You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory Promo Video from Jack Kyser on Vimeo.
To say that my Intermediate Narrative film The Wheels is auto-biographical would be somewhat accurate. The specific events in the movie never happened, but the film does kind of reflect how I feel about a lot of things, and maybe it represents some of the things I wish I'd said to my father, who passed away when I was eleven from alcoholism. But interestingly, making that film became a way of understanding him, and by the end of it, I actually feel more sympathy for his character than for the son. So, I don't know, maybe that says something about why we make these films.
In the latest version of my script, there is no mention made of Charlie's father, but the implication is there - if his father so easily disappeared from this world (as an older draft stated, aside from an obituary and a few pictures around the house, you'd never know he existed), what's to stop Charlie from being forgotten completely, too? Particularly when the people around him – his girlfriend, members of his family, friends who abandon him – are, as he puts it, dropping like flies? At the end of the day, the only person who knows his life story, who has been a witness for his entire life, is his mother.
When I think about why I've written these pieces, I think about the scene in my Advanced film where Charlie, in an act of desperation to form a connection with someone, goes overboard and starts overwhelming his realtor friend, Jim, with his deepest insecurities and fears. Jim becomes very uncomfortable, and withdraws from the conversation. And I think maybe that's what I'm doing with my work - reaching out and hoping that someone will understand me, or at the very least understand how I feel (without alienating them, hopefully, as Charlie alienates Jim in the film).
Working with Yemane in this class has made me even more aware of how my movies deal explicitly with resistance to change. This theme has evolved over the four movies in a significant way. In With Love, Marty, I do believe Marty changes, even if only by a small degree. The Wheels, however, is pretty bleak. The father reverts completely back to his original state by the end of the movie – there is no indication that he will get sober. Jake the Cinephile is trickier. Jake loses both the girl and the cinema, and at the end of the movie, he comes face-to-face with himself for the first time. Is that progress? I don’t know.
Inspiration and Style
I'm going to cross over here to inspiration. With all of this talk of guilt, confession, social anxiety and obsessiveness, there's one filmmaker who I really respond to over any others, and that's Martin Scorsese, who is the king of the cinema of loneliness.
There are two very different worlds in my Advanced film. The first world, of course, is the world of the bar. It will be drenched in red light – open, spacey and a kind of platform where Charlie can go wild with his behavior. The lighting and production design in this scene will emphasize that we’re looking at this bar as a kind of hell for Charlie (very similar to Mean Streets). This is the world of sin, the world of Manhattan – the world away from his mother. The bar stands in contrast to the later scenes in Harlem.
The Campaign – The Crew and Logistics
I'm incredibly lucky to get to work with so many people who have been on my creative team for the past three films, as well. Our incredible crew includes producers Erica Rose and Harry Tarre, cinematographer Benjamin Dewey, sound mixer and sound designer Bobb Barito, and production designer David Jaffe – many of whom did outstanding work on my previous films. (Current Jack here – take a look at Ben’s latest cinematography reel below, which features footage from You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory and The Wheels).
Ben Dewey 2013 Cinematography Reel from Benjamin Dewey on Vimeo.
We truly believe that if you help us, you will be part of a great and powerful movie. Without the proper financing, however, the film cannot be made. The costs for film equipment, location fees, transportation, and meals for the cast and crew, among many other things, are overwhelming, and outside financial support is critical to the successful production of this film.
We already have an incredible ensemble of actors line up to star in the film, including Mike Wesolowski, who will play Charlie. Mike is a senior in the Atlantic Acting School at the Tisch School of the Arts, currently studying acting under Alec Baldwin. Mary Goggin, an extremely talented actress who has acted in films such as Little Children (2006), will be playing Hazel.
What We Need & What You Get
As I head into rehearsals with the actors and continue pre-production with my longtime collaborators, I cannot tell you how much I would appreciate it if you would consider contributing to this campaign. We will not be able to make this film without your help. And if you are among those who were so generous to contribute to Jake the Cinephile last summer, I’m so excited to share that film with you in the very near future.
We are working as hard as we can to make this picture a reality by April. Any donation you can make – however small – would be absolutely incredible. Our deadline is quickly approaching, but with your help, we know that we can make this film. On the right, we have listed the perks for contributing to this production. (Current Jack here - thank you so much for reading about my new film, and lastly, please take a look at our wonderful Steadicam operator Patrick Morgan's reel, which includes footage from You Can't Put You Arms Around A Memory):
Patrick Morgan Steadicam Reel Spring 2013 from Patrick Huw Morgan on Vimeo.