making a movie

My friend Jenna and I are making a film. This afternoon she's coming over for our second and hopefully final day of shooting. We'll probably make coffee and cut up fruit, chat, make a shot list. Then we'll get to work. 

Jenna likes and understands the story we're basing the film on, a fable I started in Montreal at the modern art museum and have been revising this spring. She gets it. She also knows how to translate it visually and I'm fascinated, watching her. I like working with another woman. She knows what she wants to see and she sets up all the shots.  I'm learning a lot about what will catch and hold the eye, what is distracting, what small things can communicate mood or move a story along. 

We're both learning how to use my DSLR. 

For a long time, filmmaking seemed prohibitively audacious to me. The idea of trying to realize such a complete and (in some ways) controlling vision was not only daunting, it was foreign. I assumed I simply did not have a complete vision for any of my creative work, much less the ability to make that kind of vision manifest. I even refrained from defining my characters too strongly by giving them names. 

As it turns out though, just going for it, complete vision or no, is tremendously liberating. And fun. Last week I found myself in the bed of a pickup truck, filming into the cab through the back window while we crawled along a range road at 10 km/h. 

I've had to get over my aversion to seeing and hearing myself on camera, fast. Not only am I one of the visual subjects, I narrate the voice-over. Over the past two weeks, I've spent hours at my kitchen table, reading into a recording app on my phone, listening, re-recording. Uncomfortable. Terrifying. But this is part of it, and something I've wanted to do for a long time. Poetry and stories both stand to gain so much from being inflected by a human voice. To hear something read aloud is, or can be, to have it communicated even more completely and profoundly. Which is, after all, the whole point. One day I'll figure out how to write something and then say it. 

The film is called boat. It'll be about six minutes long. We're hoping to have it finished by the end of this month.