Category: Philosophy
A Thousand Moments Later—A Voiceover

Below is a working document for the voice-over of my first feature film, A Thousand Moments Later. But note that the following may not in any way reflect the final cut of the voice-over in the movie. It is more of a way for me to write and create and set a scene for the actor to come in and record. Writing this voiceover has been an organic process. One that evolved over time and as more and more pieces are involved. despite this I thought someone out there might find it mildly interesting and so here it is.

** UPDATE**

I had Chris Farrell come in and record a little voiceover dialogue from which I could then rewrote bits and change them etc.

I spent a great deal of time on the voice-over for this film. Thinking. Writing. Writing. Then some more thinking! You can see some of the work I did for the voiceover outline here.

The voiceover is split into two parts. The first part begins as the movie opens – introducing the character of Ryan and explaining a little, but hopefully not too much, of what is to come.

The second part, also below, ends the film and explains what just happened. They function a little like bookends – allowing the narrative in between to stand alone but also as a means or point(s)-in-time that allow one to get into and out of the narrative without much backstory.

In the bonus material for the film (which will be available for purchase as bonus content once we have released the film) I go into my writing process in detail. I explain how I used Aristotelian dramatic theory and the cathartic moment to build out the entire narrative of the film – the voiceover plays a vital role in this dramatic structure. It’s super interesting (Artitstotles theory that is!) and I go into detail about the relationship between the cathartic moment and my film. For those interested there is also a 20minutes behind the scenes video of the voiceover recording session where you can hear Chris delivering the voiceover and the notes I gave him on the day.

After much pain…below is the final version of the voice-over and thank you Chris for all you hard work mate!

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PART ONE

Dear Emily,

After all that’s happened I wanted to write to you. Not simply to explain myself or even explain away what happened. But rather to go beyond the what and into why it happened. I know you can’t read this right now but I wanted to write it all the same. Before everything changes. Before we all move on. Before some things are forgotten, and others are left unsaid. I hope in time, you will read it, and understand.

Sometimes it happens—we get lost. Lost in thought. Lost in time. Lost in life. And yet these times—times when everything seems upside down—can be the best of times because they can give us new views on old truths and provide us with a fresh perspective.

This much is true: We all want happiness and don’t want suffering, and it’s obvious on reflection that what we all seek is not the kind of happiness born of sheer hedonism but, real happiness that is both genuine and deep.

And while it has been said countless time through history that we are restless in seeking the good life. A life that goes well. A life with meaning. A life where we are loved and we have the chance to love. A love that goes beyond the ordinary. Yet for most people this kind of love only comes through change. A change of views and old habits that bind us into seeing ourselves, others, and the world around us in a certain kind of way.

But this kind of change never comes easy. This kind of love is hard won. Indeed this kind of life, is hard won.

And yet if we are the author and the protagonist of our own life’s story, and the arc of this change is embedded in the challenges we face, then it is to ourselves we must turn, not others.

We must write into the story of our own life, challenges that only we can face. Challenges that allow life to shape us. Mould us. Challenges that forge new perspectives; and give us the chance to see beyond our limited perspective.

I want this kind of life for you. A full life. A life of meaning. A Life of love and adventure. Where you can love and be loved. But this is not for me to choose. Only you can do this.

So by the time you read this, whether you are in the first or the last chapter of your own story, do not be afraid to live the life you want—remember it’s your life and no one else.

The road is open. Go. Explore. See the world. See yourself. Find yourself getting lost. Find yourself by getting lost.

For at the end of the day, it’s by losing our way that we transform; and only through this transformation will our lives become an expression of what we seek.

PART TWO

But none of this is easy. It’s not easy because sometimes these challenges are written for us. Everything but the ending.

The final chapter is for us to write. To tell it as we want. We can let these experiences crush us, or we can give ourselves over to the possibility of change.

We get to make this choice. And it is a choice.

**** ***** * ** *** **** ******** * *** **** ** ** *** ****.

*** ***** **** *** ****, **** ** * *****.

The last two line are obfuscated so as not to give away anything. If you’ve seen the movie you will know what they are and if not, then that is easily fixed. You can watch the movie here once we have released it.

