Life in a Box.

The hard disc in my computer died a few weeks ago, so I had it replaced. I didn't lose any data, but I may as well have because the only way it could be recovered was without the file structure and file names, meaning that what I have now is a folder called Data Recovery with subfolders called Doc Files, JPGs, etc., each of which contain thousands of numbered files. All my stuff is there, but it's nearly impossible to find anything in a reasonable amount of time. Not such a big deal in the long run -- most of it was archival, not stuff I need to access regularly, and a lot of it I have on DVDs somewhere in boxes around here.

I did lose the "disc image" that allowed me to burn DVD copies of my film, Life in a Box, so J borrowed a copy on DVD from a friend, and I spent today making another disc image on my computer. Then I made a new DVD, and I had to check it to make sure it copied okay, which means that I had to watch the film carefully this afternoon. I've seen it many many times and still enjoy watching it -- except for the argument scene that comes right in the middle, which is excruciating.

Humility aside, I'm still kind of amazed that we couldn't get a distribution deal for the film. I think it's entertaining, funny, complex and affecting, and has a wide appeal. It occurred to me watching it this time after not seeing it for a while that it's no wonder I've been at a bit of a loss how to follow it, what to do next. Not just because the film seems in a way so perfectly realized, but also because it tells a story of a career which seems so perfectly realized, so contained and finished.

In fact, I think it's such fine work that if I never did anything else as an artist, I would be content that I had fulfilled my potential as an artist. That's what I think about the work. But as an artist I still have that same impulse to create, that same need I always had. So somehow I have to find out what to use it for. I thought for a long time that it would only be natural to make more films, to use what I learned, go from there, but I have floundered trying to make that happen. It's such a complicated medium, requiring time and people and resources that I still haven't figured out how to bring together again for a new project. Life in a Box fell together in a way, mainly because we had a producer spending the money to make it happen, to allow me to work with great people and take the time necessary to learn the skills and do the work.

When I was editing and finishing the film, and when we were traveling around to various festivals and getting such great responses from audiences, I thought the way it would happen is that the film would get on TV and in theaters which would generate interest in my work which would grease the wheels for me in putting together my next film. I really expected things to grow organically from there. Ironic that the big message of the film is that nothing turns out like you expect. I wonder if that's a lesson anybody really learns for long.