I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little while about the thing I make several references to, but never go into any heavy details about on this here blog.
I don’t speak often about what I do creatively here. I’ve made it a point not to. It was my decision, creating I’m Just Saying, to have it be separate from my creative entities. The fact that it resides on the same server, and there is a link to Biscuit Press on the right hand side, are the only real two connections to my defunct creative work, The Hoojie Crew.
I say defunct because it is a failure. Maybe not a failure, but a barely passing grade. In the scrutiny of running a comic professionally and creatively. I want to do an essay analyzing my failure in detail. Deconstructing precisely what went wrong, how it went wrong, and why it went wrong. I’d learn a lot from it, really. And it would be great to see if others could learn from my mistakes.
Before I get my friends and more faithful readers to come out of the woodwork and tell me how great Hoojie Crew is, I would thank you. But it is not necessary. I’m not Piro-ing over here. I’m not sitting in the snow looking sad. I’m analyzing what I have done as a creator, and figuring out why it’s not working. There really is no better way to move on. Looking positively and taking valuable experience from your failures.
I came to an epiphany last night. Tuesday nights are when I have my Topics in Film Study class. Our professor is Paul Sylbert. The basic process of the class is we watch a movie that he has worked on, which is usually not that great a movie, and we talk about what went wrong. He tells us stories of managerial ineptitude, what he wanted to do that didn’t get done, and the other mistakes that went down. I know he sounds like one of those guys where he’s all “Everything I do is artistic genius.” But really, he’s just a humble guy with strong confidence. He’s very excited to be teaching.
Anyway, I thought about why I enjoyed the class so much. Other than watching movies and dissecting them (one of my all time favorite things to do), and hearing hilarious Hollywood war stories. It’s because his method is so refreshing. Your teachers will tell you what to read, what to watch, what to experience. They will tell you to watch Citizen Kane because it is good. They will make you read Socrates because he’s right. They will have you see specific moments in the renaissance where the paintings are brilliant and tell you how this is art. But how many professors will show you things and tell you what’s wrong with them?
Any intelligent person will know good stuff when they see it. Even if they don’t like it, they can stand back and say “I can see how people would consider this amazing. However, it does not float my boat.” It’s so refreshing to have a film class where we spend our time watching bad to mediocre (occasionally awesome) movies and discussing what went wrong. Because if you spend all your time learning how to make your art by studying the greats, you’ll end up mimicking them. Because you are teaching yourself, “This is how quality is made. By using this method.” Which, in and of itself, is never an absolute.
But at any time, you can look at something like The Core. You can watch that and be disgusted by the cheesy dialogue, the stereotypical characters, the lame premise, and the bad acting. You can absorb all that and think to yourself, “Jesus, that was awful. I’m not going to do it like that, that’s for damned sure.”
And that, to me, is the way to go. Making a mistake, failing, falling, screwing up, ruining what you have… these are the ways you learn for real. Because they’re the experience. And experience is the best teacher of them all. So that’s the approach I’m taking with my creative work. Figuring out what’s wrong with it. And learning from it. I’m going to stand back and examine where I made my mistakes and do something about them.
You just watch, dammit.