Friday, September 11, 2009

Tweak or Not to Tweak

Tweaking, tweaking, tweaking. I sit down to edit the film's screenplay, reading transcript after transcript. Then I sit at the computer, moving clips around on the timeline. I'm finatical about how this story is told. To the point where I am annoying myself.

If this clip goes here, it leads to this next one well. People will be able to handle new information if it goes in this order. But this is important, too. No, this should go here instead. Ok, this clip is a little too hard to understand.

The conversations in my head as I edit this film are almost laughable. I debate with myself over where a certain clip should go, who should be seen first, who says the message most succinctly or with the right tone in their voice.

Claude Monet painted the same subjects repeatedly. Different times of days. Studying the light and change in color obsessively. I'm no Claude Monet, but I do feel his finaticism and how it can consume someone.

My dad listens to me tell him these things. That I have been obsessing over it too much, and need to stop tweaking it. Dad tells me, "There's a beginning, a middle and an end to everything. Find the end. Get it finished."

My friend asks about the film, and hears me say something similar. I keep tweaking. Why do I obsessively tweak?! She tells me, "There's no second film if you never finish your first."

Yes, these things I know all too well. I carry them with me daily. The pressure mounts every moment. I so deseperately want to finish this film, and share it with the world. It's pertinent, and timely. It needs to be seen, shared. Not because of anything I may have done, but because the plight of the Montagnards is important. And for so many other reasons.

Tweak, tweak, tweak. I must stop tweaking, and keeping moving on. There is so much left to do, and I must get myself out of the way of progress.

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.

-Claude Monet

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Some of my friends talk to me about sacrifice. They don't open with that word, but it is at the heart of their rant. It seems our generation feels as if we are owed something, and you see this on the faces of older generations and as creative fodder for films. It's even so cliche that we have the "I hiked 15 miles in the snow--uphill" speech.

But what do my fellow young Americans really know of sacrifice? (We have friends and family serving overseas, so do not let me discount that sacrifice.) We are largely removed from what is happening outside our small, immediate world. My hasty generalization is that we choose to turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to what is happening overseas and in the world because it is a downer. It's not as hip to talk about war, policy, abandoment, persecution and human rights as it is to talk about reality television, fashion, and celeb gossip. At least, not in every social circle. Perhaps the media is to blame for not reporting on it. But that is a chicken-or-the-egg conversation: do they not report or do we not listen and thereby cause them not to report on it?

When I sat down with my Montagnard and Special Forces friends, the sacrifice did not immediately come pouring out. It took time for them to talk about it. Just as a well respected man is not boastful, these real American heroes are slow to show you their pain. Because it is very real. And still very present.