Ed Wood

We’re On the Spectrum Between Ed Wood and Orson Welles

Great piece by Andrew Bloom at Consequence of Sound that expresses  a notion I’ve been mulling since I first saw Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. Bloom drills down into the scene between Johnny Depp’s titular character and Vincent D’Onofrio as Orson Welles as the filmmakers discuss keeping to one’s artistic vision:

Burton and his collaborators sketch an unexpected parallel between the two unlikely “visionaries” here. The scene suggests that there’s a beauty in artistic purity, whether it comes from one of cinema’s most venerated artists or from its most deluded-if-earnest creators of crap. The film posits that all art contains a piece of the author’s soul, from cinema’s highest highs to its lowest lows, and that fact connects everyone with the foolhardy impulse to try to make good on the impulse to create.

Source: Ed Wood and Who Art Really Belongs To | Consequence of Sound

This kinship in creation, the idea that “everyone with the foolhardy impulse to try to make good on the impulse to create” are connected in a community of creativity is a marvelous notion. Especially for those of us making art who like to believe we’re on the spectrum somewhere between Welles and Wood, as with our art film project Pill Head. In the end, we’re part of a community, perhaps even a tradition and the esprit de corps this engenders is the fuel one needs when launching over such Quixotic humps like, you know, reality.

Though it’s technically easier than ever to make a movie, it’s still an act of outrageous will that gets them done. Moreover, per Bloom, when making work that contains “a piece of the author’s soul,”  you need to A) have a soul and B) believe you’re carrying a torch lit by a common flame. The connectivity of which Bloom writes is that flame — whether it’s (spoiler alert) Rosebud heaped into the fireplace  or the crackpot fire burning in Wood’s eyes — that connection, in spirit, is what ultimately helps our work connect with its audience and them to each other.

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3 responses to “We’re On the Spectrum Between Ed Wood and Orson Welles”

  1. Blue Wren Avatar

    My father was a classical musician (double bass player in a major symphony orchestra, a family business that I ended up following as a cellist.) and he strongly held this notion of a creative continuum,

    At the age of 16 I was just about to enter the conservatorium for my professional training before starting my own career as an orchestral musician. One day my dad and I were walking through the city when my dad stopped to give some money to a busker. The guy was a terrible player – truly awful. I said to my dad: “why’d you give him money? He was bloody awful!”. My dad’s answer has stuck with me for life and changed my selfish, youthful attitude from that very moment: he said: “We are all musicians . Some of us are lucky enough to earn a good living playing in an orchestra, and some of us have to make what we can playing where ever we can. We lucky ones need to support our less lucky colleagues”.

    Yes, he called them colleagues and from that moment I viewed all musicians as being on a road of learning – some further along the road than others, but all united in our calling and purpose. The most important lesson I learned was not to judge but to celebrate all efforts to bring joy to the world through music and art.

    1. What a beautiful story — glad you shared it here. “We are all musicians…” just great.

      1. Speaking of “colleagues” — here’s a piece re: writer George Plimpton with a similar take…. https://dhowell.com/blog/george-plimpton-at-elaines/

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