Updated: Apr 22, 2020
MASTERS BY PROJECT IN FILM, CREATIVE LIFE WRITING & PERFORMANCE. WORK IN PROGRESS.
I wanted to talk to her. I wanted her to talk to me. That child. The child that was. She was silent. But I could still hear her scream. She was smiling. But I could still see her tears. So I gave her a safe space to speak. I listened carefully so I could get her to talk to and through me. Suddenly she was alive, I was alive. But when I wrote down and recorded her innocently spoken observations, when her tiny chirpy trills rose up readily in my throat, I felt both inspired yet vulnerably tentative. I still needed to protect her. So, instead of getting her to talk on film to me, for the moment anyway, I gathered together some images in hope that they could reflect what she was trying to say. I then lent her my voice and gave her back her own words in a small lullaby.
How to be 'other' and still be myself? And how do I apply research methods in creative art projects? I am finding out that this is not as simple as trying to answer a hypothetical question. But the 'how to' research my own practice led arts project is a question I am beginning to scrutinise, scratch and occasionally kiss the sky at. While beginning my MA by Project at The London Metropolitan University, my aim at this point is to eventually produce a black comedy in the form of an interactive short film/life writing/performance piece. I am basing my experiences on the bullying, racism, violence and the assaults I endured while growing up in 1970's/80's Harlesden. I was a mixed race female child/teen with a Spanish mother and a father from Barbados thrown into a world of both fantastical awe and savage cruelty where dissociation, fantasy and the ability to nurture a dark sense of humour by adopting a 'smile mask' got me through. Now as a grown woman (still trying and often failing to adult) I wish to explore the impact of the mythical ideals of otherness on identity, phenomenological experience and mental health. And if, by channelling and challenging these myths through passive dissociation or active participation, it could ultimately lead to a space of empowerment.
I am also aware that as I delve deeper into experimenting with my subject matter, the final artefact might be something completely different than I intended. This is due to the nature of any questions that may arise while experimenting and using differing research methods in my quest to produce it. For example in the video above I felt wonder at how the little me's voice was being freed in an therapeutic process that also felt like a seance, both empowering and haunting. As a meditative journey through images and song, it felt evocative, but I was also trying to hide and protect this 'primal beastling' who is the child 'other' still inside of me, so her 'unspoken' words can be seen visually and heard poetically through her 'other'. Myself. My ultimate goal is to produce a short film featuring a child playing the part of my younger self. However I need to address such a project practically with an open mind and ethically along with any ethical questions that may apply. I may need to bend for the right fit, reach for answers outside of spaces so that the right one is found. This is all part of experimental practice. A process of gaining new knowledge through exploration.
Earlier this year I submitted a 30 page screenplay of my autobiographical childhood tale to the BBC drama room. I wasn't expecting a response as it was my first attempt. I had wrote it in 3 days after booting my tendencies of self sabotage in the arse to enter the comp at the last minute. So I was thrilled when they got back to me saying that while I hadn't won the shortlist prize, I'd been put on their longlist of promising writers as my script was remarkably strong and in the upper 3% of entries. They also provided me with a full critique and feedback of my screenplay which I am now bearing in mind while writing the full screenplay. I also intend to attempt transcribing the screenplay into a novel format. Anyway, all in all, best rejection letter EVER received In the meantime, as part of my ongoing practice led research, I shall be experimenting on imagery, film and song as potential that could hopefully crystallise into a final artefact. Next journal entry will feature part of my short 'she devils' B gothic movie, it's making (including the failures/troubleshooting) and how I wish to utilise some of its imagery/words as a kind of film sketch book to explore how the sense of otherness may perhaps provide the bones to inspire my final project. Other practical questions raised for the above WIP vid were that while I am reasonably knowledgeable of music and film making, my pragmatic skills of animation are frustratingly limited. So I either train myself to be an awesome animator (pulling time and focus from my passions in the project) or I trust in what I am good at, what I know already, my tacit knowledge, my skill set of being able to write a story, a song, visualise its outcome on screen/stage and according to my friends, make them laugh. But I'm not sure the latter was a compliment.