This voiceover has been one of the most difficult things I have ever written. Not because the ideas are complex or the words particularly poetic but because it needed to serve as a narrative bridge between the start and end of the film. It also needed to say something interesting about the human condition, as well as give enough story information to allow the viewer of the film to piece things together as they unfolded during the story BUT not too much information as to give the whole thing away!

Suffice it to say, it was very difficult to write yet deeply satisfying to have completed the writing, then to have handed it over to the actor, have said actor work on it, and then hear it for the first time during the recording session.

But then more exciting when I plugged the voiceover back into the rough cut and seeing it as part of the film itself.

 


A Thousand Moments Later—Identity and Isolation

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Below is part of the outline I wrote for the voiceover for my film, A Thousand Moments Later.

Identity and Isolation

  1. a strong sense of self implicitly cuts one off the the others and creates a feeling of isolation.
  2. from here this sense of self becomes rigid. well defined. set in its own ways. Separate. Alone.

In the very process of creating identity is embedded a kind of isolation. That is, when we think “I am” we are carving ourSelf out from all that is not Self.

Not a big deal in most cases but inherent in this is the seed of all our problems and indeed all suffering. Why? Because it is fundamentally a misunderstanding how we actually exist in the world.

No one lives in total isolation. We live in a relation to other people and things. From a Buddhist point of view the conventionally existent self arises in the process of identity and is therefore dependent on the other for its existence. We are and have always been interdependent with all the people and things around us, and this is a good thing.

We are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. To some extent we, therefore, are the authors of this story. Not in any new age kind of way but in a very deep philosophical and cognitive way. No you cannot manifest a new car or dream house but, you can change the story you tell yourself about the things that life dishes up. That much is true.

Therefore in order to fully understand and appreciate this way of being we need to ask questions about how we are, not who we are but, how we are – how we exist as a dependent relation.


A Thousand Moments Later—Voiceover Outline

In working on the voiceover for my film, A Thousand Moments Later  and I created this outline as a means of working through, in my head and out loud, the details of what it is that I’d like to say….but from my of a academic point of view. Or perhaps a better way of saying this is, this following outlines points at the meaning behind the voice-over, which I hope is much more beautiful than the following dry academic prose.

Outlines….they are always an interesting exercise. Indeed one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing for me. But it may not make a lot of sense because I write from the outside in. What I mean by this is I take the big picture and whittle my way into the details. This means that this kind of outline is both very important to my process, and never really a completed document. It has a life of it’s own and grows and chances constantly. Therefore, it may not make a great deal of sense to anyone but me.

Sorry for that. Still, I thought it might be interesting to someone out there. So here it is.

Each part reflects a section from the film. Making somewhat of a loose argument and expressing in it’s entirety the thesis and theme of the film.

