Guess who just rewarded himself with a nice summer trip to Puerto Rico?
I’m so stoked, guys!
Today I worked a 13-hour day.
I’ve been working as a documentary editor recently, and it’s just so peculiar to see the transformation of a project. I mean, I get handed these lengthy, poorly-spoken interviews and I’m expected to make something beautiful out of it. I never believe it to be impossible, but I’m never exactly sure how it’ll play out.
In the process, there’s a turning point. After the logging of the footage, the backing up of media, the transcription of the interviews, the confusion that is creating a storyline from random questions, there comes a turning point in which you’re actually inspired by what you’re creating. Sometimes that turning point is early on, when you’re creating the skeleton of the film, but other times it’s only when you’ve placed your last b-roll clip do you actually believe something great will come out of this.
Today was my turning point, and it came with music.
As editors, you’re trained to be able to see past things, like if a shot is really pretty, but it goes on for too long, or if its placement is irrelevant to the story. Story is king, and if the majority of the audio content is poorly crafted, surely the rest will suffer, as well. Music is a huge way people cover things up.
I saw a video on Vimeo the other day, and while the cinematography was gorgeous, the music was moving, and the voiceover was honest, I finished the short film and couldn’t remember a single thing that stuck out to me. Impressions are nice, but they don’t last because impressions don’t speak to people’s emotions — their hearts. Impressions speak to their intellect.
While I don’t think the film’s intentions were to manipulate, I do believe manipulation is often a tool used to create perceived value. Music is a huge driving force in that manipulation.
However, like in my case today, music can be used to augment something that’s inherently beautiful, in its most bare form.
And when that happens, you really start to feeling something.
The Kill Team | Thoughts on a troubling, real-life story
I just came back from watching the documentary The Kill Team, directed by Dan Krauss, and I feel heart-broken, upset, and confused.
The story follows 21-year-old Adam Winfield, who was deployed to Afghanistan. While there, people in his platoon murdered numerous innocent civilians (for fun), and were sickly proud of the crimes they were committing. Uneasy about the whole scenario, Adam wanted to stop what was happening, but because of threats being made toward him that endangered his own life, he didn’t. Eventually things got out, but instead of receiving praise for being the voice of truth, he was tried for premeditated murder.
A few things made this film extremely compelling: the surrealism of the story itself, Adam’s parents’ love and incessancy throughout the ordeal, and Adam himself.
In an interview his father described Adam before joining the army as a 100-pound scrawny kid. He was gentle and the most soft-spoken of all the people being interviewed. He loved his parents. He wanted to do the right thing, even though it was really hard.
I was him (minus the desire to join the army).
The film put my mind in a lot of impossible, hypothetical scenarios. "What would I do in his shoes? Would I snitch on my boss, but perhaps risk losing my life? But we’re talking about real, innocent people being killed day after day…" There never seemed to be one right answer. It was all so ambiguous, and that’s what made the film fascinating. Don’t get me wrong, there was clearly a good guy and a bad guy in the story, but what made it difficult was attempting to reconcile all the savagery, corruption, and comradery with the idea that the story that I was seeing before me on that silver screen remained a story of human beings, being told by human beings, just like myself.
What’s most disconcerting about this story has less to do with the reality that there exists people that are capable of these crimes, and more to do with the unnerving reality that these guys’ upbringing, their childhood, the army culture they found themselves immersed in day in and day out, and their finite definition of manliness all are not too far separated from our our own realities. Simply put, their culture (our culture) influenced them to — at bare minimum — stay silent about the killings of these innocent people, and although most of us cannot bare to stomach the thought of that, we have to at least wonder how different we really are from these guys.
Everywhere, something begins to arrive
every soul is seeking truth
every soul parched with thirst
they’ve all heard the voice of the quencher of thirst
everyone tastes the love
everyone tastes the milk
anxious to know
from where wisdom begins to arrive
waiting in fever
when will that final union begin to arrive
people of all beliefs
raising their hands to the sky
their chanting voices in unison begin to arrive
how happy is the one whose heart’s ear
hears that special voice as it begins to arrive
clear your ears, my friend, from all expectations
so you can hear the sound as it begins to arrive
if your eyes are marred with petty visions,
wash them with tears
your teardrops are healers as they begin to arrive
don’t rush to finish your poem
the finisher of the poem, the creator of the word
will begin to arrive