Heather + Dave — Wedding Day

Shot at a Jewish sleep-away camp at the side of the Ottawa River on a perfect day.

This film is one of the highlights of my 2012 wedding season. I had to end it on a scene during the first look, when Dave’s face reveals how anxious he is to see Heather in her dress; those are the moments that speak for all the years in a relationship. They’ve known each other since grade 7, along with most of the wedding party. You can easily tell how close everyone is from the way they touch and dance and embrace.

I worked very closely with Adrian from Five Stripe Studios in scoring this film. The wooden buildings and outdoor setting made me think of summer camp, so I wanted the first section to sound like an old tape you’d find in your dad’s glove compartment as he’s driving you there, the ribbon warped from heat. Adrian did an amazing job of creating that mood, the careful melodica being a very nice touch. There were also important details I asked for, like the slide guitar going from note to note exactly when the focus zooms from a leaf to the sun1, which he ingeniously built into a repeating theme.

Having complete control over the music is great for perfectionists like me, but the best thing about working with such a talented composer is being able to give each couple a set of songs that have been created just for them, something that makes each film particularly unique.

  1. At 1:45. []

moulting

Holy shit how did this song find me in the middle of blanketing white snowfall, instead of summer? I’ll take it either way1. I’ve needed a new addiction after too many maudlin jazz albums, too often fuelled by hard-living and a woman. This means I’m ready for a taste of warm weather. I miss the wind through my clothes and the smell of girls’ skin when it’s been touched by sweat and sunlight.

cat close-up

Guizmo.

I’m in the process of simplifying, which has meant figuring out my priorities, and truly letting go of the things I don’t need, whether it’s a bad habit or relationship or thought. Maybe this is why I haven’t been feeling my age; it feels like I’m constantly starting over in various parts of my life.

This hasn’t made writing any easier. I’m always waiting for a feeling to last, but it tends to pass before I have a chance to get it down on paper. Maybe the instability is what I should be writing about. Not about who I am, but how much things are changing.

Audra recently wrote about how frustrating it is when she can’t get into a state of permanence. She said it particularly well here: “I know it is not realistic for all progress to be linear, or for things to be able to become constant once they become good. But I sure do daydream about it.” It makes me feel so validated when someone is able to put into words the things I’ve been going through without having talked about it with them.

Chinese dinner

My dad asks if I want to get a picture before we start, Lisa says he must know me very well.

In between: Chris finally kisses Angie. It’s a goodnight kiss while her creepy colleague is asleep in the same room, yet somehow manages to be the sweetest first-kiss ever. I start to grow my hair out and wear it down, out of boredom. People say it fits me. Byron brings me his toys so I’ll toss them again, and I begin to wonder who’s training who. Lisa meets my dad. We finally watch True Romance and Gary Oldman becomes my new favourite actor. I rack up over 150 hours played in Awesomenauts this year, and I’ve made online friends (it’s weird). Assad loses another general to the rebels, there’s still no end in sight after three years of fighting, and otherwise I remain blissfully ignorant to the world.

  1. Also comes in a highly entertaining music video version. []

in the arms of men

My wit and my eloquence are not at their best at this particular moment, which is why I have no quick riposte to your ribbing. All my humour is dry and self-deprecating anyway. It’s making me wonder if you think I can’t take an Asian joke or two. The truth is, I don’t know how to make fun of anyone but myself.

Too bad you’ve got piss tests coming up. We’ve got this balcony, the right occasion, and I don’t drink anymore. Doesn’t mean I can’t listen to your war stories, or dangle in the air when you give out bear hugs. Perhaps I’d be less awkward when it comes to such bonding if I was in high-school JV football. Seth made the team one year, and scored a touchdown for guys like us.

downtown Ottawa

I remember you. Iain and I went to buy a $5 hit off your bong 10 years ago, back when we cut our teeth on prairie fires and five-cent wings and I’ll-never-do-that-again. You were dancing to jazz by yourself in a beater and perpetual Kangol when we walked in, but you wore no shame on your face. The world is small when our lives are not.

Last time I saw Iain was at the housewarming, but I still think of him every time I use those crystal glasses he gave me that day. He would have wanted them filled with something tight-bodied and twelve-years old. Nowadays all I can take is a little Bailey’s on my Mayan chocolate Häagen-Dazs. Luckily they’re also perfect for ice cream.

bachelor

I’ve long missed these nights. Breathing fresh air when stepping out of a stuffy bar. That sudden calm when coming out of the din. Big groups with the chance to change conversations. Nights that have been replaced by dinners with nuclear families and one-on-ones. Oddly enough, the only thing in common are stories of how one’s son is learning to play with his dick. The world would have me believe that a man isn’t made by the drinks he orders but by the attention he gives his kids.

If only I didn’t have to go so soon. I’ve never been to the peelers in Ottawa, and I can only imagine where my bills will end up.

stepping into groundlessness

I can tell I’ve had enough of winter when I start to enjoy the days above 0 more than the ones below. Those are the days when the air is clear without being frigid, and you’re only cold when sun isn’t on your skin. I know I’ll be okay when such heralds of warm weather appear. Spring is coming just in time this year.

Constant plans and new projects are making the weeks pass as quickly as ever, only now I mark the time by my days with Lisa. We’ve set aside every other Thursday for each other, and it’s the only commitment I have in my life now, something I haven’t had the pleasure of sharing with someone in a while.

chicken hearts

Step one in making cat food: get over the fact that the souls of a million chickens will eventually haunt you at night for grinding up their hearts.

She recently started helping me make my own cat food, which involves her schlepping a meat grinder, vitamin supplements, and giant tub1 to my place every time, but she loves taking care of my cats as much as I do. We can both agree it’s well worth the effort when seeing how much they appreciate fresh meat and how healthy it makes them.

The rest of our time is spent with Miley Highrus and Zelda Hitzgerald, sharing the things we’ve grown to love by ourselves as much as the things we’ve yet to experience together, watching Skins and learning that I like Chris cause Chris likes Angie and I really like Angie. Some weeks, this is the only time we have off from the rest of our respective lives, and the things we can share only in person make it all the more special.

Return to Ravnica draft

Slinging cardboard.

I can’t help but question what I know about love and happiness and truth and the world and myself. I’ve been trying to let go of the things I understand and the way I feel, giving myself time to let everything settle, but embracing the groundlessness hasn’t been easy. It often leaves me feeling very much out of my element no matter what I’m doing, and longing for some semblance of stability. The most I can do is keep in mind that there’s no pressure to be a certain way, and that answers will come in their own time.

  1. I don’t have a single container in the house that’s large enough to mix the roughly 10kg of chicken parts required for a two-month batch. []

looping: forever

crotch grab

I’ve been having a lot of fun making these little animated gifs, each one a moment from a wedding I shot last season. Not all my footage makes it into the final cut of a film; occasionally, something has to be sacrificed for reasons of pacing or timing or…appropriateness, and it seemed like such a pity that these clips would end up on the cutting room floor.

The tricky part is not making a gif too long, otherwise it becomes a scene, and loses the repetition that makes us believe the moment goes on forever.

Continue reading “looping: forever”…