  1. Self and Isolation
    1. a strong sense of self implicitly cuts one off the the others and creates a feeling of isolation.
    2. from here this sense of self becomes rigid. well defined. set in its own ways. Separate. Alone.
  2. Relation and The Other
    1.  When self is seen within the context of a relation a certain cognitive process can take place – what Martin Buber called the “I” “It” relation.
    2. (If viewed incorrectly ) Inherent in this relation is two seperate identities viewed as alone and wholly seperate. Me here; you over there.
    3. This leads to a kind of tension explicit in the division of the two.
    4. This then deepens the rigid sense of self as a seperate “thing” with it’s own likes and dislikes that are owned by only itSelf.
    5. When these are left unfulfilled tension implicit in this relation solidifies into resentment.
  3. Self & Other/Mereology
    1. But when two separate selves are viewed as something bigger than mere singles entities something else happens. This is technically name mereology — place enough timber together and in the right order and you can have a chair.
    2. What is it that gives rise to the feeling that we are greater than ourselves?
    3. What is it that creates this larger entity. When does a bunch of sticks become a chair?
    4. Clearly it is us that decides.
    5. But this choice to couple two person together and call it something else gives rise to a feeling of togetherness.
    6. And this is a conscious choice.
  4. Shared Identity & Eudaemonia.
    1. With a sense of you are bigger than yourSelf come a sense of well being.
    2. This comes because you are no longer focused on yourSelf.
    3. You begin to focus on this shared identity rather than just your own perspective.
    4. The mind become larger, wider, deeper.
  5. Dependence & Imbalance
    1. But if this shared identity is taken to be the source of happiness for oneSelf then there is an cognitive imbalance. That is to say, a sense of well-being can come from a shared identity but not always.
    2. This belief will grow into a feeling of dependence. As if your happiness is dependent on this thing that is separate from you.
    3. When this is done you’ve in effect created a self identity and thus another “I” and “It”. Only the “It” is the relation itself and not another person.
    4. This happens mostly at a level of consciousness that is below ordinary thinking. At a feeling tone. Something spoken without words.
    5. At this point it has turned dysfunctional. That is, the shared identity is no longer shared and as a result it has broken down.
  6. Loss of Self (Control)
    1. Implicit in this feeling of dependence is a feeling of a lack of control – as if one’s Self is dependent on this shared identity for it’s existence.
    2. From there feelings of losing yourSelf arise.
    3. And from there ridigness and confusion
    4. Blaming the other for this loss of control may arise because the subtle shift from shared identity, to imbalance, to dysfunction was not noticed.
    5. This can result in one lashing out at the perceived source of misery.
    6. Removing oneSelf from the experience is the only option.
  7. We Always Have Choice
    1. There is in fact little one can do at this point.
    2. Something must change. Something will change. Whether you want it to or not.
    3. In the end the only thing you can do is choice. Not making a choice is still a choice. It is a choice to act in the same dysfunctional manner you’ve been doing so far.
    4. So you must be brave, believe in your own potential, and jump.
    5. What is this jump? It is the simple act of choosing.
    6. If you want to be alone, choose that.
    7. If you want a sense of togetherness and well-being that is greater than oneSelf, choose that.
    8. But to do so one must redefine love as something that you give rather than something you get if a shared identity is to remain in balance and this requires a conscious ongoing choice to give.
    9. Therefore, in the end, to love, is to choice to love.

(In Buddhism love is defined as an aspiration or wish that one or many have happiness and it’s causes. It is therefore something we give and thus a very different way of viewing “love.” )

This is a working document. It may change over time. And I may in fact create articles for each section.


The Power of Introspection

Introverts are not shy. Not always. How do I know? I’m one. And I’m not shy.

You can google Myers Briggs test, and do the test. It was helpful to me. I hope it is for you as well.

But what I wanted to say to you today is this: introvert or extrovert; these are mere orientations. Know this. Understand this. From understanding come unerstanding. When integrated into your own life it becomes wisdom. Wisdom and skill can then be used to help ourselves and those around us have better lives. Lead better lives.

Introspection couple with a basic curiosity will lead you evolve. Of this I have little doubt because I’ve seen it. The human condition is not fundamentally stable. We can change; we do change. Healing is the result.

 

 


Hiding?

Day two of this new daily blog practice. Yes it is a practice.

I’ve been reading, or more correctly listening to Seth Godin a bit over the last few days. Turns out he is much more than just a business marketing guy. He cares about the world and more importantly, people. I like this about him. And he has some interesting ideas about our future too. That is why I was listening.

Indeed, Seth is the reason why I am trying (again) to reboot writing here. See, over the years I have written long posts about philosophy, short ones about life, and all shade in-between. Nothing felt right. I did not know why. Which is probably why it never really lasted.

And he did not tell me anything I did not know already in his talks but he did point out something that was slightly hidden. And that is the degree to quite I hide. Hide from myself. From others. Those l love and love me back. What makes us do this? White knight syndrome perhaps?

How Seth pointed it out was this. “whenever you find yourself scared by doing something you are on to something. Make a ruckus!” Simple. Straight forward. And missed my many…including myself for many years. It’s vague enough to be inserted back into the readers life as they see meaningful. I did just that.

Firstly, here is why I missed it (in part). I am not afraid of most things. Change? No problem. Uncertainty? Nope! The unknown? Never – I have got on a plane and left Australia without much of a plan several times in my life and enjoyed that feeling.  Not for a holiday with money in the bank but with almost nothing. Because of this I’ve always thought myself quite robust in this regard. I’ve started projects time and time again with a real fear it might not work out but I’ve done it because I had to see for myself. I believed in an idea and myself enough to at least try, and when it failed (as most have) I have picked myself up off the floor, learning something from the process, and tried again.

