Burn it to the Ground

I’ve been pondering on this for a while. I can’t help but feel that it’s necessary. I think thoughts project out from drama in our own lives, so it likely reflects a need to burn the grass in my own mental backyard so the new growth may replace it.

However, a forester who recently surveyed our land has stated that a significant problem with the porperty is that it is a fire hazard. The forest is ‘in a transitional period’ which means that there’s lots of dead trees and low brush packed densely together making it ideal for wildfire spread.

Coming back to the feeling that things must burn, on the non solopsistic projection side, maybe when one recognizes a need in oneself they can then see that need in the world around them. And as products of a time and society, when a problem or state is rampant in an individual, likely, it’s in pandemic state by this line of thought.

Part of the thought comes from a belief that the world is burning and a belief that such burns are a cyclical, natural occurence as the world changes and the human species continues to adjust to its environment, both natural, in the sense that it is around us, and circumstantial in that it is created by us engaging in that natural world.

I have backed away from the violence in this thought. The burn, the conflagration the bonfire. It’s ancient resonance both as a sustaining force through heat and light and the protection and confort that both provide and the destructive force, something must be exchanged to produce this energy, the energy must be forced out, only yo allow a limited control of its force once unshackled from a fuel state.

My thoughts on burning, standing around the human bonfire, I see the walls built around it, art as an effort to take advantage of its light and also to contain it, shape it, movie it, mirror, convection duct, and battery all in one. Not to mention asbestos shield.

But to live in that is not enough at least for me. The edifice must burn as well. Perhaps that’s a desire for control. If the world will burn, if all things will meet destruction, then the only reasonable response for one who desires control is to take part in the destruction, accelerate it toward an end that is desired. But then again, in the metaphor of evolution it is such experiments, such bold assaults that have bought us to where we are today.

For better and for worse. It saddens me that it’s a language of violence that I understand. The belief that peace is a lie and one that is bought only by ignoring the violence committed by others. Often only in the name of comfort, plausible deniability, a violence in and of itself to separate from an unclean state.

I don’t know. I really don’t.

But the fire remains, the burning continues. I am not ready yet to be the fire. But I find myself it anyway. In the Bible, god’s weapons of choice tend to be fire and water. And sacrifice always comes by fire. One would never drown an offering or soak it. In dreams, water and immersion in it can stand for emotion, submersion equivalent with immersion in one’s emotional state.

So if used as such a symbol, what is it that that immersion quenches fro fire ? That is ultimately the question of my essay what is the fire ? What does it burn ? Is it life ? Metaphors, metonymic representation, sifting through thousands of years of feeling and thought. These are devices. Cave walls. I am becoming the projector. The moon as lens. The sun as bulb. And being then, in such a metaphor, runs somewhere as a current. Drawn from a plug.

It doesn’t seem such a wonder that at different times and places gods could be seen everywhere. Human god making machines.


Production, Cassavetes Style

Editing will begin shortly and in the interim I thought I’d share a little about how we did our production and where the philosophy came from.  My current guiding light puts emphasis on the actors, where I believe it should always be.  

Probably my biggest pet peeve right now (aside from Garrison Keillor) is what I perceive as a de-emphasis on acting and a massive onrush of ‘plot’.  I hate plot, I hate stories.  

When I go to see a movie, what I’m really looking for is a character, a real, voyeuristic experience where I feel like I’m looking in on a person or person’s life, it may be a fantastic life, one either beyond my experience or beyond possibility, nevertheless still grounded by a dedication to the ‘real’.  You know.  At least some shit that actually happens to people.

The way that gets applied to production is building a technical procedure around the actors’ process.  We spent a week working out character development and then blocking out all the movements from the story.  While this had some technical benefits, in that the crew and myself could see where we would be able to place camera and sound at any given time, I think it did much more to get the actors familiar with and comfortable with the emotional space, if not the actual people, that I was looking for them to occupy.

By working this out in rehearsal and working very hard for the actors to be able to move as the spirit moved them for the most part, we avoided the pitfall of making them slave to marks, artful lighting sequences, or a floating tennis ball to be replaced by green screen.  I have a respect for these processes and the effects they can accomplish, but ultimately it is what it is.  Smoke and mirrors.

Though I’m not sure many would refer to the 70’s as a golden age, I do kind of look to it right now as a great time for cinema.  There seemed to be an awakening helped out by knowledge from the free form sixties that informed a decade of films that were conscious about form, but allowed themselves to be guided by acting and actors, by attempts to actually capture a stylized form of human behavior that I find breathtaking.

As examples, I would cite Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) and Cassavetes’ A Woman under the Influence (1974).  The latter is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk are my two favorite actors and their performances here are utterly amazing.  Many people talk about the best physical fights in film, but this pair pulls off the most amazing ‘domestic argument’ ever captured.  Way more intense than any ‘life or death’ struggle I’ve ever seen in an action flick.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that stuff is fun.  But it’s just not … real.  

And sure, these stories aren’t real either, but they do this beautiful thing where they try.  They try to be as best they can, and that, I think, is beautiful.  

That’s an Awful Small Envelope for the Truth

So, after sleeping for almost a day straight, it’s my turn to put the change in the cup and weigh in again.  I’m picking up the house, getting ready to vacuum, clearing out the fridge and some nice guys offered to break down the set while I’m sleeping.  After nearly two years of conception and planning, ‘Good News’ is in the can.

And I can not so humbly say, already, that it’s excellent.  The crew and cast stepped up to a creative challenge, I asked them all to help me ‘change’ the script as we went, we rolled with ad libs that destroyed plot points, we dumped pages of lines and rewrote new ones, came up with stunts way cooler and more realistic than the ones I had originally imagined and, finally, came up with an ending that  left everyone holding their breath when re-watched even though they’d been there !

I truly couldn’t be happier.

So prepare yourself.

For raw meat, cussing, lovers’ quarrels, fraud, electricity, blood, vomit, gun shots (real and simulated), crotch grabs, flying cakes, fist fights (again, real and simulated), fences, and a room totally and utterly destroyed before your eyes.

Prepare.  Because nothing will ever be the same.

Thanks For Visiting!

In Production –  “Good News”

Director – Matthew Gelzer

Production – Bachelor Films


Daniel – Adam VanDervoort

Rita – Erika Hoveland

Roger – Revon Yousif

Lori – Laura Kriss

Geoff – Shae Valko

Adamantha – Becca Booth

Stay up to date with the director, cast and crew on the “Good News” Blog page located above.  Find pictures, videos and the latest talk!!