I thought it might be good to take a look back at Soulmaker as a frame of reference, comparing what I've done to what I'm doing now. Even the early pictures I took while gathering materials and building this new set seem eerily the same as my posted images for Soulmaker.
Already, I've realized a few things. The set will be similar in size. In fact, looking back at these production pictures the new set will be almost exactly the same dimensions as the Soulmaker set, 12 feet by 13 feet. Why is this? The obvious reason is budget. I'm not working with a lot of monetary resources, which is fine. It's good for creativity, and what I do have I am very grateful for. I'm only one person. Part of the challenge I've set for myself and in reality mandated by the pandemic is that I'm doing all the work. I can do only so much by myself and have to keep my expectations in check, though I would give anything for higher ceilings.
Shooting location. I was fortunate to be given access to the basement of the sculpture building at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to shoot Soulmaker. The basement was not generally accessible to the public, so I could leave it up as long as I needed. Today, I am shooting this new film in the basement of my house. It too provides instant access for filming at anytime that an idea might strike. It also affords me the freedom to not worry about accommodating others needing to use a shared space. This is a luxury I relish and it certainly aids or enables depending on how you look at it, my working process. It's probably a bit of both, but I do take my time.
These reasons are technical in nature, but there is more to it than just the technical. Themes are similar too. Entrapment and the desire for escape seem to run through both stories. During the Covid-19 pandemic we've all been sequestered, sheltering in place, removed from the world around us. The Soulmaker was stuck in his workshop, aware of the outside world, of others moving beyond his walls and desiring to push to the other side, another plane of existence. For months we too watched from afar as the world spun out of control. For some it was or still is, devastating, for others not much changed in the day to day lives. Many of us continue to be careful and courteous refusing to throw caution to the wind.
I'm sure the type of relationship we each have with social media plays an important role in how we receive and process our information. It is too obvious that sometimes this is not a good thing. It is a difficult and sometimes destructive addiction that masquerades as being helpful and necessary. Of course it can actually be helpful. I know this first hand, but at what cost? There will always be a love hate relationship with social media. I often wonder how much more I would accomplish, how less frustrated and demoralized I would be about my own creative process if I wasn't acutely aware of others' creative progress, by how much is being created by others every day. Time to focus on what I do well, even if it is a slow process.
Parting quote from Robert Bresson which I find relates to my own cinematic image making. I'm sure I'll reference this quote again in the future.
A sigh, a silence, a word, a sentence, a din, a hand, the whole of your model, his face, in repose, in movement, in profile, full face, an immense view, a restricted space...Each thing exactly in its place: your only resources.