Towards the end of 2018, I discovered that I had a gluten sensitivity. I thought that this could possibly be interesting material for something. But what?
The lightbulb moment came when I hit upon on the idea of doing a vlog; the resulting series is called Trading Off. It should be said that this is a semi-regular series, as opposed to a daily vlog. Given how limited the potential food choices are, it could easily become very repetitive and boring to watch, and so the onus is on trying to give it as much variety as possible. All episodes will be posted to my Vimeo account.
Shortly before Christmas, I commissioned a poster for Kissproof. Here is the finished item:
Given the large part that Esme's sunglasses play the narrative, it was decided that this is what it should centre around. The frame of reference we used was the poster for Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.
It was designed by Greg Bunbury, more of whose work you can see here.
Back in 2011, I was invited by the Outreach Representative at Current TV to pitch an idea for a commercial for the then-new Samsung Galaxy Tab. However, what I didn't know was that about two dozen other people had also been approached with the same offer.
But, the idea still stuck with me because a) if I do say so myself, it's a pretty good idea - and b) because I've always wanted to make a silent film. And so I did, the result being Kissproof, shot over a couple of days in various locations in and around north London.
The title actually came from an article I was reading about a Preston Sturges retrospective. Before getting into the discussions about his movies, it gave a brief overview of his early life and career. Before he went into theatre first, and then movies, it turns out Preston fancied himself something of an inventor, and in fact patented several inventions - one of which was something he called "kiss-proof lipstick".
And, as Billy Wilder once said: "If you're going to steal, steal from the best".
There was an amazing article that I discovered a couple of years ago; it was called Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals.
You're quite welcome to read the article in its entirety, but I've decided to reproduce here only the passages that I found the most striking and/or affecting. It's something I found to be a valuable source of guidance at a pivotal moment in my life, and hopefully it may have that same value for others.
Why should such existential concerns occur disproportionately among gifted persons? Partially, it is because substantial thought and reflection must occur to even consider such notions, rather than simply focusing on superficial day-to-day aspects of life. Other more specific characteristics of gifted children are important predisposers as well.
Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. Similarly, these youngsters tend to spot the inconsistencies, arbitrariness and absurdities in society and in the behaviors of those around them. Traditions are questioned or challenged. For example, why do we put such tight sex-role or age-role restrictions on people? Why do people engage in hypocritical behaviors in which they say one thing and then do another? Why do people say things they really do not mean at all? Why are so many people so unthinking and uncaring in their dealings with others? How much difference in the world can one person's life make?
When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others' expectations. Often even by first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.
The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression.
Such concerns are not too surprising in thoughtful adults who are going through mid-life crises. However, it is a matter of great concern when these existential questions are foremost in the mind of a twelve or fifteen year old. Such existential depressions deserve careful attention, since they can be precursors to suicide.
It is such existential issues that lead many of our gifted individuals to bury themselves so intensively in "causes" (whether these causes are academic, political or social causes, or cults). Unfortunately, these existential issues can also prompt periods of depression, often mixed with desperate, thrashing attempts to "belong". Helping these individuals to recognise the basic existential issues may help, but only if done in a kind and accepting way.
The issues and choices involved in managing one's freedom are more intellectual. Gifted children who feel overwhelmed by the myriad choices of an unstructured world can find a great deal of comfort in studying and exploring alternate ways in which other people have structured their lives. Through reading about people who have chosen specific paths to greatness and fulfillment, these youngsters can begin to use bibliotherapy as a method of understanding that choices are merely forks in the road of life, each of which can lead them to their own sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. We all need to build our own personal philosophy of beliefs and values which will form meaningful frameworks for our lives.
Shortly before Xmas 2013, I received an e-mail from a gentleman named Josh Applewood. To be honest, I almost missed it because it went straight into my junk folder - and I almost deleted before I saw, "Ceiling Unlimited" in the subject line.
It turns out my short film Ceiling Unlimited had been invited to participate in the inaugural edition of the American Online Film Awards, the final ceremony of which is to be held in New York.
From what I understand, AOFA operates somewhat differently than other festivals. Given its primary focus on rewarding quality online content, the voting takes place on their website and is done by members of the public; word of this is naturally designed to reach the public via social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The public then purchases a screening pass, which allows them to view everything in either the Spring Showcase or the Fall Showcase, and they then cast their vote - the results of which decide what is ultimately included in the final ceremony.
To visit the AOFA site, please click here.