That itch. It’s always there for the young auteurs. That itch. It lingers among the creatives. The artists. The artrepreneurs. That itch needing to be scratched. Gets at all of us. From mentality to emotion that itch moves us forward. It makes real our existence as makers and shakers. Inspired by the itch we tread forward–ever lightly to our destiny. Our dream. Our burning passion to create and develop. To master and accentuate. To accomplish. That itch comes in multiple forms–a voice, a conscious, a gut feeling, a dream from REM sleep, words from a mentor, lessons from a teacher. That constantly-staying itch delivers us patience for the scratch for relief. For satisfaction for a job well done. For peace of mind in accomplishing one’s life task.
For those who want to deliver a splash in their line of work be it culinary arts, writing, opening up a business, making it to the pros, or independent documentary filmmaking that itch becomes an element of the highest regard–in order to make it happen. The itch is borne out of this need to create, to produce, to introduce, to deliver, to attain, to reach. Filmmakers call on it for inspiration to journey through the long haul of constructing an independent film. That itch usually is surrounded by somethings and some people. For doc filmmakers that itch may encompass a marginalized community or cast of characters, a story undiscovered or little known, an issue suffering from downcast attention or under-looked awareness, or a subtle theme or lesson needed for elaboration at a pressing time. That itch helps the film storyteller reach out toward a niche in a given media market made up of audiences of a specific targeted demo. Michael Moore had it in Roger & Me, where it called him to engage more fully to the community where he belonged. Seeing how the layoffs of a major corporation (General Motors) impacted thousands of workers-residents of his hometown, Moore was itching to confront the situation head on. That itch propelled him to encounter Roger Smith, former CEO of GM–the personification of the change in Flint, Michigan since the early 1980s. That itch inspires the film maker to carve out a narrative rendered through moving images and artificial sound. It controls the destiny of a project from concept to completion.
With likeness to things like ‘motivation’ and ‘inspiration’ that itch is more than a tall task to perform and execute. That itch is a calling card to one’s calling. It delivers one away from the everyday distraction. It shifts the focus to the focus. It keeps the artist alive. What drove the filmmakers of Virunga to go follow the park rangers in their constant pursuit to protect their national park in the midst of civil wars and armed insurrection from ragtag rebel groups in central Africa? Certainly, it wasn’t safety or security that prompted them to tell such a sordid story. It was that itch.
This itch does not guarantee success. Nor does this itch work solely in development and production–since it takes more to accomplish and attain. Rather that itch is the precursor and the leitmotif of the story behind the story. That itch aims for progress and movement. It propels an artist and his group forward with momentum and trajectory. It makes real the ineffable. Constantly molding the poetry with the prose, the abstract with the concrete, the thought with the action. Blessed is he or she to have that itch. Blessed is she or he to engage with that itch and use to act. To be controlled and then take control of the itch. To make imperative the scratch of promise to talent or honesty to story or wisdom to art. That itch fills up museums with pieces of great art and architecture, it fills up V.O.D. streaming sites with libraries of content, it fills up rosters of professional sports teams, and sets the bar for generations later of artists discovering, finding, and then delivering their voices.