Saturday, March 7, 2015

Evaluating "obsession" when there are no shortcuts [screenwriting]

Read: Twitter Rant: Jeff Willis on the Reality of Spec Script Sales

I often debate that discipline doesn't exist.  What we're observing when we think we're evaluating discipline is really obsession.  Discipline seems to suggest we can tame our instincts, our emotions, and can achieve focus by force of will.

However, these are all symptoms of a greater truth: the subject has found a greater obsession than all those which have come before and so habits have fallen in line with the new more demanding cause.

Ambition, conquest, or even delusions of grandeur are some of the vehicles for obsession.  But discipline without cause is unprecedented.  Singular cause is what distinguishes character and promotes a standard of achievement.  When that person speaks about dedication and endurance, they aren't always explaining how many other elements of their life they've had to neglect.  Discipline is a euphemism for obsession.  The article above subtly hints at this when the word "volume" is used.

Simply put you can't throw a lot of shit to the wall and expect a better turnout then from the one turd you started out with.  Achieving a prolific status only matters if you're stuff is escalating in quality.  One may assume growth is implied but a writer is also dealing with fear and doubt - thus their nullifier: Obsession.  It is the key.  What other state of being hurdles the worries of the common artist?  Not even greed can thrive without obsession because, after all, money is an intermediary device.  So is writing for that matter.

Replace "can" with "must" and you
understand the sub-directive.
"Can" eases what "must" demands,
a system of definitions opens the
way toward a greater goal
Writing is intermediary.  Money is intermediary.  But obsession breeds a singularity between agent and cause and creates what some perceive as confidence - which we all prize.  Batman is obsessed, for example.  So he becomes the animal, the bat, and an icon of justice by preying upon those who dwell in the dark of Gotham City.  Active protagonists struggle with an internal motivation that isn't always clear at the beginning, but once found becomes justification for momentum throughout the adventure.  The pace may change, but only obsession is interesting.  The common person is passive and seeing the active hero is our therapy and our escape.

I want to to tell stories but for many reasons, including those posed in the article which seem to suggest that a platform for obsession is needed if one is to attempt to compete (food in the fridge, rent paid, etc.) a system is more important.  How can one invest the amount of time needed to achieve a volume of quality work without a ways to be sustained in the mean time.  My conscious mind needs to build a system to support obsession while my subconscious is patiently awaiting the moment it can release itself from economic and societal constraint.  How long must we wait to be who we want to be?  We can certainly brave the attempt at our earliest instinctual prompt but life and the other people we live with seem to teach us that nothing is for free, including freedom.

Life is absurd.  We need to get so good at things that serve others in order to be afforded that opportunity which serves ourselves.  That was never politically established.  We aren't placed in work centers after college for example.  But it has been philosophically recognized; duty.  It takes a great deal of effort to arise as a contributor to society only to be embraced into a position that was only meant to be our effort in trade.  But the economy today presses down on sideline expansions.  Where my obsession cannot be self-sustained, the obstruction to this cycle becomes the new obsession.  Maybe it's a mistake to focus on the challenges that would divert my obsession but when there are mountains in the way, we must learn to climb them.  WE must learn.  They are mountains after all.

To a more structured and accessible independent film industry...

- C