I mentioned a little while back that there was going to be a night of fun, drink and films, based loosely on assorted nonsense written here. The shorts were made by post-grad students studying interactive media at the University of Limerick, but why anyone might choose to base them on the drivel I write is anyone’s guess. Anyway, one way or another, it was all great fun.
There were photos for sale at ridiculously low prices considering the quality of the work. Twenty-five euros. For God’s sake. If I could afford it, I’d have bought all of them, and every penny went to cancer research. If you happen to be in Limerick and have the time to drop into Bourkes Bar, the pictures will be there for another day or so. You could buy an original work by a talented artist for what amounts to the price of a reasonable dinner. If you went down to Debenhams, you couldn’t buy a picture of a crying child for that sort of money, and yet these are images created by original artists, many of whom will go on to widespread recognition.
With Christmas coming up, what better chance to purchase a decent present for a loved-one?
I found the entire experience educational, but especially the critique where they show the first version of their films. It’s a tense time for them, and for me. Here’s a gang of high-achieving post-graduate students and they’re all looking in my direction, but luckily, they’re all looking at a bullshitter. Unfortunately, they have my number and they know I’ll be talking shit, because these are no ordinary students. This bunch are smart.
Jesus, what will I say? I’ll come up with something.
What do I do? Well, what else could you do in the circumstances but launch into a tirade? I blather out a load of rubbish that inhabits my psyche and much to my surprise, they don’t throw things. They listen in respectful silence, even though they must be wondering where they can find a blunt object to end this torture. A bludgeon.
Much to my surprise, I don’t get bludged, or even dagged. It works. They believe this nonsense. Suddenly I begin to understand how American politicians get away with their nonsense.
We discuss their films. We share views, and there’s an interchange of views, but at all times I’m thinking one thing — they own the films, not me. My drivel is only the starting point for the film. This is probably a microcosm of how it works in the real world with an iteration between the writer and the film-maker. I thought it was highly appropriate for a course both science-based and arts-based that the creative process should follow the logic of calculus, converging towards increasingly minor residuals so that in the end you have to decide if it’s worth any more effort.
Chatting with some of the students, I remembered the idea of the leopard chasing the gazelle. An unavoidable calculation is hard-wired into predators that switches them off even though their fangs might be at the heels of their prey, and it’s this. If the effort required to catch the prey exceeds the nutrition to be derived from eating it, stop now. Many a deer has this simple equation to thank for its survival.
It’s the same with creative effort. People spoke of endless attempts to make the work perfect but that can never be real. You can spend forever making it perfect, but if you do that, it will never happen. As they say, perfection is the enemy of the good. Keep chasing it and you’ll never get there.
I’m happy to say that these students knew when to stop and between them they produced a damn good show. It was nice to have a small part in it and I’m grateful to them for being so cooperative and also for listening to my drivel.
Really, they should have told me to shut up.