." He's not one of those guys. He just has a whole different thing that makes him funny and makes him great.

For me, what guides what I decide to say or do onstage or not is, "Is this shit really true? Is this really shit you're thinking?" If it's not, you're gonna feel phony and stupid. I don't like phony. I don't like it for me.

There's times I've been getting huge laughs with a bit and then I look at it and I go, "But it ain't real." I don't really mean it. I just knew where to go to find laughs. So sometimes I throw that kind of material away after I kill with it a few times.

To me, it's not important on an integrity level. It's just that it's so much more fun to say shit that's really inside you, that really gnaws at your brain, and to share those thoughts with other people. And especially if they're thoughts that people aren't used to sharing in a humorous way, things that people aren't even used to saying out loud.

I mean beyond saying "fuck" and talking about sex. The really embarrassing unsaid truths. Those are really fun to tell an audience and have them laugh. It's something that I really enjoy. That's why I'm doing standup this way. It's because I like it.

If you are familiar with Louis’s work, you know the man picked himself over us. He does what he thinks is funny. And by reading the excerpt above you can see that it was a process that took a while to develop and embrace. By stripping away artifice and putting forth his truth, he's coming up with the funniest, most wicked and moving work anywhere.  Louis pretty much restates what I’ve heard over and over again from artists, filmmakers and writers I admire. Be honest, do what you love and you’ll reach the moon. That’s it.

I usually turn to Cassavetes and Tarkovsky when I need some cheerleading, but I’m adding this to my go-to list. I will do my thing with the hope that at least one person gets it. I’d rather be crazy than feel phony or stupid. No way.


Insomniacdee said...


delaynamichelle said...

Love this. Love, love, love. If you're not going to do what speaks to you, and your inner truth, then what's the point? If you're in it for the fame and fortune, you're in it for the wrong reasons.

Earl Newton said...