But I wrongly assumed I did not suffer at all from the type of fear Seth was talking about.  No. For it is scary to be vulnerable in front of another. Indeed in front of you. But if we do not do this are we really leading a full life? I’ve banged on about leading a good life for years. Turns out I was hiding from it all along. Now comes the work.

 

 

 


Fineart Photography

As you may know I have started to shoot headshot and portrait photography via Portraits of Melbourne.

As part of this venture into shooting photography I have started to shoot a little fineart photography just to balance the commercial work with something that is done purely for the sake of art. (BTW I’ve got a article I am working on about the purpose of art from my point of view. Keep an eye out for that one.)

I’m not entirely sure what I will do with these pictures right now. Maybe a book? Maybe an exhibition. Perhaps both? I don’t know.

The series is all about emotions. How we live with them and how they hold us.

It’s an ongoing series that I will shoot over the course of the next 12 months or so.

But this being my first fineart portrait series I am not entirely sure what to expect but I am loving the experience of finding out as it all goes along.

So far I have shot three female actors for this series. Each actor has brought their own energy to the shoot and this makes every session a little different.

Below is from the first shoot.

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Soul Searching

I heard someone recently use the phrase, “it was a period of ‘soul searching’ in my life.”

It struck me then….right then, that my entire life seems to have been a period of “soul searching.”

Why?

Because as I’ve fleeted from one idea to the next, from one project to the next, I’ve been searching — searching for something but not really understanding what.

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For the longest time I thought I was searching for what I was doing with my life — my ideas and the projects that came from these ideas.

And truth is, some days my ideas and projects were just a joy! And I thought there was meaning in what I was doing. I’d want to tell as many people as possible about them.

Then some days nothing worked. It hurt. I wanted to hide.

Other days were just uncomfortable where all I could do was hold on as life spun.

I see now that what I was searching for was meaning. Not just the what, and not just the why but, …WHY!

Trams

It has taken me a long time to really understand this. And I’m certain there is more to be discovered.

So I’m here to say that the mistake I made comes when we look for meaning outside of ourselves. We try and find meaning in what we do, or who we are with, and who we think we are.

But those that seek meaning outside of themselves find only emptiness (and do not mean shunyata). This was Satre‘s final “discovery” and it sounds as bad as the philosophy it is.

True, a meaningful life does not come from something external to yourself. There is nothing “out there” that provides you or me with meaning.

Some will think, Clarke that is BS. My life has meaning. My kids give it meaning. Love gives me meaning.

To which I say, nope. You’re wrong.

It is not your kids that give your life meaning but something in you, and in relation to your kids, that gives you the feeling of purpose and therefore meaning. That is to say, it is not the kids doing this to you.

Same for love — if by love you mean something external to yourself. If you think that love is something someone gives you, you are on a course set to a destination called, disappointment.

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So we, you and I, need to stop looking outside of ourselves for meaning. It is not there. But where Satre stopped we must continue if we are to have a meaningful life.

All of that is to say that meaning is an inner thing.

We need to bring meaning to the world. To our work. To our relationships. To how we love. Indeed to how we live.

Only then will you and I find meaning in what we do.

My life’s journey has been about first seeing this, understanding this, and integrating this very idea.

It’s tough.. I’m still trying.


Every Young Person Will Be 40 One Day

The older I’ve become the more aware I’ve become of the degree to which the wisdom of experience is under-valued in our modern culture. Having lived with a traditional culture that values wisdom, I know this is a real shame because wisdom born of experience is hard won and has much to offer.

 

I believe this devaluing of experience is mainly due to two factors — advertising and ignorance. From the 1950’s onwards we’ve been sold the notion that new is better. This might be true for products but it is not true for people.

 

To be clear, I’m not saying young people have nothing to offer (I work with a lot of young people and they are mostly awesome people).

 

No! I am not saying that at all. Rather, what I am saying is the notion sold to us by advertising and media companies that bright and shiny new things are of more value undermines our cultural in such a manner as to undervalue more than the products they are selling.

