8: "Maker Of The Maze"

I (probably like you) am very good at talking about the things I want to do.  I'm good at making plans and charting a course to reach a goal.  I think most of us are if you do, in fact, set goals.  But then there's actually doing it.  This is where I get to the other thing I'm really good at: 

Procrastinating.

I'm the best.  Hands down.  No other.  The G.O.A.T.  I'm the Michael Jordan of procrastinating.  If there was ProcrastinationCenter instead of SportsCenter, they'd be comparing all other procrastinators to me.  I would be the measure of excellence.

There's a phrase from the Pink Floyd song 'Time' that often comes into my head when I'm busy not going after what I really want.  It goes:

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

I could list all of the excuses I ever made but I wouldn't assume you have that much time.  I can tell you that the one thing that never made the list but REALLY prevented me from doing what I wanted to do...was me.  In the end, I was 100% percent responsible for where I was.  And where I am now.

Over the years, I've learned that I create the circumstances.  You can't wait for the circumstances to come to you.  You'll die waiting.  Or you'll live regretting.  And that might be worse.

I've since retired from procrastinating (hence why they are always comparing me to the other greats ;)  But seriously, I've really learned to just pull the trigger if I want to go after something.  Literally, just go and do it. Everything else is just semantics.  And it WILL work out.  As a matter of fact, there is no way it cannot.  And it's led me to doing literally anything I put my mind to just by constantly thinking about it, nurturing it and TAKING ACTION.  This Area 52 films project is a perfect "for instance".  I wouldn't even be here typing this if I didn't take a leap many months ago.  Because, believe me, I had a long list of reasons why I couldn't do it.

The moral of the story:  Get out of your own fuckin' way.  There is nothing else in your way but YOU.  I promise that if you eliminate excuses and get out of your own way, magic will happen.

I don't have an ending to this little thesis so I'll leave you with another pertinent quote:

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.”

-Terence McKenna

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This film cost me $6 to make.  I bought a stamp pad and used it for my thumb print.   I already owned all other materials used for this film: 

Prior to that, I tried using a metallic paint marker.  It would have worked if it didn't dry so fast and unevenly.  It still looked cool but wasn't what I was going for:

The stamp pad was much cleaner for sure.  I picked the cleanest fingerprint I made and scanned it in at 1200 dpi.  For those that don't know, DPI means Dots Per Inch.  Images for television and web are 72 dpi.  Images for print are usually 300 dpi.  So 1200 dpi is pretty large.  I needed it to be big since most of the film was close up shots of the fingerprint and I didn't want to lose resolution when blown up.  The original scan was still too small so I blew it up and printed it out as large as I could on regular 8.5 x 11 paper.  Then scanned in the large print.

As you can see in the picture below, there was a lot of cleaning up that needed to happen to make a clear "path" in the maze.  Also the "walls" of the maze needed to be darker:

Here are some cleaned up shots:

I thought this little scribbly ball was a good metaphor for the way we think.  Our thoughts are usually pretty tangled up sometimes.  I just drew different variations of this scribbly ball on regular printer paper with a ball point pen (aka NO COST!)  You can still do good work without an expensive tablet or fancy pens and paper.  A tablet would have been nice though!

Here's a really rough animation of the scribble:

I recorded my own sound effects for this film using a bottle of Rubber Cement.  Our closet doubles as a voice over/sound recording room.  Michelle's clothes make for good sound absorbers.  I used the Voice Memos app on the iPhone to record the rubber cement bottle being rolled around on the floor in the closet and banging into things:

This film turned out to be one of my favorites so far.  It ticks every box of what a quintessential A52 film should be:

  • Commentary on the human condition.

  • Cheap to make but not cheaply made.

  • Utilized a fairly unconventional approach to animation.

  • No human figures/faces. No dialogue/language/syntax/words.

  • BONUS! Only took 3 days to complete.

Thanks for reading!