Collaboration Update #5


A gif of Tom Cruise bawling his eyes out

The final sprint, the light at the end of the tunnel. Or sometimes, the realization that something that’s been fun and adventurous is about to end.

The satisfying part of this journey with Lillian has been knowing that once I enter the black hole anomaly to continue on my uncertain retirement path, she’ll be moving forward with a clearer and(hopefully) stronger story and proposal for the beautiful film she wants to create. For me, this is what collaboration is all about, and I’ll be excited to see whatever Lillian ends up with at the end of it all. And beyond. After I’m sling-shotted into the anomaly.


For the first few weeks (of this collaborative process), I was in a panic because I was comparing our collaboration to the others in YUME.DIGITAL DREAMS, many of whom already demonstrate exciting, brilliant works which could be in the final exhibition. But our collaboration is the opposite of all of the others. It is a LONG,LONG process with no flashy graphics or storyboard, mostly letters between Michael and myself. BORING for viewers, I thought. But maybe there are other artists who dream of being animators and filmmakers, who can find our collaboration an eye-opener. For me, it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Early on, I had caught Michael’s attention with several stories. Here is Michael’s response to my bombardment:

Michael: Feb. 18  

Alright, Lillian; I think we have a pathway in front of us. Something more skewed towards an adult, art-sensitive audience. Perhaps that could take advantage of your many gallery and museum contacts as “vectors” for dissemination. This is a solid starting point for tone, aesthetic, and nature of story. 

Next is to decide on the particular story, or combination of stories to start building a scenario and narrative from. As noted, I’m fond of the two epistolary “quest” stories: the one about your aunt in Japan, her family struggles, and the effect of those letters on the in-Canada relatives; and the one about seeking Miori and building/re-building your family story from its E Cordova beginnings. 

Where does your heart sing the strongest? 


Me: Feb. 20  

Hi, Michael, 
I can’t make up my mind. Help!  Today, I am going to call my cousins to see if they could tell me more their deportation to Japan.   

Michael: Feb. 20 

I do like the idea of searching for answers to both stories. At least for now; it might turn out that one is stronger than the other, but right now, pursuing both offers up maximum opportunities. 

My understanding is that Sandon was quite hellish. 

Your first stab at a narrative opening is solid, and leads me to think that your initial tone could be deep regret. Here you are, three-quarters of a century on, wishing you had asked about those photos, letters, and stories when you could’ve gotten answers. Now, instead, you’re forced to become a detective, a researcher, and an interpreter of memory and imagination. I think that’s a very strong, intimate, and poetic position for you to start from. 

Good luck with your cousins.