When I left my home 16 months ago this day, February 24th and set out for a “desert walk”, my aim was to fully live a life just for making movies on the road and nothing else! A life of a devotee for an amalgam of direct cinema and nouvelle vague where I would travel with a story and a script draft I already had, and develop and shape it as I travel through various geographies where ever my own story will take me until I can shoot it and make it real, because how dramatic it may sound, I couldn’t shoot my debut feature in my country, beyond my parents knowledge I probably had become the dream of a higher consciousness in the meantime or my country was captured by aliens.
I had to make this film in a way breaking the barriers and routines of filmmaking which is in fact a very tedious job most of the times and by the time you finish a film you may end up losing track what led you to where you are when you cross the finish line.
The more films I make I realized that they all lead to a more stronger connection to what makes us more genuine and centered as who we really are as human beings. Making indie films after a while becomes like a habitual worship that you do, in a sense, to keep this connection with your core constantly and don’t want to loose it, but the question is: “Is this worship something about what you don’t know yet about yourself or about what you’ve always felt that you knew but couldn’t put it in words, yet?”
Because there are again certain gatekeepers in the mainstream filmmaking and certain rules of the industry that you have to follow, if you want to make a commercial film, but chances are the finished product may not look like what you have initially expected to see. What to do then? You have to take a break to see things in perspective as to what was the reason that resulted to how things are like now in your life. Then you should start walking again as you construe every moment of your walk with a new perception of righteous causes and righteous consequences in mind.
Thus, the dramatic quality of the final version of your script depends on how much drama you can bear in this life to turn your primal cry into a universal dream. But then, the question you should ask yourself is “Does the final product reflect the variety of things and different interpretations that I had no idea of when the initial idea came to my mind?” If your answer is “no”, it means that you have a universal story at hand that is like water or air; not exclusively yours, but something so urgent that everybody needs right now! It means that you made enough effort to integrate yourself with source of the whole universe and were bloody honest not to shade the truth your existence to correct the chaos everybody else is so afraid of doing, because it has always been the toughest and most avoided job in the world.
If you deny the universal law that the sum of all the things – good or bad – will always result in good, you will end up making a lot of effort in trying to stay at the dark side of the moon without being able to see how marvellous the trip to the other side of the moon is where you the real shape of the moon as it reflects the sun in its entirety. We need to take the extra mile to see ourselves reflecting the light in our full form as we unite with our dark side at some distant part of the world, when we discover that our existence yet unbeknown to us has a very important meaning for someone we haven’t met yet at the other side of this planet. This is our real journey on this life that we can’t avoid, but only deter to different lifetime.
Refusal of the “good result of the creation” will lead you to a sense of ineffectiveness and thus, being stuck in the dare measures of some naysayers of the film industry of how films should be done according to the industry standards. But today even 5-6 years old kids know how to use a mobile phone as a camera to make their first experimental shorts at very early age.
Although we live in a time of a very advanced technology where everybody can now become a filmmaker technically. More than technical issues with camera gear and stuff, the very nature of traveling is being in constant motion – physically and mentally, you become aligned with the constant motion of the universe to keep things in one place – even if you decide to take longer breaks at some certain places. Though it has a very positive effect on your story to develop it to the hilt while you start seeing from more different angles as you travel with it, but keeping track of the changes in locations with different gimmicks but similar energies and landscapes reflecting the same initial idea is a common denominator of how crafty you are in adapting your personal story to ever changing environments and conditions as you come close to becoming a highlander figure traveling through space and time.
In respect to truthfully illustrate and maintain the core idea of the story, until very recently the language barrier was an important issue. I simply couldn’t speak Spanish more than some words or basic sentences. I will never forget the day, when I sat down on a table at a seaside restaurant facing the waves of the Atlantic ocean where I decided to re-write the whole script for South America only to be able to finish it 1 year later at another far end beach in Cartagena/Colombia. By then I was fluently speaking Spanish and could even correct the typos and misinterpreted words of its Spanish translation. I even went further and interpreted the protagonist for a promo I shot for the film which received more than 2500 views in the first 5 days after I uploaded it on Vimeo.
“Love in Seven Letters” has been written and re-written in a script development process of seven years zig-zaging between one adaptation to another in the greater Mediterranean area spreading over 4 distant countries in 3 continents. I was finally able to turn my initial protagonist of an disenfranchised underdog of an introverted environmental activist character to a heoric figure akin to a king on exile conquering a lost continent in search of the greatest mystery of his life: his long missing dad!
I had to really know and understand well what I have been worshiping for so many years until I reached the point where I integrated myself fully to what was superior to me until then: I learnt Spanish to tell my own story! The story of my childhood dreams, my debut film to be shot in South America, my new home. That’s what I was trying to do all along as I was traveling all that way up until here: making a New Me without the routines of me!
I had to make long breaks to let go of the negativities that I had piled up without knowing as I was taking things only to make a film, my film, my personal logic. But there was also another logic beyond my “80 square meter logic” of my family heritage. And I ended up developing my protagonist until I converted his actions moving with the logic of the universe. And there things moved in quite a different manner, in a manner of constant giving as you constant keep receiving from the source of what made all the things surrounding me which were once obstacles in my way, now suddenly lifted up as I showed them also how to move mountains to the seas.
I received an email yesterday in my mailbox for an open call for a script contest at a film festival in Mexico and decided to submit my script as I just finished the last few touches last night. But the funny thing something that I noticed how far I am ahead of myself when I was filling out the application form where one of the standard questions are “the country of origin of the project”, “the language of the screenplay” and “the current address of the applicant”. Still having a Turkish passport and the birth place of the initial idea being Istanbul, “the country of orgin” must still be Turkey. Although the first versions were written in my native language, Turkish, some earlier versions were written in English while traveling and the final version was translated to and re-written in Spanish. And I was applying from Colombia!
I was merely struck by the revelation that how many spiritual re-births and journeys we have to undergo just to be again our original selves. No wonder why Napoleon called Istanbul as the capital of the world, if the world would be one nation. I then realized I was born as a true “citizen of the world” and had become one when I finally clicked that shiny “submit” button last night. I had finally submitted myself.