In this article I want to talk about how to live your life fully while making cinema in its original sense. The two may sound counterproductive, but it is not, if you know the trick how to realise your daily “filmmaker dreams&ideas” into instant videos, chapters of a web series and ultimately sequences of an ongoing feature film! Does this sound too futuristic! I hope not, because I’ve been doing it for quite a while lately and today I want to share with you how I made there feature length films as I traveled for 7 year from across the Atlantic ocean and from the last port of the Mediterranean Sea, Istanbul, until I reached the shores of another ocean, the Pacific. Here is a link for a quick look at it:
What I wanna talk about today is cinema as Lumiere brothers and others who used it as a means of liberation of the mind. Well, to tell you the truth it is such a time consuming job that you finally start to live it as a life style.
What is this lifestyle? This lifestyle is closing yourself into a space and thinking and writing and researching continuously until one day what you have been dreamt of for so long becomes the reality of all the people who followed you up to that “mountain top” which sets you free again in terms of shooting that dream together with people who followed you there and bringing it down to earth together.
That’s why it’s important to choose a dream that will be great enough to maintain your attention for a very long period of time. But what happens when you are from a “third world country” where dreaming big is not allowed? You start traveling with your dreams! First, you travel in your mind and then in physical terms. Basically your grow out of the soil where you have been planted and try to reach the sky with as many branches as you can produce where other birds soon will start nesting. You become a proverbial “pepper tree” – “the tiniest seed that grows the highest tree” as Jesus put it quite nicely. There is no other way here but aligning yourself with a higher consciousness that only can set you free.
My journey started as I was getting bored of what I was doing back in Istanbul seven years ago. I had already made then over a 130 commercials, promos, TV programs, music videos, mini documentaries along with 10 shorts and a hybrid feature documentary thanks to which I was lucky enough to have been invited to a film festival in Iceland. An epic country and landscape which was about to be the food for my dreams for a long period of time. I had been probably observed by another dreamer with strong convictions, a festival programmer.
This is to say that we travel as long as we have been observed by another human being with some bigger than life expectations similar to yours. That’s why we make films, no? To open a star gate to the other dimension, as is the latest trend nowadays. But you don’t need to create a black hole for it that will suck everybody in and bring out other dark forces! There is a more environmental way to do it! Namely, connect with those who have an eye to see and an ear to hear. How about making a quantum jump! Going through a slit and make a mark on a big screen behind the curtain. Do I sound like talking metaphorically here? No, indeed I don’t. I was probably a bit too scientific. I was trying to talk about an experiment which is the most astonishing experiments of the quantum physics, the so called “double slit experiment”. Here is a short video of the experiment which explains very well the strange behaviour of electrons or photons and is the very fabric of the universe:
So, after watching this amazing video you probably are more in picture now why I am talking here science instead of what was expected of me talking about how to make cinema as you travel? Well, me, as the electron have noticed that I was being observed by someone else (call it God, your family or friends, depending on your belief) and decided to couple up with my other electron partner. I left the unnecessary luggage back home and went through the double slit acting as a particle, previously knowing that electrons or photons were created with a duality of acting both as waves and and particles (I used a lot of light meters in sets which are designed to measure this weird behaviour of photons as was explained to me by one of my first electricians!)
But I didn’t know yet who would be the accompanying electron once I will hit the big screen! I had to find her out. And as I expected it to happen I made two dots out of me at “the screen behind the curtain”. I have a Colombian partner now and she sat just across the stage when I was giving a conference at the International Film Festival Pasto (her birth place) last week! We “made two dots instead of forming an interference pattern” which is the result of the earlier experiment without an observing eye. If one of you agrees to be cheerleader, the other can tackle the task at hand. When their shift is over, you can switch roles. That’s part of the joy of coupledom: splitting the work and doubling the joy. But nevertheless we are nothing but from the same idea of spooky long distance entanglement as Einstein called it.
So, the first question (or tip) to may want to ask yourself is
- where you want to get noticed and by whom you want to get noticed and which screen you want to make a mark on?
Also do you have the patience to make through both experiments to understand why you behave differently on different planes? And most importantly do you really can sustain your initial dream until the second experiment where you will put your mark in a very significant way than acting no more than just “making waves”. If you answer is “yes, I want to see the big picture!”, then celebrate your ability to stick to a project even when it seems like you’re not making any progress. Like a long-distance runner training on a treadmill, the passing scenery of long waitings to realise a film project will give you no clue about the benefits you’ll reap. The major benefit being finally getting to know who you really are and are not, getting real with yourself and your essential needs as a visionary human being and not the needs the society dictates to you. Let God be your observer, not the multitude of crowds! And there is only you and Him/Her!
This long waiting periods of making films led me to another channel which I had to learn first before shooting anything else which will make me get through that tiny slit by letting go off my invested ego and thus getting to the bottomline with a “significant other”. So I decided to make a film about how to find true love in Istanbul! A city which Napoleon called “the capital of the world if the world would be one nation.”
So big a compost of ideas, dreams and isolations caused by a strange geography of being the one and only city in the world that sits on two continents! Probably the biggest trap of the mind in the world! To undo it I had to become a champion of all arts and sciences, that made this hologram. A multi layered puzzle created by the incapacity of a certain elite of various empires who created a whole religion, 4 popes and three empires just to act as if they are being real in Istanbul. To be “real in Istanbul” you have to leave it and re-create it in Heavens, as its distinct geography symbolises the Rapture!
