Absurdist Beckettian fun.
I am probably not going to finish this video. I am very excited about that. The reason for not finishing it: the significance of the video could never nearly equal the gravity of what I learned from making it.
I finally understand what I have been doing as an artist for the last 5 years well enough to objectively describe.
I am an actor who trained as a playwright over a period of 10 years. As a writer, I reached a level of mediocrity beyond which I cannot rise. The process of art involves not just creativity, but also the ability to render one's ideas in a form that communicates those ideas to a viewer. The ability to render one's ideas involves "practice, practice, practice." Practice is a complicated process that I believe involves negotiating, transversing, creating connections between the parts of the brain and experience that make rendering an idea into recognizable form, possible.
I will never be the brilliant writer that I always wanted to become because I achieved only competency in negotiating, transversing, creating the connections in my brain that are necessary to render ideas into a written story.
As an actor, I am not a "natural." I had to work my ass off to burrow through an unbelievably (to me, who always thought I was sincere and honest), densely constructed, tediously, and carefully maintained load of my own pure, unadulterated crap. The good thing about a load of an actor's own crap is how much information can be mined from it. It's a beautiful thing, really, since crap is a renewable resource.
In a cavern in a canyon - that's where I have worked ever since I retired from stage acting 6 years ago and became a real actor by mining my own crap and coming face to face with myself. Before I retired, I had the great opportunity to work with directors, actors, and acting teachers and coaches, who by their good example helped me keep the faith that I would eventually would be able to make something of myself and my crap as actor.
Acting is how I learned to hit the ground running inside my brain and negotiate the the connections that are necessary to render ideas into a story. I am not a scientist and I do not know why it is so easy for me to sit in from a camera, start talking and improvise an intricate story. I do not know why I do it with ease as opposed to facing an impenetrable obstacle when I try to do it facing a blank screen or piece of paper. However, I have a theory why it is so. That is that it is my characters create their own world and then create their own conflicts; and in the world of the characters, the stories of the resolution of their conflicts unfolds in improvisations by the character.
Exactly that: I find a character (though sometimes it seems like the character finds me and screams for days until I respond to it), turn on the camera, put her/him in front of it, and no matter what happens, stay in character until the beats are played out; and the beginnings (usually backstory) of the resolution of conflict begins in the world that the character also begins to create.
I have been doing exactly that and getting better at it since 2007. And I don't know how many times I've told myself "I don't believe you - that sounds like a lie. Start over." I have practiced practiced practiced, and learned to move with courage and even joy through my own shit. I have learned to negotiate my brain and let my characters make up better stories than I will ever be able to write.
My characters wear clothes I wouldn't, usually also makeup I don't know why they would go to that much trouble for, and eventually, one of them will probably want a purple outfit (I have a morbid hatred of the color purple). They are dumber than I am, smarter than I am, more pessimistic or cynical that I can even imagine, more liberal or conservative than I am, homosexual, and even male. They are interesting, and they get into all sorts of conflict, the kind that I live too simply anymore to have myself. I love them, but I am glad that I am not any of them; and if they were real people, they probably would be glad of that also.