I'm watching Alien on DVD, and it is a harrowing and unpleasant experience. I hate horror films, I really do. They freak me out and the good ones keep me from sleeping well for days. I've always been suceptible to them, although now less than before. Still, especially when I'm alone in the house I shouldn't watch them. I think it's partly because of my dark and bitter worldview. It's not hard for me to imagine aliens and demons lurking in closets or air ducts or what have you. I have had visions of knives plunging into my chest when I close my eyes to go to sleep, and I basically had to train myself to be able to sleep at night when I'm alone or unsettled. When I was younger I'd just stay up until dawn and then collapse exhausted in the morning. Even now I think about the flimsy locks on our door and I wonder whether the outside world still exists on a regular basis. My world is quite lonely at times, I've been lonely the past few days for sure, and I feel detached from humanity at times like these, like other people might just be a dream on a desert island, like the internet is to me what the library is to that famous Twilight Zone character. I keep waiting for my glasses to break.
It's times like these that I would really like a relationship, if only to have a woman to be brave for. I'm good under crisis, but generally only when there are other people around. I find them re-assuring, let them do the panicking, and I am able to stay stoic and reasonable in the face of disaster. There's also the immersion factor of being alone. When another human is in the room, or even the house, with you, you have an anchor to reality and sanity. Without that you can be drawn through the screen, in terms of identification only of course, and left exposed and naked in a hostile film world. I think horror films on a good TV with surround sound at home are much more horrifying than they are in a theatre, where the rustle of popcorn bags and gasps of others serve as a buffer. In Space nobody can hear you scream, but alone in an apartment you can't hear anybody ELSE scream. Then there's the whole area identification thing. If you see a movie in a theatre you can slough it off when you leave and go home, to a different place. If you see it at home, though, then you can't change the site. It's burned into your location and you have to be around it and DEAL with the memory. I think it's tougher.
So why am I? Well Alien is a great horror film, a great sci-fi film, and just a great film in general. I am watching it to learn about the techniques of the 70s and to see some truly incredible production design. Do the scares still scare me? Yes. But I need to see the film more than I need to be comfortable, so that's that. Of course what I'm really wondering is why Ellen Ripley didn't pack a more practical pair of panties for her journey into space. If you're a hot babe, and she is, and you're going into Cryosleep near some horny dudes who MAY awaken before you, you want a nice pair of granny panties that is both warm and unattractive. Maybe a stain in the crotch. You don't want bare legs and butt cleavage, at least I don't think you do. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for butt cleavage on hot girls, and this film was more than 20 years ahead of its time, but as a character I think she would have brought a more practical panty. Future famous and current brilliant artist rscott claims that the butt cleavage is necessary for ventilation purposes, but I find that doubtful. Plus, do you really want to think about the male outfits with that little piece of information? Yeah, I thought not.
As a side note, if I ever get the chance to direct a horror picture I solmenly swear to try and avoid using lengthy periods of prolongued closeups to build tension and suspense. They are QUITE effective, but it's a cheap technique. "Oooh, look at the character, you have NO idea what's going on around him, he's vulnerable and confused and there are noises coming from the speakers and you won't have time to prepare yourself for the strike." To me it violates an element of the director/viewer cinematic bond, which states that we are in this together and I'm going to show you what's going on to the best of my abilities and let the camera be a friendly narrator. In those shots even the camera is against you, the director is saying "Identify with this terrified and all too mortal character while I fuck around behind your back and don't tell you what I'm doing." It's the equivalent of blindfolding someone and not telling them where you're taking them, just to enhance the surprise. I fucking hate that crap, even if it does work. Maybe I hate it in part BECAUSE it works. Ahh hell, if I was hired to direct a horror picture I'd probably break this promise in an instant if it would make it a more effective movie. A spoonfull of vinegar makes the sugar taste that much sweeter. I don't think I'd want to direct a horror picture anyway, but of course I wouldn't say no if asked. The middle film of my nascent trilogy (a complicated story, the formulation of which in my mind was a major reason why I decided I wanted to try directing, because I don't think I could achieve the vision I have for it with script alone) is something of a horror movie, although that is not its primary purpose.
Frankly I'm somewhat discouraged about the whole film thing. Jobs of any sort seem hard to come by, let alone one that will actually teach me anything. Working on my own project is going...okay. The first draft is almost done and there's some solid stuff in there. With a little editing I think it can be a fun little project. But we don't have a camera and the rebate deal I wanted to take advange of is over now. My 'partner' is incredibly unreliable and not particularly helpful, and I haven't been able to contact him in days. He said he went to Bali but didn't give any details or anything. I may have to produce it myself, which would suck since that's NOT what I want to do, and would be a significant setback. Am I giving up? Of course not, I have not yet begun to fight, but I am significantly not happy. Realistically I don't know if I should apply to any schools this fall or wait until next when I have some more experience. I'll still be young, not as young as I'd like, but young, and I need to pick this up. Terry Zwigoff didn't make anything until he was in his 40's, and I really respect some of his work, so guys like him are a strong inspiration to me. I see myself as an unpolished gem, as I really do believe I have talent despite what you naysayers may be naysaying or not saying, and I think the biggest thing standing in my way is my lack of confidence and patience. I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now. That's not going to happen, and that's okay. I will keep plugging away and doing what I can for now. If nothing comes up in a few more weeks I'll start saturation bombing my resume out and crafting good cover letters. I will also start working up some other small projects I can do on my own. I have fallbacks and sideplans and I just need to keep working whatever angles I can.
The thing is, most of the really successful creative types were shamless self-promoters who did all sorts of crazy shit and took all kinds of risks to get where they got. Neil Gaiman, for example, lied about what magazines he'd written for, while guys like Tarantino and Smith sunk every dime they had into unproven projects that made them. I have enough money to try such a project, but neither the balls nor the confidence in my own abilities.
I think I'll be happier as a marginal creative person than as a successful businessperson or academic, so I have to follow, as they say, my bliss. I will be profoundly dissapointed if I never produce anything of real artistic merit (in my own eyes, of course.) It wouldn't necessarily have to be a film, but I'd like to at least write a really good poem or short story, or work on an excellent television show, or SOMETHING. In truth I probably would be satisfied if I could have a positive impact in the political realm, but I don't want to be part of the filth of that world. I don't want that on me. Now an outsider commentator type? That could be fulfilling for me. In that respect I think the website job is good, as it could potentially lead to that. It's not just a dead end time waster. Plus there's the possibility of making a small documentary if it ever gets really interesting, and as an insider I'll have all kinds of access. So it fits in my schemes.
I feel bad that I haven't been able to produce much of merit in this journal, at least not with any kind of consistancy. I'm also self-conscious about the poor spelling and grammar, a result of my not bothering to edit it because I haven't been in an 'inspired' mood recently. I do feel like I'm coming out of whatever writers block I was in, but I'm still not as sharp as during those weeks during the semester when I was churning out a couple hilarious entries every few days. That just hasn't been possible with everything that has been going on, but I'd like to get back to it.
I want to be creative, I think I am, it's not showing through. I resolve to get some writing done tomorrow, and if I can finish a chunk I'll post it in my writing journal. Consider yourselves forewarned.