When I stay away from things
In my first year, I stayed away from writing. Writing is something I know well and I feel comfortable with. I wrestled with my tendency to keep its place in the things I was trying to make. I subjected myself to the much less comfortable and familiar medium of film.
In making film, I stayed away from uninformed choices. I stayed away from this notion of freedom that "I can make whatever I want." I tried to learn proper forms. That was my research, and it was excruciating. I watched lynda.com tutorials and asked for the "correct way" to operate a camera and a sound recorder. I learned to stabilize my camera with my tripod. I learned to use premier. I was stressed the first time I was syncing audio with video.
I called this process a penance — I was choosing to do the things that pained me and exhausted me because I felt like an idiot around the medium, not to mention the craft of it. In order to overcome my clumsiness I tried to put something out constantly, all the while aware, annoyingly, that something was not quite there.
I placed a heavy weight on feedback. I felt I relied on others to see, because I was not sure if I was seeing what I saw, or if I could now express what I saw.
I took on an editing project with a graduating MIARD student and felt quite shit as I went through the materials. It was labor, mental and physical. During the same time, I interned at a bakery. I always had a romantic association with being a baker. (I was a home-baker in the US.) It turned out that standing on your feet for 10 hours a day while lifting 10kg flour bags would be the opposite of romantic.
I felt I was never doing enough. I knew there was something wrong with this kind of thinking and doing. It came from a deeper place. (e.g. moving to a new country, living from family support, etc.) I was in a kind of darkness whose end I tried to see and whose space I tried to feel. Trying and trying and trying.
In making film, I stayed away from essay films, or — from the days I did not look into this term — films with a clear presence of a voiceover. The second film I made during the Master's had a voice component. I didn't want to do the voice and asked someone else to do it. I wanted the voice to be the voice of a character... I ended up doing the voice after Simon commented the voice felt totally detached, "a voice of a BBC announcer where what you are looking for is a whisper." I felt I did not want to expose myself like that after recording the voice.
At the time essay film seemed quite narcissistic. I disliked a voice on top of montages. Sometimes they sounded like pretend poetry. Sometimes there is a story — I call it an outcry — too much telling, too much declaring, too much imposing words onto images and making images pretty illustrations...