Another Rejection

I woke up this morning with a sense of exhaustion and that feeling you get while watching a soccer match, when the beginning is so intense and so exciting and one team goes three up, and then the last fifteen minutes they start to defend and what started out as a really exciting game finishes in a bore… well, that’s what I’m feeling like right now.

I’ve basically done the filming. And the good news I got the other day is that I actually have a lot of time, and a lot of money as well, to edit it! Yessssssss! So now I can lie back, relax, and then do a really good job in the post production.

And I won’t have to edit both (or is it three) docs at the same time, first I’ll do the main one, Untouchable Love, and then I’ll do the other two – the sound of one leg dancing and shristi as thisability. Oh yes, I do think Shristi’s story should be a separate documentary from that of the one leg dancers, maybe only because I love that title, The Sound of One Leg Dancing, and Shristi’s, a powerful story, is about that of a blind girl…. so her’s might be The Sound Of No Eyes Dancing? Crap! Shristi has ThisAbility sounds cool, though she wants it to be shristiko antardristi — oops, I might have got that spelling wrong, but it’s translated into Shristi’s innervision, she wants her name ‘shristi’ to rhyme with ‘dristi’, in Nepali.

But I started out to write about the most recent rejection letter I’ve received, for my prose writing. A story I first wrote many years ago, but recently re-wrote feverishly after an editor had told me he liked the concept, only that now he sends me an email saying ‘sorry buddy, you did a good job but it’s not good enough. Still requires a lot of editing.’ Maybe I like that kind of rejection letter.

But while I seem to be on the verge of some sort of breakthrough in the film industry (certainly a feature length documentary will look good on my CV) I still seem so far away with regard to what I really love. Writing prose. Where it all started.

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After the Storm?

Is it quiet? I think before and after the storms, there is always a strange calmness, a moment when silence grips the world like the gentle touch of a lover (what kind of imagery is that? – so crappy) Anyway, you know what I’m talking about?

Well, I feel like that now. But I think I feel like the storm, who came with the wrath of the skies, and huffed and terrified the world, but after all the chaos, the storm feels like it should have done more. Destroyed a few more houses. Torn down that ugly tree. But now the moment is gone, and until the next time, it won’t have a chance to wreak havoc.

I’m feeling like that. Some things I should have done during the shooting, that I did not do. Now I’ve started to edit, and sometimes I want to throw the laptop out of the window (only that there is a mosquito mesh on the window, so if I tried to throw out the laptop, I wouldn’t succeed) because I feel I’ve not done everything I should have done.

But maybe I should be happy with what I have, because I think I can safely use 80% of what I shot. That I can actually make a decent documentary about love in a Hindu society from what I already have.

And I should congratulate myself because I worked with a cameraman who hardly knew English. He only knew two words ‘look this’. 🙂 So sometimes I would try to tell him what I want to shoot, and he would simply say ‘look this’ and I would try to say that it’s not what I want, and he would try to tell me what he is trying to shoot, but it would all boil down to those two words. ‘Look this’.

Okay, give him some credit (and me also) because I speak at least 70% of his language, so I was able to communicate myself most of the time. Sometimes, when I failed to speak, I would frame the shot using my still camera (canon sx200, lovely beauty) and then he would get the idea. But then he’d only roll for a few seconds and then shoot what he wants.

Which is really annoying. Which only makes me determined to do a large percentage of the camerawork in my next project (what will it be about?) So I have to get a camera. Somehow. A decent one at that.

Probably I’m a control freak. But I’ve read of other control freaks, like Ken Burns, and Errol Morris (they do confess they like taking control of their documentary projects) and I think that making a documentary is like writing a non-fiction book. The writer has to have a lot of control over what he wants to say. It’s not like making a film, where the director’s voice can be watered down and you still have a pretty good movie. Documentaries need the total control of the director, from the planning phase, to the camera, to the editing.

Sadly, money determines who controls what. I remember ‘the young ones’ (a project I thought would have been a great one for me, but it turned out a disaster, because this lady – well, she was the producer or something like that – gave me the job, but didn’t trust me to do it, so she had all these people spying on every move I made, and she questioned every decision I made, until I ran mad with frustrations).

But I’ve really enjoyed this shooting. Only one incident of a quarrel, way back in the early days, and we soon put that behind us and worked smoothly. Only that I realize that small quarrel ruined a really beautiful sequence I had in mind, one involving a love letter one of the characters wrote to her lover. Shit!

At least I will be in total control of the edit. In this project.

So I’m nearly done with my first feature length documentary. I must say congratulations to myself. It’s now slightly over a year since I came to Nepal (November 11 the anniversary) and I think I have already archived what I came for. So how will I spend the remaining year?

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First day shooting
The quiet before the storm
And the edit begins

One of those gloomy days
Why do they laugh?