Friday, July 13, 2007

So What Season Is It? And I'm not talking about the weather forecast...

Just a disclaimer - this is merely a reminder to myself to just keep going and not analyze things to death. It's a thought process I went through this morning which had a bleak outlook, but grew into a more positive piece of constructive self-criticism, in the end.

I'm on a bit of a dangerous path. I'm not sure how exactly I've arrived here. Part of it is the loneliness of my disconnected situation, I'm sure - even writing has become a cruel friend who can not be trusted to help me in my time of desperate uncertainty. I feel as though I've always tried very hard, but I feel like a fraud - like I've never actually succeeded in getting anywhere, ever. It seems that I've gained a confusing mix of pity and admiration my whole life that has somehow sustained me with a peace of mind which has been steadily evaporating since last year. In one self-deprecating moment, despite all the time and effort I've spent on my animation projects in the past year, I can say to myself that all my so-called talents have been slipping away, my starry-eyed confidence has dimmed, and my motivation to chase my dreams has been spent somewhere else (that is, I feel it has been spent, even though in the arena of dream pursuit, I haven't exactly found myself fighting to the death). I think my expectations have been raised for myself (especially through the appreciated encouragement of others), and I have been hoping for something really big to just happen to me, when really I am a very small person, and with very small wants. I have been in denial of that small person. So this is a tribute to myself. I don't want to say outright that a person like me should not set their goals to the maximum, but rather that the bar needs to be lowered when you're taking your first leap. Or really - the bar should be set where it needs to be, based on your calculated ability to jump, and all the while fully realizing where you will land and what stance is best to catch your weight.

Actually, there is a lot of humor in that idea, visually - a close up shot of character charging forward, running triumphantly with a stick in hand, and plunging it into the ground, flying upward like a pole vaulter - and then reaching the peak of his arc in the sky, finally opening his eyes and realizing he hadn't looked ahead to see that he was launching himself off a cliff.

Again, this fits with my tendency to want to animate characters who ultimately fail, and usually in a way that is humorous to the viewer. However I have to define that further to say that it isn't for laughing at someone else (although that can be an effect) - rather it is about having empathy for that character's wants, and therefore seeing that character in yourself, and being able to laugh at it. So a lot of the conflict lies around man vs self, man vs circumstance, and man vs time. It is a very introspective body of understanding that works better with natural antagonism, vs a true villain character.

That all said, I love animation, and I want to keep trying for it, but I think inevitably I will revert back to the small person I am at heart, living a small life in a small house with plenty of time to raise small children and make small steps toward happiness. It's hard to make peace with big city dreams and small town ideals, and maybe I don't have to choose. Maybe to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

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