Over the last few days I’ve been transferring some home videos to DVD. Most of them haven’t been watched since I recorded them the first time.
The first one I did was a video of my grandfather’s home movies he used to make on 8mm film. Silent but in color films. The film to video cassette we did years ago. My brother Shane and I went to his house and found all the films with us in them, and played them on the projector with the video camera running. It is not the greatest copy, but it is better than having nothing. What I found amazing was that while video taping these films back then, my brother and I discussed what was going on, what other things we remember from that day. An awesome commentary.
Much of those films were shot while on my grandparent’s commercial trawling boat. They were shrimpers during summertime. In the winter, they were fur trappers. So there is a lot of that stuff in there. Things not many would understand if Shane had not explained these things for my video. I was only about three or four when the films were made so there wasn’t much that I remembered. He was older and he spent a lot more time on the boat shrimping and trapping.
I had forgotten my brother was with me when I converted that film to video. I had forgotten about the “narration.” It is strange because Shane died last year. Now I have a hell of a lot more of his voice than those two old messages from him that I was saving on my telephone answering machine. I won’t ever get rid of those either, because there were some really neat things he said in there. One of them something I lifted and put in a character’s dialogue at the end of my screenplay. A really beautiful line. To me. Maybe it is not anything that would move anyone else. But that is one line I would never change in that screeenplay no matter how much money anyone ever tried to pay me to change it.
Now I know why writers give publishers and directors so much hell during rewrites. Things like that, we can’t let go, won’t let go. The thing is, this one little line was the driving force for the last half of writing this script. I kept hearing his words over and over again, that line I lifted.
There are other videos, one of Candace fresh out of the hospital after being born. It was sad to watch that one because all I could think was I know how it all ends.
I’m sure one day someone will watch those goofy monologues of mine from those acting classes and think the same thing after I’m gone. Had I found those a few years ago, I might have destroyed them. Me, a Cajun doing a British stage accent, or the one where I’m doing a Southern accent. Oh my, makes me blush just thinking about them.
Here is the Pathé Baby movie projector. It belongs to my Parisian friend. Her dad invented it. Cool, huh?