unreasonable behaviour

Why would you set yourself a limit of 25 days to make even a short movie? Well the Filmonik newsletter lands in your inbox and you think 'yeah, I'll do something for the next screening'... in just under a month's time.

Except that's not quite it - you already have an idea sitting in your notebook that you think can be turned into something right away. But no, there's more to it - the previous week you filled out an application for a creative writing MA and already started thinking about how you'd like to make the most of your studies if you get on the course. You mention how you'd like to explore other media as a vehicle for poetry. So that's idea #1 - other media, specifically film, as a vehicle to explore poetry.

Then on the Saturday you stumble across the BFI's Free Cinema box set for only £10, so you buy it and see 1950's documentary/realist shorts made for almost nothing, within severe technical restraints, and often with little prior experience. Or some of them, it's just short of 8 hours. So that's idea #2 - financial, technical and experiential limits.

On the Sunday evening instead of going to Filmonik you go to see the Corsano/Flower Duo live (Chris Corsano here and Vibracathedral Orchestra with Michael Flower here - more another time), and it's fucking tremendous. Now every time you expose yourself to new art of any kind you explode with ideas, you also have good ideas when you're walking, so walking home for about an hour after a top gig is really good. Initially you're thinking about film ideas, and things you can do cheaply, so you write three pages trying to apply brute force to the concept of a wordless film about fugue states. But it's going nowhere, so you put the notebook back in your pocket and start thinking about other things. One of those things is what you put in your MA application about using other media for poetry. And out of the blue the utterly spurious concept of 'documentary poems' comes to you, in fact the terrible concept of 'documentary poem films' comes to you. You don't know what the hell that would be but the chances are it would be an abomination. The few things you might describe as 'documentary poems' have been pretty rank, and with only a few exceptions (Helen's 22:00 being one - sorry, couldn't find a link) attempts to film poetry tend to be shit. But you decide to develop this idea doomed to failure and come up with two manifestations of it you could probably make work as part of a creative writing course, and again put the notebook back. In a short while though you have the idea for a third distinct manifestation of 'documentary poem film' that again might work, and which fits well with written poems you've produced in the past. So that's idea #1 refined - a specific concept for a 'documentary poem film'.

Filmonik send you the newsletter for the screening you missed late on Tuesday, which you pick up on Wednesday morning. At that point you abandon all sense and send off an email saying you'd like to screen a film of about 4-5 minutes, to be a 'documentary poem film' and provisionally called Tramp Ahead. Even though you haven't shot a single frame yet. So that's idea #3 - applying the first two ideas to a film to be finished in 25 days.

And the folly doesn't end there. You're going to need a tripod but you don't currently have one. There's going to have to be sound but you've no idea what - you're not a musician, copyright material's out of the question, you don't have a mic you can hook up to your computer, and the mic on your camera's so shit that sounds from that source are worthless. Never mind that you're in full time work, that you have no script or schedule, and that you're pretty much spent-up for the month. Though you do go out and buy a cheap notebook so you can start documenting the process, referencing other work, and even plan things - especially the poem and the edit if you ever get that far.

I'll try to record what happens on the blog as well, especially any disasters, which are always good for a laugh.


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