Thursday, August 20, 2009

process people, it's a process

it's one of those things that unless you do it, you don't get it. it is the ultimate you had to be there. and by there, i mean in there. the masses of amazing people who consumer, enjoy, delight in watching movies, reading books and listening to music are as integral to the process as the act of creating itself. however, as one of those creators (perhaps aspiring is more accurate until i grow a more substantial following of consumers) who is often confronted with why don't you just do it, why don't you do more and more often... it isn't that easy.
in fact i am surprised and you ask almost any writer/composer/director - we'll lump them as creator for our purposes here- and they might just tell you that it is astounding that there are as many quality books/movies/music etc. out there as there are.

last night it was as gratifying as it was frustrating to hear an audience of fans pressing Quentin Tarantino about his product (mostly Inglorious Basterds as it was the premiere, but his other work as well) past, present and future. With few exceptions the inquiries probed scratched about as if QT had been blessed by Fairy Godmother of movies and that he has only to open his mouth and the script appears ready-to-wear, or even that he hangs out smoking joints before he sits down and simply chunks it out, well aware of not only the beginning, middle and end but the cool bits that fill it out. The fan base and my own consumer group too seem to take the concept of INSPIRATION- the act of drawing in to the lungs- quite literally. More than four times he had to preface his reply with- I didn't know that when i started. That wasn't my original intention. I've been working on this for more than 10 years. I don't know yet.- and the like.

The questions all seemed to assume that a project starts with an idea- and that the finished project is a destination with the idea as a map. He used a few good analogies - it's like knowing where someone's house is and you can get there, but that doesn't mean you can give directions, you have no map and you probably won't take the most direct route there. You know where you are now, you think you know or remember what the house looks like but you can't confirm with detail until you get there. He also equated the writing process to mountain climbing- you don't just walk to the top of Everest- you have to prepare, you have to adjust along the way to things you can't predict and it never looks or feels like you think it will once you reach the top. Then there is dealing with your success once you have arrived and descend. (Okay, so most of that is me adding my own embellishment, but you can see where his original nuggets are, no?)

The best part for me was sitting so close, making eye contact throughout and asking the only writing process related question and observation. Likely he has forgotten the red-head in the front row of the incredible Castro Theatre at his first San Francisco premiere, wearing the hot pink SUPER PISTOLS t-shirt who hasn't seen all of his movies but totally groks his writing process. alas, i'm confident we'll cross paths again and then i can give him my own sage advice- it's never Frisco.

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