Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Astruc's Curse

"they were in good spirits, scrubbed and combed, clean shirts all. each foreseeing a night of drink, perhaps of love. how many youths have come home cold and dead from just such nights and just such plans."
p38 'Blood Meridian' Cormac McCarthy
Only days away from a due draft, still lost in the throes of untangling and retying the threads of the script, the only consolation is to pretend the process is much harder than it actually is. There is no fun, no intensity, and ultimately, no genuine achievement in the act of writing without pretending it is, at least, a little bit, in the realms of life or death... Even though much of the day is, in truth, spent passing long periods of time staring out the window, moving from keyboard to pen to paper scraps and back, making elaborate stocks and pastes, delving the depths of the web for inspiration/distraction, watching favourite old films to see what can be elegantly/secretly stolen ("We all steal, but if we're smart we steal from great directors. Then, we can call it influence." - Krszystzof Kieslowski), and reclassifying CDs and book shelves. Still, it is epic and bloodthirsty and worthy of legend.

In reality, outside of the glare of the spotlights, this past week has, in the face of the approaching deadline, been spent working on another project in the Torres Strait of the Northern tip of Australia. It is another project in our long term collaboration with the Black Arm Band, an ensemble of some of Australia's greatest indigenous singer songwriters. This one will involve a vast, illusory, dreamlike backdrop to a new suite of songs sung in language for this year's Melbourne Festival. So, in pursuit of this, T and I took off with one of the new Canon 5D Mark II cameras and a few lenses and spent time finding a place between photography and moving image. This fricking camera is all over the web now, with people blogging and testing and ranting but it is truly something extraordinary. It is certainly as close to the Camera Stylo as I can ever imagine holding in my hands.

With Astruc on my mind and this incredible new tool in my backpack, it is certainly hard to imagine how the process of writing will not be affected by the intimacy and immediacy of what this camera makes possible and, of course, how it will affect all that I hope to make. Which just takes me another step closer to the brink in the final days of drafting.

"... in good spirits, scrubbed and combed, clean shirts all".

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