4 months ago we released a short film called “Untouchable”. I was extremely nervous about sharing it for a few reasons. It was our first romantic drama in over a year (it’s funny that romantic stories are such a huge part of WF’s identity, but we actually don’t make that many). I was worried that after so long the fans would be expecting either some grand, epically sad short or a super poignant and meaningful, sweet message.
But I knew it was neither. It was just a simple conversation on the porch. That’s why when the comments started coming in and the response was overwhelmingly positive I was quite surprised. To me there was nothing that special about it, but there were so many people saying it was exactly what they needed to hear, that it was very relatable and helped them.
Typically hearing words like this would be very encouraging (and it was! I’m glad something as plain as a conversation could still be accepted by the fans), but unfortunately, I small feeling of disappointment started creeping in. The reason is because, this was not a short I wanted to make. This was not a script that I had ever hoped I would have the reason to write. I don’t like to have sad thoughts and bittersweet emotions that require such an outlet. But life happens and I had to get these words and analogies (yes, a lot of analogies) off my chest. And here I discover that thousands of thousands of people were glad I made it, glad I shared it, glad… I was sad.
Now, I know that’s being a little melodramatic (surprise surprise), and it’s not like everyone who enjoyed the short was directly telling me, YES Phil, keep being sad so you can keep making these pieces for us! But there’s a reasonable part of me that translates things this way. That sees a positive response as our audience wanting me to keep this part of my brain/heart open to every so often give them a little story of guidance and hope.
And this relates to another challenge I’ve been facing in my brain for years now. The concept of the “pursuit of happiness”. It’s been engrained in me, since I was a child, that searching for happiness is better than actually achieving it. Because once you get there, where else do you go? You risk losing it. Is it better to constantly be on the pursuit? Constantly be unsatisfied and unhappy? At least then you always have a destination.
I know this is wrong and no way to live, but I’ve no clear path of how to escape it yet. And encouragement from fans to keep telling sad stories because it helps them only enables this mopey/stupid side of me. “I need to be sad for the stories! For themmm!” Ridiculous I know, and please don’t start leaving mean comments on my sad videos from now on, haha.
I’ll figure it out, I think. How to partition the sad thoughts from the happy so I can access it as necessary without having to actually live it. Funny thing is, I’m actually not that creative. I feel like truly creative writers can just imagine characters/stories/feelings and translate them onto paper. I’m still an amateur who needs to actually experience things before I can write them honestly. But this is a dangerous way to live, and write.
There’s a completely different post regarding this short that’s more about the actual content, about the conversation actually being all in my head, about the analogies.. but I’ll save that for another time.