I am very pleased to be able to debut a new short film, EVOLUTION, that I produced last year with my friend Gabriel Walsh. To get the credits out of the way up front: I wrote the text and did the voice work; Gabe made the images and composed and played the score. We made it at the request of Forum Theatre in DC, which has now screened it twice, and we’re both very thankful to Forum’s artistic director, Michael Dove, for his support.
I suppose this is probably best thought of as an “experimental” film, but I thought it might be useful to share a few words about the real nature of that experiment: in other words, to explain how we got to the eight minutes and fifty-three seconds you see here.
We started, in this case, with the words. I’d wrote the script over a period of about a month, reading it aloud over and over again to myself and to my wife until I had what I wanted: four distinct “movements,” each engaging with inter-related ideas. Then I gave it to Gabe for a while and just let him sit with it.
In time, Gabe “genetically combined” three different categories of still and moving images: pictures of me with my wife and son; decades-old footage of science films retrieved from the National Archives; and crowd-sourced images inspired by a small selection of keywords he asked me to choose from my text. (He used Taskrabbit.com.) Then he layered a fourth visual element over them all: a selection of filters inspired, once again, by what I’d written, and keyed (as I understand it) to the changes in my voice.
To the four movements of text and the four visual elements Gabe then added a score for four instruments. (I’ll not reveal his musical secrets, but suffice it to say: I’d have never thought to consider those particular four instruments in union. Gabe is a mad genius.) Four was, in some ways, a defining principle of what we created: a gift given to us by the folks at Forum and woven into our subject matter as well in the form of the four basic building blocks of DNA.
Thanks for watching.