Hey. I’m Matt Ruby (firstname.lastname@example.org). I live in Brooklyn and I'm a standup comedian and the creator of Vooza, a video comic strip about the tech world. This is Sandpaper Suit, a comedy blog about standup, filmmaking, and whatever else I feel like talking about. Established 2006. Phew, that's a while.
One of White’s mentors at Sundance was Dede Allen, who cut “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” Allen instilled in White an unfussy approach. “You run into editors who say, ‘I can’t make that cut, the glass of water is in the wrong place in that take,’ ” White said. “But I’ll say: ‘Who cares? The performance is strongest in that cut!’ Why would you match the glass and take on that worse performance? ‘Matching is for sissies’ — that’s one of the things Dede would say all the time.” White argues that as audience members, we “look at actors’ eyes most of the time, so as long as they’re engaging, you’re going to be connected to that person, and whatever happens elsewhere in the frame is less important.”
That didn`t happen: Completely defying logic is bad, but something that is on and off the screen so fast that we can get away with it is OK. Example: Robert Stack in ``Airplane!`` yells to Lloyd Bridges, ``He can`t land; they`re on instruments!`` And of course we cut to the cockpit and four of the actors are playing musical instruments. Seconds later, in the next scene, the saxophone and clarinets have disappeared. If it`s done right, no one in the audience will ask where the instruments went.
We used that as a guiding rule during edit of this Vooza episode...
...At 1:20, Steve's gums get all bloody. In the next shot, they're all clean again. "That didn't happen."
Yesterday I spoke at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam in character as an idiot startup CEO (spinoff from our Vooza show). It was fun. The venue looked like a combination of a spaceship and Qbert. Video coming soon.
In the beginning, when you first start out trying to write fiction, the whole endeavor's about fun. You don't expect anybody else to read it. You're writing almost wholly to get yourself off. To enable your own fantasies and deviant logics and to escape or transform parts of yourself you don't like. And it works - and it's terrific fun. Then, if you have good luck and people seem to like what you do, and you actually start to get paid for it, and get to see your stuff professionally typeset and bound and blurbed and reviewed and even (once) being read on the a.m. subway by a pretty girl you don't even know it seems to make it even more fun. For a while. Then things start to get complicated and confusing, not to mention scary. Now you feel like you're writing for other people, or at least you hope so. You're no longer writing just to get yourself off, which - since any kind of masturbation is lonely and hollow - is probably good. But what replaces the onanistic motive? You've found you very much enjoy having your writing liked by people, and you find you're extremely keen to have people like the new stuff you're doing. The motive of pure personal starts to get supplanted by the motive of being liked, of having pretty people you don't know like you and admire you and think you're a good writer. Onanism gives way to attempted seduction, as a motive. Now, attempted seduction is hard work, and its fun is offset by a terrible fear of rejection. Whatever "ego" means, your ego has now gotten into the game. Or maybe "vanity" is a better word. Because you notice that a good deal of your writing has now become basically showing off, trying to get people to think you're good. This is understandable. You have a great deal of yourself on the line, writing - your vanity is at stake. You discover a tricky thing about fiction writing; a certain amount of vanity is necessary to be able to do it all, but any vanity above that certain amount is lethal...
At some point you find that 90% of the stuff you're writing is motivated and informed by an overwhelming need to be liked. This results in shitty fiction. And the shitty work must get fed to the wastebasket, less because of any sort of artistic integrity than simply because shitty work will cause you to be disliked. At this point in the evolution of writerly fun, the very thing that's always motivated you to write is now also what's motivating you to feed your writing to the wastebasket. This is a paradox and a kind of double-bind, and it can keep you stuck inside yourself for months or even years, during which period you wail and gnash and rue your bad luck and wonder bitterly where all the fun of the thing could have gone...
The smart thing to say, I think, is that the way out of this bind is to work your way somehow back to your original motivation — fun. And, if you can find your way back to fun, you will find that the hideously unfortunate double-bind of the late vain period turns out really to have been good luck for you. Because the fun you work back to has been transfigured by the extreme unpleasantness of vanity and fear, an unpleasantness you’re now so anxious to avoid that the fun you rediscover is a way fuller and more large-hearted kind of fun. It has something to do with Work as Play. Or with the discovery that disciplined fun is more than impulsive or hedonistic fun. Or with figuring out that not all paradoxes have to be paralyzing. Under fun’s new administration, writing fiction becomes a way to go deep inside yourself and illuminate precisely the stuff you don’t want to see or let anyone else see, and this stuff usually turns out (paradoxically) to be precisely the stuff all writers and readers everywhere share and respond to, feel. Fiction becomes a weird way to countenance yourself and to tell the truth instead of being a way to escape yourself or present yourself in a way you figure you will be maximally likable. This process is complicated and confusing and scary, and also hard work, but it turns out to be the best fun there is...
The fact that you can now sustain the fun of writing only by confronting the very same unfun parts of yourself you’d first used writing to avoid or disguise is another paradox, but this one isn’t any kind of bind at all. What it is is a gift, a kind of miracle, and compared to it the rewards of strangers’ affection is as dust, lint.
Ah, the old conundrum: Wanting to be liked ➜ shitty work ➜ not being liked
This line stuck out to me: "Under fun’s new administration, writing fiction becomes a way to go deep inside yourself and illuminate precisely the stuff you don’t want to see or let anyone else see, and this stuff usually turns out (paradoxically) to be precisely the stuff all writers and readers everywhere share and respond to, feel."
Reminds me of something Howard Stern has said (paraphrasing): "The thing that you least want to talk about is the thing they most want to hear."
Some cool excerpts from Michael Azerrad's book "Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991."
Corporate rock was about living large; indie was about living realistically and being proud of it. Indie bands didn’t need million-dollar promotional budgets and multiple costume changes. All they needed was to believe in themselves and for a few other people to believe in them, too. You didn’t need some big corporation to fund you, or even verify that you were any good. It was about viewing as a virtue what most saw as a limitation.
The Minutemen called it “jamming econo.“ And not only could you jam econo with your rock group — you could jam econo on your job, in your buying habits, in your whole way of living. You could take this particular approach to music and apply it to just about anything else you wanted to. You could be beholden only to yourself and the values and people you respected. You could take charge of your own existence. Or as the Minutemen put it in a song, “Our band could be your life.”
Great quote here too:
“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s.”
Our cast at Vooza (along with some other great comics) just made a weird/funny video of tech geeks taking over a plane for Turkish Airlines. Includes ping pong table, fixie bike, selfie stick, and lots of self-important "we're changing the world" BS!