Apparently, Technological Overload Also Abhors A Void

by Ron Giesecke, US

July of 2013 saw me jaunting up the pass to fish the McCloud River.  And by “’fishing” I meant “hauling around a pack-mule’s measure of filming swag, with a small amount of fishing actually happening.” Being the constant learner of new things that I am, the “documentary bug” hit me shortly after I learned a modicum of special effects and a few editing tricks.

So I start thinking, “Hey, maybe I can make short film about the Tenkara-centric, rhetorical hazing I suffered at the hands of my Western fly-rod buddy and submit it to the F3t film festival.”  I of course, assumed that my film’s point-of-departure and Tenkara-in-derision premise would make me a shoe-in for the tour.  I was wrong about that, but I learned a few things out there and had quite a time making it gel.  Most of which involves me not doing it again the way I did it this time.

Tenkara—and for that matter fly fishing in general—bears all the hallmarks of what the intermittent luddite wants: Time away from the gadgets, forays into seclusion, self-marooning—for me, I’d rather come perilously close to anthropomorphizing a Wilson volleyball as my PSI/Felix Unger counterpart than hash out my fishing naughts on Facebook.

Yet, I find myself now, pressured to have a tripod, a camera, a homemade jib, a stabilizer, a slide, a steadicam, a cable roller, and ten GoPro batteries nearby “in case I decide to chronicle this moment.”  Now, I practically feel guilty for leaving it all behind—sort of the way the anecdotal American does when the very omission of leaving one’s smart phone at home by mistake causes the Delirium tremens associated with endorphin dependency.  I was half-ready to by a propeller-driven paraglide wing and DJI Phantom drone before my wife slipped a Mickey into my Red Bull.

So now, I’m now discovering that this film-making thing has its own odd black hole of self-afflicted peer pressures.  Problem is,  I’m the peer.  That makes me the punk AND punkee. And I for one intend to shake it, and shake it NOW.  Pictures on the water are nice.  They are especially attainable when you’re out with a buddy.  But I frequently am not.  I have pictures of big fish I’ve landed.  At some point, trout footage saturation for me became just that : overload. Secondarily,  the odd, second-tier and  “also-ran” ego boost that being “on set” has to bystanders IS momentarily gratifying.  I also now know how it must feel to be Anson Williams:

(person) “See that guy by the jeep? He’s making a film out here.”

(addressing me)  ”Sir who are you with?”

(me) “DreamScapes.”

(them) “I think I’ve heard of that.”

(me) “entirely possible.” (I then saunter off making box-forms with my hands while they contemplate my hair color)

Plus adding the “I’m waiting for a callback from Hanks” line always adds enough intrigue to muddle things even further. I have sacrificed the potential for a delicate take on the river simply because I was afraid to move upriver from my stowed gear, and too incomprehensibly lazy to wade out, move it upbank, and then re-insinuate myself.

My guess is, Isaak Walton wouldn’t have been interested in posting mid-river selfies on Instagram.  All he had was pen and paper—and I’ll furthermore extrapolate that to mean he waited until at LEAST bankside to whip out the inkwell and quill pen.  Hashtags: #phat  #horsehair  #furled  #leaders.

To my mind, creative journaling will outlast the cinematic pieces anyway.  I’m not pamphleteering against film; I’m soapboxing against placing unrealistic and peace-robbing onuses on ourselves with inherently narcissistic need to document everything we do in visual form.

I’ve heard it stated that one week of outdoors camping devoid of electronic devices pushes a sort of “reset” button on our brains, allowing our paralyzed hippocampuses  to start mending.  Besides, if I have my way, I’d rather have my rash and foolhardy expeditions place me in the unified company of people that look like they’re in the waiting room in Beetlejuice—than the padded rooms in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

So if you must, make that film.  Get that shot.  Then get back to what it was you meant to do in the first place: the THING ABOUT WHICH you were filming.

Jeremy Lucas: Tenkara Where; Tenkara Now >>