Twenty years ago today I completed my first feature film, My Crepitus (aka: I Never Left the White Room.)
It was a non stop push from highschool, college and the end roads of this film. Which was a blurry and rocky journey. Here I was in the final week push. Illegally sneaking into the school nine months after graduating. Using a tape to tape linear editing deck to complete the film. I was couch surfing with college buddies.
I get word my Great Grandma has passed. My Mum, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Kenny and his daughter/my cousin Sarah hit the road. We all abandon the moment we are in and go.
This predated cell phones being a thing. So how they managed to reach me was surely a feat unto itself. Since I was locked in the editing bay from 7am-10pm straight. I’d say they reached the school and someone found me there. So maybe I wasn’t so hard to find after all.
They zipped through on route down from Titusville and Pleasantville areas. Snagged me in Pittsburgh.
We hit the road on a straight shot to Texas. Switching off driving shifts. Being the crazy artist that wouldn’t sleep I recall driving a 3-7am shift.
It was a true bonding moment. Reconnecting with our human spirit. Family. All else in the world had stopped in our little bubble. We needed to celebrate my Great Grandma and who she was to each and every one of us.
The trip was full of tears and laughter. Sharing moments and memories. Present and past. As well as preparing us to be better versions of ourselves for tomorrow.
One day we were with our Texas family mourning my Great Grandma. The next day they surprised me with an early birthday celebration. It was soon to be my 21st.
We rushed back to whatever our normal lives were. With a regained appreciation for what we have, what we have had and those who are important in our lives.
I slide right back into that editing bay. The following day is the last day I am able to complete my movie. It ends the quarter and there’s no way I can continue sneaking around. It is the final 15 hour push. I never leave that White room and grind nearly to the final minute.
At 9:35pm I have the master tape exporting. It occurs to me… that in this moment it is my 21st birthday. That I have graduated highschool, college and completed my first feature film. That whole trip we did in the middle of this brought a whole other layer of perspective. It was all somehow possible. Because it had to be.
I ran the halls hoping to find someone to celebrate this epiphany with. I ran smack into m kadath. Who was the very first person I met when I moved to Pittsburgh to go to college. We were roommates. He is still a great friend and built this site and continues to supply his incredible musical talents to the scores on all of the films.
He grabs me. He sees it all over my face. He regurgitates it back into the English language. I don’t even say a word. We are a few weeks apart so we both also realize we could celebrate and go out for the first time and clang a beer together. But neither of us can afford it. So we postpone that moment. He pep talks me and sends me back to the editing bay to wrap up any loose ends before leaving the White room.
So here we are. Twenty years later. An internalized journey of a man trapped inside… seems more prevalent then ever. Being the focus of the film itself, lines between reality and fiction blur as they tend to. More often then many of us like to admit.
I am now my mothers age when we made that trip to Texas. She is now her mothers age…
And here we are collectively. In this massive moment of internal fear, externally sharing through this pandemic.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds. But we can come together communally. Share our lives. Through memory, conversations and art and countless other ways. For on the other side of this hard reset to the reality we have grown comfortable living… we will be better for it. We will renew the humanity that has been slipping through our fingers.
We have created our individual white walls and they are crumbling. Stay strong and positive. Grow through this tragic moment.
I hope we get that chance to celebrate that moment and all of our individual moments since.