Writing is a lonely business. It is you and your words. Art is not necessarily the same and film making even less so. It’s very easy to look backward and see what might have been. It’s the sort of thinking that can lead down the dangerous path of tailoring your choices based on proposed outcome. I don’t want to think to myself, “If only I’d gone and done… then I’d have landed….” I want to focus on my work (such as it is) and keep moving it forward.
Having said that I am going to suggest you watch a documentary out there called Jodorowsky’s Dune. It is the story of a film that was never made. It is the story of a visionary. The story of somebody I don’t think I would ever be able to understand – or deal with. It gives you a glimpse into a place that feels like it was flat out bat shit insane. It shows us in hindsight that total failure isn’t always just that.
There was music. Magma (a band I’d never heard of until today) and Pink Floyd mixing up a sound track for a film.
There was art that – looking backward is the sort of thing to make your head rattle just a little – put Giger and Foss together for concept art. At this point most people recognize Giger from the Alien stuff, but you might not know Foss by name. IF you are a fan of science fiction at all, you know his art. Seriously – I love his work and I have for years. Go and see it at his site, I’ll wait. Yeah, his space ships and Gieger’s alien bio-tech looking stuff together as concept art.
Then there was casting. Actors – or people that would be actors. Envision this group; David Carradine (from around the time of Kung Fu), Mick Jagger (when the Stones were at the height of their popularity), Orson Welles and Salvador Dali. Can you imagine the insanity?
Combine all of the ingredients listed, along with a few others, and mix until you have DUNE. Yup, that Dune.
That is why I started by talking about looking backward. Jodorowsky’s movie was never made, but here we are forty years later talking about it and everything that might have been. You recognize the names of people involved, but you might not have recognized them if not for this project. Things could have been very different if Giger didn’t make the connections he did during that process. It really is a fascinating documentary.
There have been a number of other pieces talking about it if you’re interested. From the NY Times to Boing Boing this has captured a lot of attention. I would say it’s definitely worth watching if you’re any kind of creative or at all interested in the possibilities of what might have been (like many fans of science fiction I know).
I’m also going to slide this last thought in here for fans of the written word. I read a book called Night Film. The plot involves a film maker that has an almost cult like following that would actually move in to his mansion during filming. This film makes me think it is only genre (science fiction not horror) that keeps Jodorowsky from being that character.
So – creators out there – watch this and get inspired. Go with your vision. Try. Make it happen. To paraphrase something a friend of mine said to me, “You can’t epic fail if you don’t plan big”.