he knows

Posted in Uncategorized on June 8, 2013 by toddmorten

A short video consisting of five or six shots, most of them shot out of focus then superimposed a few seconds apart creating a dreamlike quality. Sound is at times synced, but not always. Most of the shots were overexposed by as much as five stops, which also creates an ephemeral experience, the images at times barely perceptible without the totality of the whole video.

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Opening Shot

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2013 by toddmorten

Opening Shot

The general idea is to make a (mostly) narrative film that is made up of seven or eight scenes, each approximately ten minutes long. I have the first two scenes more or less etched out in my head and a bit on paper. The paper serves more as a memory aid than a script. In fact, to describe what I have put down on paper as any kind of script would be silly. This is a kind of madness in that it is so unreasonable to undertake. Yet, somehow it is essential to my peace of mind. I have no idea why.

A man and a woman in a vehicle parked somewhere on the high plains. The relationship is filled with toxins that destroy from the inside out. Fear, self-loathing, despair and hatred drive him. Self-loathing and hope that hangs by a thread motivate her. Beauty is all around them.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2012 by toddmorten

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The Whole of Creation

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2011 by toddmorten

(click on the image for higher quality)

You are weak and he is weak and I am weak too.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2011 by toddmorten

(click on the image for higher quality)

love make hide

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 by toddmorten

“A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.”  G.K. Chesterton

For fifteen years I have been in a faithless love affair with visual arts, particularly filmmaking and photography, and to a much lesser extent drawing. I took up drawing specifically because I thought by doing so I could teach myself to see things more clearly, and therefore would be better able to make films.  Moving from still images to moving ones seemed to me a logical progression of skills. I actually have no idea whether I was right, but even if I was I am not sure it worked.  I am lousy teacher and a worse student.

I said “faithless” earlier because this love affair has been on and off and on again not only because of other earthly demands, but also because I have always had a lingering doubt about the value of filmmaking and photography even as worthy endeavors, much less as real forms of art.  One thing that always bothered me, and still does, is those media reliance upon gadgetry.  I often felt annoyed because behind artists of this variety there stood a whole other group of people upon whom the artists relied, but who knew nothing about art and much about gizmos.  Perhaps I was wrong, but a luthier didn’t strike me as someone who is much like a mechanical engineer or computer programmer in relation to the things he makes.

But, the real obstacle in my course was never the fact that every year there was a newer “better” camera or format, and it certainly wasn’t the geeks. Who cares about them? No, the real problem was always me.  Not only am I a lousy student, I am also a lousy lover.  In the past I never permitted myself to be fully carried away by whatever the thing was that was singing to me at any given moment .*  My problem has always been that I have to know.  And because one never can really know, I would quit. I’m a little bit ashamed about that. And though I have always detested that phrase “follow your dreams,” I have to admit that I’ve known many people who have resolutely defied all social pressures to conform, and instead occupied themselves daily, for years, with doing something they were compelled to do with apparently little or no regard for money.

But, is it any good? Even if one resolves to follow his muse wherever it leads, is it fair to his family that he he continue if the stuff that he makes is just plain bad? Indeed, in my own case I am certain that there will never be any money in this and that is fine with me, but what is the point of doing the work if it continues to be poor? I’m not sure. A filmmaker friend of mine says that we do it primarily for ourselves, but I think even he would admit that the connection to other people is an indelible part of the whole process of creating.

I won’t quit.  I can’t. I have quit before and I always return to take it up again. It is work worth doing and whether or not it can ever be described as anything more than adequate no longer matters to me.  Maybe I am old enough now not to care. The endless struggle to hide my eyes from the chaos I see and hear all around me, and the constant resisting of the urge to pick up the found pieces and make something coherent and that settles me down momentarily, is a much worse waste of energy than the energy spent on making something.

*My wife has always disagreed on this point.


The next three drawings are based on photographs the makers of which I have forgotten.