Hedy Lamarr, The Mortal Body, & The Art of Being Spaced-Out

A POST FROM JANUARY I NEVER POSTED:

Rough time on Monday morning. The plan was to do a LOT of clip shooting, as I haven’t done a single shoot this month. Instead, I have been doing a lot of planning, so that this can be the year when I change my life. Unfortunately, I see a huge conflict of interests. Changing my life involves much pro-activity, an extremely focused mindset, and lots of learning. Doing this, I inhabit a VERY different brain space than is required for shooting clips, an activity which is only successful if I’m not inhabiting any brain space At ALL.

As Hedy Lamarr once said, “It’s easy to look glamorous. Just stand still and look stupid.” The point of the clips is not to project, “I am having thoughts about coding and writing! I am having opinions on culture!” The point of clips is to project, “There’s not a thought in my head that doesn’t involve sitting here smoking this cigarette.”

Hedy Lamarr was what they called in her day “a smart cookie”. She knew how to walk the tight-wire of body vs mind, and she walked it extremely well.  She played the infamous Biblical femme fatale in Cecil B. DeMille‘s Samson and Delilah. the third-biggest grossing film of its time. Variety wrote, “Hedy Lamarr never has been more eye-filling and makes of Delilah a convincing minx.” You’d never imagine from that sentence that she was also responsible for the spread spectrum techniques that are today used in Bluetooth technology.  At the beginning of World War II, she and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes which used frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to thwart jamming by the Axis powers. Both Lamarr and Antheil were posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. 

Sadly, I am no Hedy Lamarr. Walking that line is much more difficult for me. Part of it is the switching back and forth between opposing mindsets, yes. It’s not as simple as hemisphere jumping. Even though a hop over to the right brain takes the mind away from logic, analysis and static information, it’s isn’t necessarily the right place to hang out when shooting clips. There’s still lots of thought going on inside the right side, the content is just different. It’s the domain of Art and Music, creativity and flow, stimulated by new ideas and novel ideas and works, constantly turning things all about and extracting inspiration from that marrow. It’s pretty far away from sitting still and looking like you’ve not a care nor thought in the world.

Wait, Annie – isn’t shooting clips a creative thing to do? Couldn’t there be some use for this right brain specialty in what you’re doing? Sadly, no, I have not found that to be true. What I have to shoot is fairly specific, and does not leave much room for elaboration. Plus, all of my instincts are off-brand. No one watches my clips for my sense of humor, and they sure as hell don’t watch them for the production design (believe me, because the “set” I have to work with lost its novelty years ago, and there’s no funds to upgrade the situation). They watch my clips to watch me smoke. And I’m at the point where I cannot reinvent the wheel. It’s time for me to do something else, and it’s been that time for years now. Nonetheless, until I have a larger chunk of knowledge under my belt, until those new skills I’m learning are a legitimate part of my wheelhouse, I have to keep doing this. I’m at the point financially where I need one of those “poor barrels”. But I can’t afford a poor barrel. Now that my rent’s gone up, I can’t really even afford to keep eating.

There is never a moment in time where I am not thinking about something from all angles. The tenor of my thoughts and the tides of my emotions do not naturally lend themselves to controlling the expression on my face to reach a specific and marketable end. Trying to hit all the marks of “Pretty” takes me a lot of concentration and thought, without a lot of payoff in the end result. The square peg despairs because it never fits into round holes, it’s impossible to fit into round holes, but the only way it can survive is to fit into a round hole. This condition creates the perfect hothouse for a self-annihilating inner narrative to flourish.

I am ill-suited to do the thing that I absolutely MUST do to survive, and in doing it, I keep myself held back from doing something I WOULD be good at, a situation Joseph Heller called the Catch-22.

Rock, me, hard place.

 

 

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