The city that was called in ancient times “the mother of all cities!” So, after seeing there is nothing new to be found in the ordinary way of looking at it, I delved into the underground life of Istanbul to search where the chain was broken and where my proverbial missing “partner electron” was. I found it just next-door to the house which I was using as a set and later as my home for 3 years in downtown Istanbul. That project was the first attempt to make an online film as I was living in my own set. I had become a true protagonist of a “Truman Show”. I literally decorated a house according to the character that I wrote and then I moved and started living in it. I cast people from the streets along with real actors. I started sharing various material on the Facebook group of the project as we kept shooting. That place soon became a paradise for many artists and musicians who started living with me there and I filmed them in a semi-scripted way.
They were people from a very underground district of Istanbul and I first learnt to be a minority within a minority; we were very different. So here comes the second tip
2. Learn to be “the other”
in my case, I was to learn to be “your kind filmmaker neighbour who is willing to share his life with you, as he observes and films it in real time.
That project lasted 3 years and it was the same project which not only took me to see Iceland, but also discover other distant parts of the world.
I had to learn to “become no one” first to be literally born again from my ashes in another place very far from Istanbul and look to my culture with the eyes of no one, yes the best way to see it would being “someone like a minority within a minority”. I came to South America as almost “no one” too. When they ask me where I am from, they sometimes need two, three minutes to continue talking with me making sense, as probably my answer makes them dizzy.
I am just a traveling filmmaker from Turkey, namely from the lands where all the byzantine intrigue of Constantine to rule the world was originally created. So, it probably translates in their minds: “I am coming from the initial crime scene and I am the only living witness from there who made it up to here”
So I basically know in my genes how the whole deck was created. And I am now looking to another culture with the eyes of a man who was not here when this culture was created. How so?! They just feel busted in their games! But I know very well from what perspective to look at it, if it fits to the gran scheme of things, my journey with God as a traveling filmmaker or better put “for what scene I have come here to shoot which will further this journey to my next chapter”. We just had a scene to write and shoot on the go last week in Ecuador for a web series which came as a new kid on the block out of the necessity to share more of this mystic journey with my couple and thus the world. Now there is a new branch building up next to the mystic river that we are on. Here is a clip that lately shot on a river trip on the Pacific coast of Colombia between Ladrilleros and La Barra/Buenaventura.
We have to learn to look at the state of world with the same eyes – the eyes of a filmmaker who has learnt to film flowing with the energy surrounding him – almost like making jazz – in unison with his environment that ironically defy the reality of some decisively blind people who rule the world and create the mess that we are forced to live day-in-day-out as if it’s our reality. No, it isn’t! But we keep mimicking as if it is, because we lack visionary people to show more of what’s what, the way things are in reality.
I have no more titles here in Colombia now than being the screenwriter/director/producer of a screenplay that I started writing in Istanbul 7 years ago and kept on re-writing and adapting to various countries along the way until I finally decided to shoot it in its totality here in Colombia. When I say that people get amazed by my endurance and astute standing as a filmmaker. Do I need more as a title than being just that. This journey is about finding water in a desert. Every new level you rise up to you will come to another desert where you have to find the oasis again! That’s the kind of flow I am talking about. The only river being the waters of virility that flow through you. I am a visiting filmmaker now seeking partners from all around the world to realise the biggest dream of my life here in Colombia. Now comes the third question that needs a new tip to answer it.
3. How can you shoot a film without depreciating the original idea of the script for the sake of just making no matter what, i.e. at the other end of the world?
You can make it by connecting with the main need of all humanity: love in its least used sense, the love of “the other”. Real love is not as we know it. It’s what makes you one of those smart electrons that know how to make to the big screen behind the curtains by letting go off the things that you can’t take with you on the road or better put by splitting into two as was shown in the quantum experiment above. Learn the duality of your self that sometimes acts as waves and sometimes as particles!
You will find them just next to you once you make a leap of faith to make a mark on the big screen. It’s like taking your book draft to the battle field and keep revising it in the ditches as you try to survive there like Salinger did while writing “Catcher in the Rye”, Salinger took The Catcher in the Rye to World War Two with him. He was even involved in the invasion of Normandy from the very day he landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, he carried six chapters of the novel with him, which he worked on throughout the war.
As the famous saying goes: “the reality is in the eye of the onlooker.” I wonder how Salinger was witness a terrible war as he was writing his book in the ditches. So was my case!
I was just witnessing how soul mates are made by connecting with the core energy of the universe which created all these cosmoses. This is what looking at things with the eyes of God is all about: to get vested with the Spirit. The result is you get on a lifetime travel as long as you maintain this connection, because this energy is the building block of every good and bad in the world. And your job as a traveling visionary filmmaker is to see the good in everything, since the result of all of the good and the bad is good!
My forth big question was
4) how can I maintain the connection for such a long period of time until I make my film about the best kept secret in the world?
The answer is simple: You can only do it if you don’t waste your time looking at the living among the dead! That’s where the two pillars of this article come into play: 1) The weekly interpretations of old scriptures into your daily life 2) Finding answers for the most dramatic progression of the plot through the help of a software as what story you want to tell in accordance of your interpretation of this journey.
5) how can you sustain making films for people where you don’t really can make a living after all?
And my answer to that question is that in mundane norms you can’t! You will be rejected by funds and gatekeepers until you can afford to make a series of self-funded films to give a brief idea of who you are and what novelty you aim to bring to the world of cinema in a time of drastic changes of how films are made today. There are actually no more gatekeepers nowadays. Everybody has the chance to become his own producer and distributor if he or she knows how to use the internet well. Filmmaking has become a self-sustainable medium.
The rest is easy, just have your basic camera gear and laptop with you where ever you travel! And have them ready and charged! More tips later! Keep on travelling, mate!