***Warning, mature subject matter that some might find disturbing***
"That terrible mood of depression of whether it's any good or not is what is known as The Artist's Reward. " Ernest Hemingway
Isolation is a short film about a writer in 1980's Baltimore that is waiting for the reviews of his first published novel. Taking place in one room, we feel the struggle of Timothy Witelee, played by Timothy Lee Depriest, as he wrestles with anxiety, depression and self doubt.
Anyone working in the creative industry understands the dark side of creativity. The long standing myth of the tortured genius has endured through time, and new science has added to the validity. While not all artists are tortured, creatives are more likely to suffer from mood disorders than the general population.
This film is for all those that struggle with the creative process and the toll it takes on one's mental health. Clinical studies have found that creatives were nearly 20% more likely to suffer mental illness than the general population. In fact, other studies have also found that people in arts related professions were four times more likely to commit suicide than other fields.
I made this short to help myself process my own struggles with mood disorders as well as exercise my filmmaking skills. Martin Scorsese once said that if you make films that are personal to you and your experiences, they will be authentic. In making the transition from still photographer to film director, I needed to stretch my creativity and tell a complex, difficult story. To ensure authenticity, I heeded Scorsese's wisdom and wrote a script that personally resonated with my own experiences.
Isolation sheds a light on what few people ever speak about, mental health. It takes a great mental toll to create, and often the bigger the project, the more pressure is on the line and the toll can become too much to levy. We have seen this from the greatest creative minds the world over.
Two of my favorite creatives, Hemingway and Van Gogh, both took their own lives. The statistics are mind blowing. Simon Kyaga led a team of researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and studied 1.2 million Swedes. The study concluded that people working in creative fields including dancers, photographers and authors, were 8% more likely to live with bipolar disorder. Most alarming was that writers were 121% more likely to suffer from the condition. Writers were also 50% more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
Anyone that has work good enough to be on this platform can understand this quote from the great Robert Hughes,
“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
My hope is that anyone who watches this understands more about the creative struggle and its mental toll. Creatives, both established and emerging, all suffer the same doubt, the same questions of self worth, and the battles of the mind.
You are not alone.
There were many, many creatives that helped me make this project. I must extend a huge extension of gratitude to the team, attached are their instagram handles. Please follow them!
Actor - Timothy Lee Depriest - @billytombs
Editor - Matt Beauchesne - @mbeauchesne1
Producer - Jasmine Pombert - @jasminepombert
Assistant DP - Cody Gless
Production Design - Michelle Patterson - @ottermaterpoeia
Assistant Camera - Daniel Mayfield - @mayfieldmedia
Gaffer - Mark Peery - @markdpeery
Boom Operator - Humberto ‘Beto' Cabral
Colorist - Marshall Plante at Olio Creative - @oliocreative @donmarsholio
Sound Design & Mix - @740.sound