“I’m not really into black chicks.”

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David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    Holy S*** David, you lead an interesting life! boat building and risque film making!

    Sorry if the next question sounds offensive (not meant to be that way).

    You write that what you do is different from what Art house films do. But the way I read you, you do what you do for the art. How does that differ from what Art house films do? (Or are you just saying that they are derivative poseaurs and that you are the real thing?)

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    • Avatar David Ryan says:

      Try this:

      Art with a Capital A

      (Now that I’m properly caffienated) edited to add:

      Of course I think the entire post linked to above is terribly important and your lives will be poorer if you don’t click, read, and then spend the rest of the day ruminating on my (hard-won) wisdom. But in case you had something else planned for this Sunday, here’s the passage that answers most directly:

      As much as my films are made with the hope of confronting the way that sex is presented in pornography and suppressed by the state, my films are made to confront the way that sex is presented in art.

      In my films there is no ennui, no cynicism, no boredom or brutality, no disenfranchisement, disconnection, or disaffection. These are the proven cinematic devices used to signal “But this is art,” – devices I intentionally banish from my films. I want to create a sexual and cinematic environment devoid of the familiar landmarks found in art,and scrubbed clean of the familiar hiding places that allow people to watch lovemaking with clinical detachment.

      In my films the human condition is a joyful condition. In my films human beings revel in their ability to connect with one another; physically, mentally, emotionally. In my films people know what they want and get what they want. My films are idealistic, passionate, and compassionate. In short, my films are a refutation of everything that art, and especially art films have tried to teach me about love and sex. Where art is expected to be cool and detached, my films are lush; where art is expected to be coy, my films are frank; where art is expected to celebrate pain, my films celebrate pleasure.

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  2. Avatar BSK says:

    David-

    Fascinating stuff. Canyou explain the title of the post?Report

    • Avatar David Ryan says:

      As mentioned in the post, I was better prepared for the second screening of ASHLEY AND KISHA at the center, including the director’s Q&A.

      An inevitable question during these sessions is “What did you want us to get from the film?” or “What were you trying to say?” and that night was no exception.

      This question, whether addressed in person or in the writing one finds oneself forced to do about ones work has always vexed me. My (prideful?) feeling is that the work should speak for itself, and if it doesn’t, I’ve failed; or alternately, if a work relies on an artist’s statement to be understood or accepted, then it’s really not art, it’s an essay with some illustrations.

      But the simple fact is the question gets asked, and 1) the above is not an answer that satisfies most interlocutors, 2) not answering or answering poorly is a missed opportunity to promote the work. Even when people like something, many (most?) need help finding the words to express why they liked it, and doubly so if the work is not easily categorized or explained.

      At any rate, as I said, that night was no exception, the question was asked, but even as I felt my pique rise, I suddenly knew what my answer was, and what I said was this:

      “I figure that in the best scene of his best movie, Steven Speilberg only has control over 49% of what his audience is experiencing when they watch his movies, and most of the time even less. The rest is made up out of what each person brings to the experience of watching the movie.

      “Now I’m no Steven Speilberg. In the best scene of my best movie, I figure I’m peaking at about 19%. The rest is on you.

      “So I can’t tell you what I wanted you to get out of it, I can only tell you about what I get out of it, the reasons that it speaks to me.”

      And then I went on to describe some scenes in the movie that I find especially moving and why.

      That seemed to satisfy my questioner, and it satisfied me too.Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        David-

        Interesting stuff but… Unless I missed something, I don’t see how tis addreesses the title of the post here.Report

        • Avatar b-psycho says:

          I just assumed it was a humorous way of saying “no, I didn’t make this film just to watch these girls have sex”.

          In the spirit of honesty, I will say my initial intent in watching that would be to watch those girls have sex.  Not to say I wouldn’t get a deeper meaning — dunno, haven’t seen it — but hey, (far as I can tell from the still pics) attractive lesbians.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “You find what you want to find” isn’t the same thing as “I meant it to mean (thing)”.  Sure, you can’t control how people interepret a scene, but unless you’re just setting up a camera+mike on a streetcorner and doing two hours of raw footage, then you are making specific choices.  (And, for that matter, even the two hours of raw footage had some reason why you picked it, unless you honestly believe that we should just sit around and watch mall security cameras as a form of entertainment.)

        When someone asks “what was this part supposed to mean?” then what they’re really asking is “why did I give you two hours of my life?”  And, in fact, what they’re really really asking is “this was either boring or incomprehensible, was that because I’m too dumb to understand it or because it truly was boring and incomprehensible?”  And when you say “I can’t tell you what I wanted you to get out of it”, you’re telling them that either A: you don’t consider other people’s time worth anything, or B: it was boring and incomprehensible.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        an interesting twist. you take off the hat of “director” and put on the hat of “audience”Report

        • Avatar David Ryan says:

          Yes, more or less. 🙂

          This is helpful in two ways:

          First, if you’re a Steven Spielberg there may be some use in trying to anticipate what “the audience” (broadly construed) wants. Big movies are very very expensive to make and very very expensive to promote. Wide appeal is very very important.

          Conversely, if you’re making small work, my theory is your only hope is to make exactly the film that you want to see, and then hope there are a few thousand people who’s tastes align with yours. It’s like Kevin Kelly’s “1000 true fans” idea, but in film, it needs to be more like 10,000 true fans.

          Secondly, after you finish a film, what your intentions are really don’t matter (except when/if you have to talk about your film, and further more if you make an film with explicit sex, it turns out that the film is nothing; that your intentions are all that matter. See today’s post.)

          But at least in theory, a film should be able to be enjoyed without the pre or post framing of a director’s statement; or at least that’s my platonic ideal of a film.Report