Saturday, September 01, 2018

On gambling

Last night I watched an Indian film with my parents called Simran. It's basically about a woman who becomes addicted to gambling - and must pay the price for it (there's actually a lot of humour).

In more truthful moments of when people ask me about what I do, I tell them that filmmaking is a constant hustle. That it is a gamble. That everything I am doing and am hoping to do, as a writer-director, is a gamble. I have no idea if any of my films will gain an audience. All of the work, all of the hours, indeed all of the years - it's been so many years now, many of which were spent in the urban wilderness - all of it can amount to absolutely nothing. I always say, to myself and to others, that I just hope it - "it" being the amount of work, suffering, and sacrifices - is all worth it someday.

That indeed, does sound like a gamble. Essentially, I've been gambling since I was 16, since I decided to be a filmmaker rather than a DJ. Filmmaking, or to be more honest, the attempt to be a filmmaker, can be highly addicting, just like gambling. I've been gambling with my life for half of my life now, and everyday I have to tell myself to keep going, to keep trying, that hopefully one day it will all be worth day. Right?

A relative in India passed away a few hours ago. Yet another sibling of a parent of mine. She had a very pretty and unique name. Sadly the last time I saw her was unsurprisingly 10 years ago, as that is what happens when your family is a diaspora, when everyone lives in different countries, in different states: #migrantlife. It's sad, and frustrating, the distances, both literal and metaphorical, between us all.

If I were to have somehow seen her more recently, and even if she weren't afflicted by Alzheimer's, were she to ask me what I do with my life, what I have done, I wouldn't know what to tell her. Filmmaking? Gambling. Gambling as filmmaking-the-attempt-at-filmmaking. That's what the honest answer would have been.

It's hard to get a film made yet I've longed believed that it's even harder to get a film seen. I want my work to be SEEN. Were my work to be SEEN, that would make me feel that all of the sacrifices have been worth it. That it's been worth it for me to have disrupted for myself this generational structure that spans back thousands of years that consists of being married with kids; that I have something to show for this sheer disruption and lack of familiar and familial structure in the timeline of my own personal life.

I specifically chose to not follow the path of everyone else who shares any part of my blood; I gambled. I realize now that if I had really wanted to, yeah I could've been married for years by now and had a kid or two, just like everyone else. But long ago, I decided to toss that structure aside. Because I'd rather be a writer-director instead (first).

Oh I so hope that it will all have been worth it. Thus I will keep working, as I am addicted, I'm addicted to this gambling, to the most difficult medium that exists.

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