The Film: http://vimeo.com/13114431
I do not like In Time - or rather, hardly do I like In Time. There was over a month gap between Nocturne and this one. Basically, after making three films so quickly, I was hardly in the mood for making more movies with such limited equipment, and such limited locations. The thought even occurred to me not to make another film in the same vein as those I had done before, but I went with it anyway, one day, out of boredom (which, in some cases, can be good filmmaking juice; in this case, though, the opposite happened).
I had had an image in my head for some time, on of me sitting in the living room on the couch, more or less in darkness, while the light from the windows came in a little bit through the blinds (in a way, silhouetting me). I knew that I wanted it as a first shot, and that I would only then go into the title credit (changing it up from those films that had come before, where the title always was the first thing to pop up). From there, though, I did not know what to do. In the shot, I am clearly either bored or frustrated, or maybe I was annoyed and I didn’t want to get any work done. Whatever the case, I decided that the film should focus on my daily tasks, since I needed to clean the house anyway. That’s not such a bad film idea at all, so long as, in the editing, it’s handled right.
I tried to vacuum my bedroom, but, while I was shooting, the vacuum cleaner never started working (it wasn’t until after I ended the shot that I figured out that the particular socket I had plugged it into was broken, thus allowing me to vacuum my room soon afterward). I then dealt with my laundry, my desire to eat, shaving my face, etc., all in very long static takes. I expected the film to end up being quite long, looking at the footage I had. I was filming the tasks in their entirety, and I didn’t plan to really cut (kind of Jeanne Dielman it up, without any of the actual subtext of that great film) too much while editing. Right after I completed shaving, I came up with a way for the film to end, a way, really, to actually give the film some kind of meaning (as it would have been an incredibly meaningless and self-indulgent exercise otherwise). Since I had maintained a more saddened face for the entire film, I knew that it would be easy to show just what could bring this man joy: Movies.
I filmed images from the two posters I had hanging up in my bedroom (from What Time is it There?, Lee Kang-Sheng, and from Good Night and Good Luck, David Strathairn), and then I proceeded to film me choosing a film to watch and pulling it from my shelf. It ended up being a longer shot than I had anticipated, as I had a hard time getting the DVD out, and then a hard time putting some back on the shelf afterward. Because it was me, I, of course, did not even think to reshoot the shot, because, well, that might be lying (a bullshit reason, maybe, but a reason nonetheless). I then shot me putting the film in the PS3, starting it up, and then getting a big damn grin on my face as the opening rolled onto the screen. What joy the finished film of In Time should have ending as such! A joy that I, really, would never end up capturing, due to an insistence on a not-critical-enough approach to editing.
During the editing process, I allowed the shots to go on…and on…and on. I felt that what I was doing in the camera was interesting enough as to keep many individuals satisfied; hell, I’d seen plenty of films that had had such a similar way of being made that ended up as masterpieces, and so why shouldn’t I do something similar? Really, that was my big mistake. Those individuals who made those films knew what they were doing, had crafted everything rather perfectly, and so were able to edit and create rhythms easily. I, on the other hand, was not some kind of seasoned filmmaker - I was a more pretentious one, the type who thought he could easily get away with something such as that. It was a bold-faced lie I was telling myself, and everyone else, with that film. What did I think people watched such films for? For the boredom factor? To my credit, I did cut a few shots down, realizing that they’d likely make the film around twenty minutes long, and I didn’t want that the be the case. Sadly, though, I did not choose to cut down the shot of me pulling the DVD off of the shelf, and, instead, screwed up the entire more quick pacing of the last portion, where everything is supposed to be turning into joy after a hard day’s work (now that I think of it, a lot of the film doesn’t even make sense in the narrative way; if I had thought harder, I would have noticed that my idea to have a shot of me calling a friend only amounted to boredom, and not to hard work, and so why did I ever even wait to put on a film in the first place?).
The ending was too fast. I may have known that after finishing editing, or maybe I realized it later that night right before going to bed. I was very excited after I had finished the film, and I tried to show it to many people. That said, I also clearly knew that there was something a little disingenuous about it, because I already felt that I needed to get away from that type of movie-making. Still, it wasn’t until later that night when I realized, watching it for the second or third time, just how much of a blunder I had made. The first portion of the film, in which everything work/boredom oriented happens, was WAY too long, likely putting off an audience so fast it couldn’t tell where the film began. The latter portion was also, at its start, too long, and then it all ended too quickly. I did not get that sense of joy across at all. I end the film on an image of me smiling, but for what? I’m watching a film - great; after twelve minutes of tedium beforehand, that’s what I choose to do? It was a bad, bad film. I felt like I needed to re-edit it, but I was too lazy to do so, insisting, instead, on letting the film be, since I had already uploaded it and taken the time to put it together. It was a mistake of a film, and I had been pretentious enough to create it.
All of that said, I suppose I could have done worse things, and, in a way, I am glad that I made it, essentially because I think it really pushed me toward something more expressionistic for my next two films, one with no characters at all (basically), and one with simply one static shot meant to perturb anyone willing to sit through it. In Time might just be the worst film I’ve made (likely not, because other things I did in high school had gotten pretty damn bad at times), but, ah well; I made the damn thing, and so I will not shove it away into a drawer for no one to see. It is a piece of me, of my work, and so I want it to remain in existence for as long as possible. It is also a good example of just how wrong one can go when he decides to follow the same formula again and again (something that I fear is happening to me right now, too, with my documentaries). I am simply glad that I managed to break with that monotony eventually, pushing much of this completely out of my system. Hopefully all of that was able to come through in the following films.