The challenges therein. And as I near completion, filled with doubt. Naturally. Firstly, shooting has been difficult. It’s fucken raining all the time. Started in March, figured that would be plenty of time for the May 2 deadline but at this point, my options are narrowing. I hope we have enough footage. I need to do a couple of shots over and of course, it’s pouring out. Fingers crossed. I nearly screwed up my camera shooting in the rain, trying to forge ahead. It started malfunctioning. Fortunately a friend reminded me of a trick; sealing it in a Ziploc bag with rice, which dried it nicely. I was relieved to say the least.

Secondly, no close ups! The lens is so limited, I am reduced to medium shots. Period. The damn thing goes out of focus at one foot. I wanted to isolate eyes, mouths, hands. Forget it. I tried to find found footage but matching it with ours didn’t work as my 17-year old son/editor pointed out. He’s been helping me on videopoems since age eight, but this is our first real collaboration, a challenge in and of itself but mostly highly gratifying. He kicks my butt! Will not allow shots that are too shaky or out of focus. So funny. I said, hey, I’m not trying to be Steven Spielberg. I will make choices you wouldn’t. We argue for a bit and he wins. ‘Cause he’s right. We have standards. That’s my boy. He amazes me; taught himself to edit video at age ten, began producing machinimas and has had his own YouTube channel since. He’s got a lovely podcasting set-up going too which he allows me to use sometimes. We’ve developed a system in the house so he remains undisturbed while recording. He places a funky beaded necklace—a souvenir of Hawaii—on the door handle. I’m so lucky, he’s a great kid  and he works cheap; the third major challenge, a zero budget. (I’ve spent fifty bucks on a dress and seven bucks on flowers.) We barter. I copy edit his fan fiction in return for video editing services.

Fourth; try being subject, director, stylist, costumer, make-up and hair person simultaneously. Tough. Onward and upward. Today we finish the titles and credits. I wanted to use the font on the cover of my book Three Blocks West of Wonderland, designed by Derek von Essen who kindly sent it along. Called Block, it only works on a Mac. So Junior and I delighted in finding a something similar. I knew it was reminiscent of a 50s font, reminded me of the titles from old science fiction movies, so of course we googled “50s sci fi movies” and found a great site,  Tack-O-Rama, Retro Resources for Designers.  Junior insisted on going through them all until we came upon “Jungle Fever” which seems so apropos, after working through a jungle of obstacles and setbacks.

And as we work we are developing methods, infrastructure, process. Shoot. Render. Watch and identify clips, noting the best, most viable and figure out the right place for them in the piece. I make notes on a hard copy of the poem. Then create a rough cut. Experiment. Re shoot. Refine.

Using white Christmas lights to suggest stars, constellations. Doing Orion over but Cassiopeia came out nearly perfect. Serendipity. Yes! And as I was shooting, I had to back up into a rhododendron. Ouch. I’m getting to the point where it’s hard to figure out what to change, to be objective at all. I hope to have time to post the rough cut and get a little feedback but it may be too late for that, which means I will have to trust my instincts, go for it. Deadlines are harsh but very ultimately useful. So here it be, our new videopoem, Whore In The Eddy with audio from our AURAL Heather CD of spoken word songs, Princess Nut.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde



  1. Sounds very promising, and a fascinating process (especially for lazy amateurs like me). Could you possibly share the link to your son’s YouTube channel?

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