Since 1998, the Turner Classic Movies television station has created short-film tributes to the artists who've died over the past year. They're called "TCM Remembers," and they always make my eyes leak.
There's something about hearing about the passing of these film-Makers that gets to me. I don't know them - not really - but I do know their work. I know the stories they helped bring to life... the people they helped me to know a little better (most notably, myself).
It might have been because of the piece I'd written about Robin Williams when I heard news of his suicide or whatever, but this year's offering really hit me in the emotion-balls.*
It was more than that, though.
On a more narcissian plane, it was the cumulative effect of seeing all these other artists-Makers remembered for their contributions. It got me thinking about my own mark on the world. I'm a film-maker, I think... who will remember me?
(answer: at this point, not the masses)
But then I watched an animated short film called YEARBOOK, which won the 2014 Jury award for animation at Sundance.
Here's the trailer...
You can watch the full, five-minute thing HERE, but the reason I'm sharing it is because it tells the story of a dude who gets commissioned to write the history of the world before an alien missile comes to destroy the planet (just go with it). They tell him to focus on significant people, and he ends up angsting over all the human stories he's forced to cut, for reasons of disc space.
Bernardo Britto, the film's creator, said in an interview that the inspiration for the short was a moment spent grappling with the relative insignificance of his own creative work.
Britto's short concludes that the significance of the history-writing dude's life is to be found in the day-by-day moments spent in relationship with his wife.
But why would I ever think about that? I mean, where's the glory in actually enjoying my life? Instead, I think about my own tepid contribution.
If I think too long, the rabbit hole just deepens and falls away into forever. So instead I open up a file, warm up my typing hands, and get to work.
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*Emotion-Balls are these vaguely crystalline spheres that bounce around in my empty brain-spaces and generally serve to turn me into a useless schmuck until my Reason-Balls take over and ping them back into place.
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