The idea, for over a year, was to take the three little cousins on my father’s side to a local park & document both the bullying & the fascination of the youth. A lack of equipment & the inability to commit vehicular manslaughter left me waiting until i could co-ordinate such a project. After that year, two of them had hit puberty, & i came to realize that the three little cousins on my mothers side were a far more extreme insight into the middle-American family. The two eldest were wholly corrupted before double-digits: disobedient, malicious, jaded, & cursed with such fluent machismo it was an almost graceful imitation of what they clearly though the American male was supposed to be.
At some point within that year, i met Jon Cournoyer, the Senior Director at the St. Louis Art Museum; he enjoyed my work, & after finding out that i had no camera, was shocked & helped purchased the cheapest DV camera on the market, which was also on sale at the time. Double win. He is therefore credited as producer; without him this film would never have taken shape.
Cut to a breezy late-summer afternoon in August, which i believe was the day before the boys were to start a new school-year. I had taken them to the park before & seen them run amok, which i found amusing. So i brought my new camera & a clear head. The only direction i gave them was: “Do what you do, have fun; i’ll just try to keep up.” So we did. After about three-hours of documenting their rough-housing I was a minute or so away from having filled the one-hour DV tape & the sun was coming down. The youngest, Jack, the most endearing, the only true innocent, said the closing line. I pulled my eye away from the camera, shocked. I looked to the others & said: “Okay, that’s the ending. We’re done.” And we walked home. The last minute of the tape was then filled by the middle-child, Zack, filming chaotically, with wild zooms on neighbors, mailboxes & trees. The day was done & i’d finally finished the film that’d been brewing in my head for a little over a year.
The next day I went on vacation to California for a week, to visit a friend who recently had a nervous breakdown & needed some support. I didn’t look at the footage until the plane-ride back to the midwest, & edited it almost in its entirety on the plane.
Cut to a little over a year later, Christmas weekend; i show the kids the film, they watch, eyes wide, both amused & annoyed by themselves. In their looks I can see an attempt to grasp who they are. Especially the two eldest. It strikes me that I should do impromptu interviews with the FLiP camera i’d bought a few days prior. Such is the supplement post-credits.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for watching.