Saturday, September 18, 2004The Frustration of Creativity
Anyone who knows me at all well knows that right now I'm struggling to write a film. It's intended to be my graduation project for film school, a demonstration of my ability and development thus far. My intent has been to do the actual shooting in conjunction with the election, so I'm on a fairly pressured schedule to get the writing done... in fact, I'm already overdue. That fact is eased somewhat on the basis that this is only intended to be a short film, so the pre-production requirements are lessened somewhat, but still... I don't have a lot of time to get this screenplay done if I hope to film in November.
It's frustrating because even though I'm working as fast as I usefully can, I feel like my progress is grindingly slow. I'm not as good at the conceptualizing phase as I am at the development of a defined idea (especially when I'm working alone), and this always takes me a long time. The core theme of the project -- the relationship between creativity and politics -- hasn't really changed, but everything else has. I have pages and pages full of notes; looking back at older notes, I can see how different the film is compared to where it started. Characters have been added and dropped (and sometimes re-added and re-dropped); the structure has changed over and over again, and the emphasis has changed with it; and whole new elements have been brought in over time. Looking at it that way, I suppose, even though I haven't produced a whole draft yet, I've still been reasonably productive. I now know about 50 pages worth of what this film is not.
I know, intellectually at least, that I don't have to demonstrate my full genius in this film; it doesn't have to be such a big deal, I don't have to state a Great Truth in order to clear my film school requirement. But at the same time, I can't not take it seriously... I'm not into doing this half-assed. Moreover, while this doesn't have to be a masterwork, it is meant to be representative of what I've learned and what I'm capable of doing now, and it is the first time I'm likely to be judged on what I produce. There are people who will ultimately see and judge this film that, if I can, I would rather impress.
What I need right now is a draft. Just one full draft, even if it sucks. But god, I hate doing it. Writing has to be the most agonizing activity in the world.
PS: There is one thing y'all can help me with, if you're inclined. I'm trying to gather up a list of works of great politically-inspired art... not propaganda, not cheesy protest art, but the Great, universal stuff. Guernica. "Oh Captain, My Captain." That kind of thing, from any medium... music, film, theater, literature, photography, the visual arts, any and all of it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.