A Reflection on August

August, 2014

At the rise of September, we bid farewell to August. But as the summer months have descended, one last salute to them, remains: A Reflection on August…

August kicked off, full-throttle on the Space Prairie chariot. For months, I’d worked to secure those that would fill-the-gap. A gap whose significance resembled the pillars of the production’s entryway: the completion of the cast.

At August’s dawn, those pillars stood. Though one cast member remained a mystery to be solved, everyone else who were needed to begin production, were ready to begin production. Ready to set forth on the adventure that is Space Prairie.

Through August’s early days, we set forth, furthering the film towards the beginning of production. Among those efforts, were these highlights…

Caleb Fischer (Lead Cameraman) and I had a full day of exploration of the camera—its functions; its feel. We explored a multitude of movements and gestures, with a variety of angles and compositions. We minimally dealt with the device that will capture the sound of Space Prairie: the Zoom H4n.

Luke Unsicker (Actor) and I had an evening on his farmland—an expanse which Space Prairie shall inhabit. It too, was a time of exploration—exploration of the angles and compositions that the expanse shall provide.

Our early August momentum culminated with our group gathering—the first time the cast and crew surrounded each other with their company. Like the phone sessions we’d done, we ran dialog. Unlike those phone sessions, everyone took part in the read-through—a read-through of Space Prairie‘s first tantalizing Act, front-to-back.

All but one of the film’s principal cast, participated—a cast member, that, was no longer a cast member. After final moments of our gathering drew to a close, and with, our momentum of August dying down, I found myself in a familiar position I did not expect to revisit.

Mid-August, forward, I faced the challenge each summer month had given me. Though the detail differed, the objective remained: the completion of our cast. As you read, last post, in Space Prairie: Cast & Crew, an actress had stepped down from the film.

After awhile, energy left me. Enthusiasm was drained. I collapsed with fleshly fatigue. For months, each day had centered around the same procedure—a procedure of seeking out individuals for the film. I needed rest from it. I needed to be on a new mental avenue. I began to rest, but continued to walk towards the great achievement, while at a lessened pace.

While I rested, I wrote and drew a comic book, and began my senior year of high school. Drawing the comic book was a healthy diversion. It refreshed me, allowing me a charge-of-battery on Space Prairie, while creatively expressing an entirely new and different thing, in a vastly different creative landscape. It opened up my mind to a way of thinking and creating that had been untapped, for years. It was just what I needed. In the future, perhaps I’ll finish the book.

As those days of pencil and paper stretched on, the newly lazy lifestyle I was living became increasingly unattractive to me—until I couldn’t stand it, any longer.

Going into the rest, I knew my withdrawn comic-drawing-with-the-door-closed of a lifestyle was going to be temporary. I knew Space Prairie‘s knock-at-the-door would grow too compellingly loud to leave unanswered. Sure enough, as expected, Space Prairie crept into my thoughts; its pulse, was felt rushing through my veins. I couldn’t bring myself to lift up the pencil and have it meet with the sheet of paper, any longer. The time had arrived to put the pencil down, and embrace Space Prairie. The time had come for me to return back on course, full-throttle.

It wasn’t an effortless transition, but I’m back on course, full of the life and vigor that the film has instilled me with. And now, with an immense exhilaration and deep compulsion, whose depths only time can reveal to you, I will instill that life and vigor, into the film. I will see its realization carried out.

While the casting uncertainty hangs in the balance, there is no likelihood nor unlikelihood that the film will come into being. It is guaranteed, that the film will come to pass. I know that Space Prairie will be made. It is a promise…

The project I did for the homeschool choir which May and June chronicled, was released on DVD by my collaborator and sent out to the subscribed families. It has been well recieved. Felt good to pop it on with the sight and sound of a job well done, before me.

August was an abundant time with family. The first weekend of August was spent with my dad’s side of the family. We went to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. We won! (Milwaukee brewed the loss…)

Mid-August, my Aunt Amy, mother of the cousin that took his life (elaborated on in A Reflection on July), held a Celebration of Life gathering of family and friends, in honor of his time with us on earth. Somehow, I found it superior to what a funeral would’ve been. Perhaps, this was more intimate. It was full of cheer, and graced with a redemptive spirit.

We all released balloons into the sky at the time of his birth, on his birthday: the 16th, at 11:00 AM. I was honored to have been asked by my aunt to lead our family and friends in prayer, before we did so. My aunt had asked me to do this because of how the tribute I’d written for her son, had touched her. The response I’ve received from family because of the tribute, has been wildly positive. It has really resonated.

When I wrote the tribute, it was my way of dealing with the reality of the loss, and the emotions, therein. What a gift it is, that the written word can distill such circumstances and emotions, bringing peace and finality to them—that the written word, knits chaos into order. And what a gift it is, that that gift, can be given to others, once penned.

The final and most recent weekend of August was again spent with my mother’s side of the family. Last night, we arrived back from my grandmother’s, where we’d stayed for two days. I had a glorious time with my grandmother, and with all whom made up our “heritage pilgrimage”—that is, our ventures to old family cemeteries and landmarks of the family, in a homely Macomb, Illinois, and her quaint surrounding regions. I came away with a greater appreciation for the family, and the town.

In direct relationship with the impact the tribute to my cousin had, it was on the first morning at my grandmother’s that I first noticed it—a picture on a wall. It was the photo I’d taken and dedicated to Cole, framed and beautifully hung beneath her decorative cross along the front door side. I was deeply touched. That’s human nature at its best: through a tragedy, that kind of beauty can exist…

In conclusion, I had a spectacular summer, and August made for a fine conclusion. See you at dawn, as we excitedly usher in the next chapter of 2014…

Upwards and onwards,

~Wes

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