Yet Untitled Lite 006 - On Abundance. And a premiere!
And a (small) rant about The Multiverse
Greetings dear Yet Untitler
I have a film for you! Here is “Looking for Kitkin” which I shot over Sunday morning while everyone was lounging at home.
It was a lot of fun. Nobody had any real inkling of what I was up to, but my starts - Ananya and Aahana were up for anything. I was so happy to see that they’re both natural actors - capable of improvising for camera, imaginative enough to insert themselves into a scripted scene, intuitive enough to work with intention. To say the least, I had a lovely, life-affirming and stimulating few hours with them and with filmmaking.
It all came together quite miraculously. Initially, I had thought I’d take just a couple of shots to begin with and shoot the rest in the course of the week. But after shooting the first couple of shots, it started feeling more like fun than work. So, I kept going.
After a while, it felt like I could definitely get 50% of the film in the can that very morning. By lunch, I had all my shots in the bag! By evening, I had everything lined up on Final Cut Pro. It’s been awhile since I’ve used FCP myself, so I suspected that my skills would be a bit rusty, but found that I remembered almost everything - even keyboard shortcuts! It was like reviving a language that I knew as a child. By the next night, I was composing a basic soundtrack using Apple Loops on Garage Band and by Tuesday I had a decent cut ready.
Making this small little film felt goooood - affirming, validating - as if a third arm had grown out from behind my skull to pat me on the back (a grotesque image, but I’ll just leave it here, because it’s amusing). This is how I had started when I began making films - DIY - using what lay in front of me.
And funnily, coming back to the starting point didn’t feel like a regression. It felt like something starting…something that’s going to be worthwhile!
I could have made this film, or some version of it, earlier.
I already possessed all the tools - my phone (that I’ve owned for two yers) shoots 4K video, Ananya and Aahana are ready performers etc etc. In fact, during the pandemic, I also had the time. But I didn’t pick up the tools then.
Why did I manage now and not before? I thought this was an important question to reflect on.
The following things allowed me to “proceed and make” rather than “plan and postpone”:
Lowering my expectations
I’ve learned this from writing YU. I may always aim for non-crap but some instalments will still turn out to be crap. I decided to aim for a non-crap home-made him with a full understanding that it might be crap, but I had nothing to lose.
This nothing-to-lose business is very liberating!
Initially I only invested things into the film that I was prepared to lose completely - mainly: Time. At the worst - it would have been a Sunday morning lost. But as I started feeling better and better about what was emerging, I gave it more and more time. I made the scene setups more elaborate. By the end of it, I ended up buying the latest version of Final Cut Pro (it’s not cheap) because I was pretty sure I’ll be doing more of this from here on.
Enjoying a sense of Abundance
Julia Cameron writes a lot about “abundance” in her book The Artist’s Way. I don’t remember the exact phrases, but that chapter in her very useful book said that the best creative processes are accompanied by ‘a feeling of abundance’. When I had read this, it was my first encounter with the idea that there is something limitless inside us. I have come across this idea most clearly in Buddhism thereafter. You know that feeling of weariness you get while doing something that you don’t want to do? I think the feeling of abundance is its reverse.
Interestingly, this feeling of plenty - plenty of ideas, plenty if possibilities, plenty of time - didn’t come right at the start. It edged its way in slowly, as my steps forward changes from cautious ones to strutting cowboy strides.
On experiencing this, I thought: abundance is there for the taking.
Just take a look at this money plant growing outside my yoga teacher’s studio, right in the heart of the concrete forest that is Andheri West. I think of the word ‘abundant’ every time it see it, bursting out from its confines of its flower pot that you can barely see anymore.
While making ‘Kitkin’, I was filled with this very big feeling: that you really don’t need to look far away to find what you need. I’m thinking that this was the sentiment that the poet Kabir was trying to communicate in his lovey song ‘Moko kahaan tu dhooney re bandey, main to tere pass mein’ (trans: Where have you gone looking, o seeker, when I’m right here, near you?"). It was one of my father’s favourites; we played it at his remembrance meeting when he passed.
My friend Karen Davis’s newsletter “Life in the Real World” also fills me with a sense of abundance, replete as it is with the sense of plenty at the heart of nature.
The Multiverse Worries me
There is a recurring, burgeoning family of narratives in western pop culture today where people go looking for solutions to their problems in far off places. The….MULTIVERSE!
The multiverse entertains me. But I’m suspicious of it.
Last week I went and saw a film called Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, a frenetic, attention-jumping frenzy of a film where the protagonist learns to seek aid from the different versions of herself who exist in different, parallel universes. One of her other selves is a Kung Fu Master, another is a top chef. One of them is a self with hot dogs for fingers (!) that ejaculate mustard (!!!) when she’s sexually aroused (it’s really weird like that). All said - each of these sleves’ abilities come in handy for the protagonist who manages to access them at times of need. Her times of need are many - she’s quite useless at almost everything.
What would the great poet Kabir say to the Multiverse? What would the Buddha say?
Something to the effect of - park yer ass. No need to go so far.
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What would Bradley Cooper from the film ‘Limitless’ say?
In the film ‘Limitless’, Bradley Cooper’s struggling writer pops a translucent white pill and suddenly finds all stops to his intelligence removed. When that happens, his destiny transforms, but his superhuman brainpower that can seemingly solve / decipher anything only lasts until the effect of the pill wears off, and he needs another dose.
What a fantastic film! And at least it hit upon the fact that everything we need to progress, prosper and be happy is already within us.
Looking at my yoga teacher’s money plant, and thinking some more about how it feels when you strike a solid vein of creativity - I think of the Multiverse, and of ‘Limitless’s’ smart pill and wonder why have placed such a premium on something we all have so close to us.
Why do we push it so far away?
I’ll end here.
Maybe because this was ‘esoteric’ YU week, I’ll stick with the theme and not ask a specific question this time.
Leave me a comment if anything sparked anything. Just let me know in case a You from a parallel universe is responding!
Lots of love and see y’all next week!