i’ve just completed the final edit of my feature-length video, “up, up, and away.” this project has been in the planning stages since 2011, and i’ve been actively working on it for most of the past year. i’m really excited about the results.
the film captures the various emotional states that accompanied a manic episode i suffered back in 1999, after being mistakenly prescribed anti-depressants.
the journey starts at the bottom with depression (“night”), and gradually climbs back to well-being (“dawn”), a state i’d sought for a much of my lifetime. but instead of stopping, the ride speeds up (“noon”), flying from delight and overwhelm through risky behavior and delusion, and finally crash-landing at the “hospital.” the combination of my impulsivity and delusional thinking with the stress of being held in a psyche ward, only made things worse, and i eventually spent the night in “restraints.” over the course of a few days, i was ‘cured,’ the mania was removed, and i was back where i started, at depression (“the return”/”night”). and this time it was worse, as any hope of a cure had been lost among the wreckage of a wild enthusiasm i had been so certain of.
the film has a somewhat unique format: i’ve taken scenes and sequences from manic cinema and tied them to eighteen of my original songs, each with lyrics that explore the inner states of a particular stage of mania. the use of multiple movies means that the literal ‘protagonist’ shifts from section to section, but it’s the emotional situations, rather than the actors depicting them, that create the narrative thread. the end result delivers something akin to the off-balance enthusiasm of a manic episode, where the serendipitous synchronization between scene and song feels very much like the mystical connections the manic person feels between his imagination and the real world. reality, like these once-familiar scenes, is recontextualized, and these flashes of magical recognition, this hidden newness, seem to offer a peek behind the curtain into the true nature of things.
or you can just think of it as “bipolar-qatsi.”
going forward: i’ll be taking some time off as i rehearse the full song cycle and start to share with the world. i’ll be releasing a 2-disc cd in the coming weeks.