By Mary Kerr
Take me to Church
My Church used to be The Cinema. This was the place where I would go to more or less quieten my mind for a couple of hours, totally absorbed in someone else’s world, another life, someone else’s trials. The Cinema is where I grew up, where I went to understand life and to reflect upon my own. It was the place where magic happened and where my earliest dreams were conceived. In the last year or two I have stopped going to the Cinema – it’s often easier to just stay in and watch something on Netflix, or Sky, or regular TV or YouTube or Hulu. There are so many platforms now and the journey to get to that Church, a journey that used to feel so second nature to me has become the trial. I feel sad about this, like the end of a great love but I can’t only blame the fact that the preachers have made it easier by coming into the home, it’s that generally the preachers have become far more watered down than I remember they used to be and there are just too many of them.
Film was all I wanted to do since I can remember and it’s what I have lived and breathed for the past 15 years. I was an encyclopaedia of film. I knew every actor’s name, what they had been in, what they were going to be in and what they should be in. I moved from casting to production to PAing to directing to producing and experienced everything in between. I loved being on a film set, I loved being part of a team. Now when I watch a film, it takes a miracle for me not to have half my attention on my phone, mind dancing on yesterdays and tomorrows, dishwasher beeping, bells ringing. The last film I watched where I didn’t look at my phone once – and at home – was Call Me By Your Name. I was transfixed from the beginning – the scenery, the characters, the acting. There was something I hadn’t seen in a film in a long time – TRUTH. Not only in the concept and storyline but in the way the characters responded to their world. Once again, there was the connection I went to the cinema to experience. I miss that connection. In many films recently – I feel with all these new platforms and a hundred times more content – media is getting churned out at such a rate it seems that no one is bothering to bash through their ideas to make a connection with the audience. They are throwing lots of shit hoping something will stick.
I now go to a different kind of Church. I don’t slide into a velvet seat in the darkness, I sit bolt upright on stairs, my mind totally captivated as parts of the rubiks cube that is my brain start to be turned and twisted. I want to go bigger, better, bolder. SCA seems like the logical next step on for me from film. Challenging everything. Taking an idea – blasting it with acid and fire and snow, throwing shit at it, turning it upside down, blowing it inside out. What sticks? What connects? What challenges? What pushes? What pulls? Maybe it’s the ‘being at an art school’ frame of mind where everything is possible as it did all those years ago at film school and maybe I will feel differently once working with clients and heavier, faster deadlines but I lost my mojo in the film world – I no longer felt able to bash through the ideas to find the best. Things were made half heartedly to get out into the world before someone else did.
I had the idea for a short film a few years ago. It was a dark comedy about a hitman using Halloween to take out his target and then dragging his latest victim around as a prop amidst a sea of oblivious London partiers. The script was well written but I just never felt it properly blasted and squeezed all the potential comedy out of the situation to take it to another level. I therefore stepped off the project and someone else came on board to direct. The film went on to win lots of awards, the director got an agent at CAA and whilst I was sitting on a broken-down train in the middle of Yorkshire on Friday night at 2am he was at the premiere of the upcoming feature version of the film in LA. What’s the point of me writing about this? Because on reflection maybe I had been too precious, too scared to make something that I didn’t feel was perfect. I hadn’t taken the risk. As I looked at the photos of everyone congratulating each other on stage at the event I remembered things that I have learnt over the past few weeks. Ideas are everywhere and we all have our own interpretation of them (I may have made a shitty film) but that I do need to get out there and make, make, make. Quantity leads to quality and hard work beats talent. But we also need to be proud of the work we put out there and feel that we really smashed it to pieces and rebuilt it before putting more content into the world because ultimately if we don’t make the connection what is the point? So what is the balance? The balance is something I’m coming to my new Church to learn but as I said – I want to go Bigger, Better, Bolder.