By Jim Walsh, The Bloomington Center
Adam Breall and I were up to Bloomington’s “Instant Gratification Movie Challenge,” a monthly indie movie filming collective. Each month a theme is chosen like “King for a Day,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “Behind the Scenes.” Each participant is encouraged to take their own interpretation of the theme, film a movie, and at the end of the month all the movies are shown at a local concert venue.
January’s theme was “Not My Problem.” We did “mind maps” to come up with different ideas on the phrase, eventually coming up with the idea of “knots” which lead us to string and finally… to cats! Due to Adam’s comedic charisma and voice (“People always said I should be the voice of a cartoon.”), we decided to try to do voice-over work over film of my roommate’s cat, Charlie. Adam worked on getting the cat to do various things through flashlights, catnip, toys, reflecting light, treats, etc., and I tried my best to capture it on film. As one might imagine, our idea called for a lot of patience, planning, and goal-directed persistence. We started with acquiring items to make the bedroom look like it belonged to a cat. We also drew up a loose storyboard dividing up the film into three sections: wake-up scene, breakfast scene, and office scene. When we were finished filming, our work had only just begun. We edited the film down to its final form and started in on the voice-over work, which ended up taking us about 5 hours. I encouraged Adam to watch the film and improv with whatever came to his mind, we then chose the best of those lines, sometimes recording them over again for clarity or for a better feel. We finished about fifteen minutes before the showing and were overjoyed to watch the film with a live audience.
“I can’t believe I finally finished a project!” Adam said as we were driving down to the showing, “I can’t wait to tell my mom about this, she’s not going to believe I finally finished one of my crazy ideas.” Adam’s zany sense of humor, his fondness for animals, his interest in attempting something a little crazy, and his ability to be flexible and focused in jumping from task to task were just some of the strengths Adam used in completing this project with me. Art projects like this one are important for CIP students—not only do they create connections in the greater Bloomington community and work on students’ executive functioning skills towards things that inspire them, these projects also prove that most “creative” people are merely people with a highly unique combination of strengths. It is only a matter of finding the project that fits these strengths, and if there is none, making one that does.