 

In short it is bad for all concerned. Bad for young people also. Why?

 

The video below is with a writer/director named, Zoe Cassavetes who happens to be a 44 year old and prime of her life! Yet she wrote the story presumably because she sees issues around turning forty — or knows people who are having these issues. This is sad.

 

The movie might be great and it is certainly a good idea to explore these issues regardless of how she deals with them (indeed another example of the power of cinema) but, when did turning forty become like this? Perhaps I’m overstating the issue? Am I?

 

Watching this interview, I kept asking myself…what is really going on here? The problem is not simply the number of candles on your birthday cake. (A side point you might find interesting. In traditional Tibetan culture many people had no idea when they were born. How old you were carried little importance. What was important were your actions. Period!)

 

 

 

What I find interesting here is how the devaluing of experience, and the effects this has on younger men and women, is directly correlated to how they see the process of maturing. In older cultures, the wise sage was revered. That is no longer the case.

 

My own mother is in her 70’s and stronger and brighter than she has ever been but instead we have a cult of celebrity as a pseudo-educator of today’s youth.

 

Indeed, how to act, what is valuable, and what one should aspire to, comes from a very limited and in my view narrow view of the world. A world-view whereby the marks of experience that appear on faces are deemed the signs of uselessness, and people are sold the notion that they must be vanquished with magical creams at any cost! …i enjoyed writing that sentence! But it’s true isn’t it! 🙂

 

But if our culture valued wisdom and celebrated knowledge then wouldn’t younger people look forward to getting older instead of fearing it? I think they would.

 

A culture of celebrity is killing our kids!

 

There are a number of questions remaining unanswered here. Questions crying for discussion. Questions such as: Does experience equal wisdom? Does youth have anything meaningful to offer modernity?

 

Young or old(er)? How do you feel about aging? Do you feel as if your experience is under valued?

 


 


Dream Learn Plan—A Life

I dream. I learn. I plan.

 

Or should that be I plan, learn and dream?

 

We started out to get a computer in the hands of everyday people, and we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. — Steve Jobs

 

I’m not really sure which ones came first but I do know that my days are filled with time spent planning — either for future goals, or present projects — learning something that will allows these plans every possible success, and dreaming about how things might actually turn out well.

 

It’s a strange mix of present and future orientated thinking and I believe the combination of all three are important. How’s why:

 

1. Plan — Create a plan

By creating planning you are in essence setting a course, a direction in which to focus your energies like a set of track for you to follow.

 

So it is more than simply “planning” an outcome as you might if you were planning a schedule for a large project. No.

 

Think BIG when you plan like this. Do not limit yourself is what you know is doable. Imagine a possible future (dreaming) and than Plan for that possible future.

 

But remain flexible with your dream and continue to monitor and adjust your plan as it is informed by new skills and changing future aspirations. Trust me…they will change.

 

2. Learn — Develop skills

By developing skills the skills needed to complete the journey you have set yourself. Effort is required and this in itself is a skill. So is perseverance. Skills are not necessarily just technical ones.

 

What I do when I have attempted anything is to break down or deconstruct the goal into smaller pieces and then go about acquiring these skills. That is a skill in itself too as we do not always know, what we do not know…therefore the deconstruction of the skills needed kind of unfolds as you learn more and move along the journey you have set yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that, the more I know about “X” the more I realize I know nothing about “x”.

 

If this is happening to you then you are doing it right! 🙂

 

It might sound obvious but this is a very important part of being a life long learner. Embrace it. It will be like a friend and a peer. You will be unstoppable.

 

3. Dream — Execute on the above to.

By dreaming I mean day-dreaming. To let your mind wonder — thinking in a playful manner about possibilities.

 

What it will be like to have achieved your goal. Imagine it. I dare you.

 

Without this third component your plan and the skills are of little use. Without dreaming, you will not think big nor complete your task as dreaming provides both inspiration and determination.

 

Be as big as you like with your dream but make certain you do not spend all your time in the future thinking. For without time spent in the present you will never achieve the goal. Let your thinking be a balanced combination of dreaming, achieving new skills, and planning. Do this every day.