Several interesting things happened this week in regards to developing the film. The first was that I realised that I have continued my old habit of throwing ideas away and trying new ones instead of giving myself the opportunity to develop an execution further. (I say execution, because the core nugget of it being about body image and fatness is still the same, but the way I approach it has changed wildly).
I went through a wild array of versions of the idea, coming back to the original documentary idea, through some bizarre abstract ideas, straight back to where I started from, really.
Having been writing a script for a monologue-type film, where the character is literally just standing talking to the screen, I realised that I didn’t really know who the character was supposed to be talking to. Other people with the same issues? My parents? My partner? Who would I be talking to?
This question is something that always needs to get answered at the start of a project, but it felt more literal because the idea of monologuing at the camera/audience meant I really needed to be solid on what the point of the monologue was. It’s not like writing a blog post, where your audience knows there’s someone writing it on the other end; part of the illusion is that you’re making something people can get sucked into. It’s also quite a hard thing, in my opinion, to keep going to several minutes. I have seen plenty of films where the director is the narrator, and I know that’s not what I want to do - if it’s going to be a monologue, it really has got to be almost a “confession” from me, as this is my experience after all. I would love to make a film that someone who feels the same way as me can send to someone and say “I don’t have the words, just watch this:”.
I’m not throwing this idea away, I still want to work this in there somewhere. But what sitting down with Alex and talking to her about it made me realise is that the starting point for this project is relatively simple - it’s charting stuff that has happened to me, particularly as a kid, to make me so hyper aware of what my body looks like.
Therapy Therapy Therapy
The other major thing that happened this week is that I went to my first therapy/counselling session. We talked about a whole bunch of stuff - body image, mental health, self-esteem - and actually realised that a lot of that can be boiled down to one thing; that constantly critical internal voice. It’s the voice that says “fat cunt” out loud when I see myself in a mirror, it’s the voice that says I’m not good enough to make things, it’s all the same voice.
Obviously on a personal note this is a significant thing anyway, but in regards to the film it actually got me really fired up. It started to feel like peeling back some layers and getting to the thing that’s actually CAUSING the body image issues, rather than the issues themselves. Suddenly it feels like there’s an antagonist developing there, rather than just a general feeling. It also explains a bit how there can be positive times, and how I can feel fine about myself, and then all of a sudden feel crap again.
Lastly, it also gives something to push against in terms of resolution. The lens we view ourselves through, those of us who struggle, is what needs to change - not us physically.
Anyway. I don’t know where the film’s specifically going yet, but I know that it feels like it has a bit more direction and clarity than it did before. Because Moho is still taking me a while to get used to, I want to do more writing and quick-prototyping before launching into the full thing, but I feel like diving into the small bits might help the bigger bit take shape.