Saw a picture today. It informed me that I was influenced by the man in it. While not in style, substance or beliefs but the way you chase your passions. When I made my first movie, “Why My Grandpa Went To Hell”, it was his path that I saw as the most like the one I was trying to take. Not having the technical background, a lot of money or any idea of what to do after we finished it, just the need to make it and tell the story, in that way we were like him. I blindly killed myself to drag this thing over the finish line with the help of a lot of folks. In his success, he influenced my belief that it could be done and be worth it. I thank him for that. Even though no one outside of Mansfield, Ohio is aware of “Why My Grandpa Went To Hell”, to this point it is my proudest accomplishment. I followed through, took something from an idea and made it into something more. It taught me that Nike is right.
It has me thinking of who else has influenced me artistically. Music is a large influence on me and a powerful tool that I use in almost all facets of my life. Of course, literature is rife with people that I draw from either their examples or words. Painters that I love have helped shape my aesthetic sense. Cinema is the culmination of all these things and I’m certainly guilty of creative derivative from this stream as well.
Life is the biggest influence that directs an artist. The narrow path and wide roads we choose form us. The cruel realities of undeniable torment and the euphoria from the sweeter victories that we pull from its chthonian fires create us. The relationships that embolden us and build up our self or the ones that burn and strip us of our pride make us. This more than all has our soul’s truths forged from this conflagration. Our essential being in the crucible of living is defined. It’s from this root that we pour out our triumph and agony and share it willingly with those who are thirsty to drink the bittersweet wines it wrought. Life, that haggard creature, is our main and most crucial influence. I feel it’s with this influence we need to be the most honest when sharing. That’s the path to the best connection between communicator and listener.
Art is subjective and will always remain that way. You can never tell what will resonate with the audience and what will just appeal to a few. If you don’t do it, however, you will never know and it will nag at you. You will always wonder, what if? So next time you run into a creative type person and they divulge to you their avenue of creativity, don’t tell them your ideas or try to sell them your movie plan. Do it yourself. Put your truth in it and just do it. And get well, Mr. Smith