This video came out five years ago this coming Wednesday. I know this because 1) I’m a weirdo who remembers specific dates to insignificant events and 2) the video came out right when I was catching the video bug. I watched the video a few dozen times when it came out and felt intoxicated—with its energy, its heart, its pacing, its speeds, its framing, its coloring, its hand-held cameras (and all of their movement and immersiveness and humanizing chaos). I was infatuated with it all.
At the time, in April 2012, I had only ever made two videos—both in the month prior: a 14-minute mockumentary about a teammate’s track season (with local sponsors, Windshield World and Noonie’s Deli) and a 27-minute day-in-the-life of my 21st birthday, which featured a trip to the police station to ask about the legality of drinking out of paper bags, a trip to the McDonalds drive-through—on foot, a trip to the local thrift store, and a trip to Middlebury’s main drag to narrate strangers’ conversations. (Neither show was picked up for a second season).
When I first saw the Feel The Love video, I wanted to recreate that—that liveliness, that build-up, that rawness. I wanted to create mosaics of people and faces. I was fascinated with the alchemy of it all, that, for me, video was this all-encompassing medium of writing, audio, music, improvisation, and photography. I was less interested in narrative and plot and more interested in capturing feeling (and accentuating and magnifying feeling).
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Last week, I read this Austin Kleon post about permission. This is my favorite line:
Every piece of art or writing I’ve ever truly loved was a kind of permission, a permission to bring forth what I felt was already inside of me.
I thought about what’s given me permission over the years. I thought about how we ultimately don’t need permission, but it’s really nice to have it to launch ourselves.
I then went back and revisited the videos that have given me the most empowering sense of permission, that invited me “to bring forth what I felt was already inside of me.”
I checked in with them like they were old friends and caught up (and rediscovered what it was about them that gave me permission and clarity):
River—for a million things but especially its sound: its atmospheric noise; its blurring of non-diegetic and diegetic (sound that exists in the video world vs. sound that only the audience hears); its varying volume levels; its silence; its compassion.
Stubborn Love—for its natural light, its intimate framing, and its warmth towards a scared little kid who’s moving (which was me 20 years ago).
Gold On The Ceiling—for its manic, restless cutting (and its subtle and not-so subtle jump-cuts). It’s just so rock n’ roll.
The Big Easy Express— for its seamless voiceovers, its dichotomy between soundtrack and live music, and its lettering (in terms of font and placement).
The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively. They only collect things that they really love.—Austin Kleon