“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I sat in my seat and scowled.
“What the fuck?” I thought…
The lights were dim in the historic Michigan Theater, located smack dab in downtown Ann Arbor. This 84-year-old building is the home of the longest running, experimental film festival in North America.
42 minutes ago, I was really excited.
A belly full of hors d’oeuvres, a few India Pale Ales, and the prospect of watching a boatload of independent films had me in the finest spirits.
I love independent cinema.
There is more truth in a film that must be produced through sheer will. Plus, you just never know what kind of film you will see.
Hollywood movies follow a predictable formula: Attractive main character has a problem. They meet an attractive co-star. There are hints they will fall in love, but they don’t quite yet. They have a witty, but ugly friend who is always hanging around. Just when we think everything will work out for them… it doesn’t. Shoot!
But then miraculously it does. We are all happy now.
AND as I sat in my velvet covered seat intensely watching the 22-foot screen, I should have been happy too, except I wasn’t.
The films sucked.
They were very subtle, poorly shot, or visually incomprehensible. The worst was a film about Mickey Mouse that was slightly altered and repeating one scene over and over and over and over again.
I watch films to be inspired, moved, and struck in the face with beauty, but these films seemed more like a boring puzzle that I couldn’t quite figure out.
“Why would anyone make these?”
I kept watching hoping that the next film would be better, but they were all pretty disappointing.
Afterwards I thought it might have been me. It does take a lot of patience to watch experimental films.
I asked a new friend of mine what he thought (I was hosting a projectionist from Colorado, who was in town for the festival).
Of course, he said he loved them. He mentioned the films I hated the most and talked about how great they were. He loved the subtle nature of them and how they highlighted a beautiful moment that most people wouldn’t notice.
My jacket pocket was stuffed with tickets (in exchange for hosting filmmakers or projectionists, the festival gives you a pocketful of tickets), so I went back. Twice.
I was hoping for one of those magic moments of epiphany… LAAAA!!! and a light comes from heaven to share some deep wisdom with me.
Nope… I was pretty bored once again.
But that was it… that was what I was missing.
I was so waiting to be socked in the face with entertainment, inspiration, and some fucking WOW-ness that I was missing what was there… mostly because my expectations were all out of whack.
I’m make online films and the rules are different.
I focus all of my attention on smacking you up, down, and sideways in the first 10 seconds of a film, so you don’t go clicking off to watch another Justin Bieber video. Every aspect of my filmmaking revolves around jamming as much UUUUMMMMPPPPHHHHHH into my videos as I can.
CRAM IT IN THERE!!!!!!
When I watched these films, my brain was calling these artists a bunch of lazy, conceited douches for not making my eyes implode with overstimulation.
It would have been easy to walk away and go find my shit.
There are countless movies that would jazz up every cell in my body and they are available online. It is easy to do now that there is a website based on every specific interest possible.
But I wanted to look a little deeper into my boredom.
When I come upon something that I don’t get, I like to look into the mystery and see if I can find anything sparkling hidden in there.
So… I decided to make my own experimental film.
Doing is the best way to learn. Thinking can only take you so far.
Creating this film was an excellent lesson that I need to mix the whole thing up again.
I found my calling, my purpose, and my definition by taking a year off to experiment with everything that came my way as I hitchhiked around the USA.
I love vegetables, because I experimented with eating a lot of them on a 30-day raw diet.
I like jazz, because I spent years listening to it, despite thinking that it all sounded the same. Maybe I’ll love it, if I keep at it.
Are you experimenting enough?
When you travel, do you find yourself restless to always move on to the next place?
Are you bored with your work?
Does your boyfriend seem a bit dull now that you know him well?
Are you excited to travel one day, but are tired of your current city?
Reinvest yourself and focus on finding the SPICE in your current situation.
“If you are bored, it is your own fault.” – Untitled
I read this quote in a magazine a few years back and it has stuck with me.
I will probably never be an experimental filmmaker. It just isn’t my shit.
I’m an online filmmaker. I love creating dense, action-packed mouthfuls of inspiration that anyone can slurp in their jammies.
But I will learn from this experiment to be the best mother fucking online filmmaker I can be.
What could you experiment with to go forward on your own adventure?
Write what you will experiment in the comments below (or give some encouragement to someone who has shared).
Here is 1 minute of fiery inspiration. This film was created from 60 photographs I took at a recent party of mine. A couple of my friends spin fire poi and I took some long exposure shots of their show.
Of course, I had to WHIZ, JAM, SPARKLE, and POP all over this film. Check it out:
Please tell your friends about our 5-day adventure too. 5 things that scare you: 5 days, 1 every day. You can join here.