Late nights with Neil

I’ve always carried Neil Young’s work  so close to my heart. His voice is so tender sounding and full of emotion; his songs are so well crafted and full of stories. It is a beautiful blend of folk and rock n roll that has a lot of soul. It is also very human to me. Musicianship aside, he always makes me think of my mother, who represents a lot of important things about humanity for me. She loved Neil Young a lot as a girl. I remember this moment during my childhood when we were watching a performance by him on television and she began to cry. I asked her what was wrong and she explained to me the ways art, especially music, can take you back to a certain time period in your life. For her, Neil Young represented an aspect of her childhood and teen years growing up in the Children’s Home in the 1960’s and early 70’s. That memory is a complicated emotional mixture of pain, neglect, growth and happiness. But these are the complexities of emotion when you have lived through the pains of this life; it is a hard world out there full of struggle and alienation. The music we listen to can really capture those time periods and the often complicated mixture of emotions were experiencing. It really speaks to the power of the musical art-form, and how it can be the soundtrack of your life stories.

I have been listening to ‘Down by the river’, the song featured below, on repeat for a hour now and I am slowly falling in love with it. So funky. So soulful. So rock n roll. The bass line keeps it smooth, and his delicious guitar solo in the middle is excellent. Also, there is something very emotional about this song that makes me want to write my own stories and movies about being an artistic and complicated woman in love. I imagine this song playing in a scene, where we really feel the intensity of her emotion for this other person coming out. There will be very little dialogue; I want to use the music, lighting, shot angles and her acting to convey the emotion, and the story of her life experience unfolding from it. When it comes to making films I have always been interested in the form as well as the content of them; I think that is why I have always been drawn to directing and cinematography. I appreciate the way lighting, the film/camera used, and the shot selection can tell or enhance stories. There are very few original story lines so for me what I am drawn to about making movies is the creative ways we can convey these classic stories, such as love. That is the challenge for me, and it is an exciting one.

In this particular movie vision I imagine our main protagonist in this cool bar, where the decor and people’s dress is a combination of decades so you are not exactly sure what time period they are in. It is a low-lit interesting looking bar, where the walls are covered with gold and turquoise wallpaper and the chairs are velvet. She looks around the room anxiously right when the guitar solo starts to cut in. The camera cuts to an attractive man plucking the guitar along to the solo so it appears as if he is playing it; the song has become a part of the scene. When the camera cuts back to her face you can see and feel the electricity radiating off her body as she stares at him playing his music. I want it to convey a feeling that I have often felt dating musicians and seeing them perform on stage. It is is so sexy to see someone you are intimate with performing and doing something they really care about. I have always been attracted to people, who really try to develop themselves and do productive and creative things like play music, write, paint, plant gardens, ect. I remember dating musicians and being mesmerized whenever they would perform; it was like I would get so swept up focusing on them and their stage presence and the music they were making. Even if I didn’t like their bands  I always enjoyed seeing them do something they loved. I want the intensity of those emotions to shine through throughout this scene as she watches him perform. I have many different scenarios playing out in my head and how I want the scene to conclude. It should have this slow dramatic build-up that works with the song making it a true collaboration between the music and the film. I am not sure if I want it to be a positive scene, where they are able to connect with each other, and the love works out. Or if it should depict her pain from being in love with this person, who isn’t available for her. I think I might go with the latter, because it’s more complex and maybe more honest. I guess we will see once I get around to writing that script. In the meantime light a candle and listen to Neil and do some writing…it’s good for your soul.


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