When you’re making films, television programs and even commercials there are always portions of the work that don’t make it into the final product. They end up ‘on the cutting room floor’. They’re the ‘outtakes’.
It’s not that anything’s necessarily ‘wrong’ with them. When the editor and director sit down to put it all together, they just may not ‘fit’. There may be better versions of a particular scene or performance. And sometimes they’re mistakes. When actors flub their lines. Or when the unexpected happens at precisely the moment when the cameras are rolling. Bloopers. And blunders.
They don’t all end up in the trash. More and more, we’re seeing them added to DVDs, as special features. And sometimes they’re included at the very end of the film, as part of the ‘credits’. We enjoy them, because it’s a peek behind the scenes. And it’s also a chance to witness a slice of someone else’s reality.
I think the same thing happens in ‘life’. Not every moment of our existence is captured in perpetuity. We don’t think about everything that’s happened to us, all the time. We wouldn’t be able to remember all of it, even if we wanted to. Some events are more significant than others, so we tend to talk about them more often. Some pass so quickly, they’re forgotten almost immediately. Some are too painful. Some seemingly, too trivial. And others no longer ‘fit’ with the versions of ourselves, and our lives, we’re currently experiencing.
And so, we leave them on our cutting room floors. They become our outtakes.
Which made me think, there’s no time like the present for a bit of a retrospective. What are some of the bloopers, blunders, funny bits, scary bits, revealing bits and even interesting bits I may have discarded, for one reason or another?
Where I started, was right at the beginning. Do you ever try to remember your very first memory of yourself? Your first ‘memory’, period. I didn’t, until I started writing this. I was three or four years old. I was with my parents. They were obviously planning to move, because we were looking at a new house. We were in a small, front room. It had a huge window and a door, leading to a balcony. It was a very sunny day and something was making interesting shapes on the wall.
Like a kaleidoscope. Even then I was determined to find out what it was. I found it, too. Laying along the window ledge was a very long, very thin shard of glass. When the sun glinted off it, it reflected on the wall. To me it was like a magic wand. Remember I was only young. I did what any three year old would have done. I picked it up to get a closer look. And to wave it around to see what would happen.
“Put that down, Fransi. You’ll hurt yourself! Put it down! Now!” It was the only time, in my entire life (or his), my father ever raised his voice. To anyone. It wasn’t in his nature. He was worried I’d cut myself. He was right. I could have done some serious damage with that thing.
What do kids know? I remember NOTHING before that day. That moment. It’s as if my life started right then and there. And until this very moment, I’ve never given it any thought at all.
An outtake that’s suddenly made it to ‘prime time’. As well it should, because it tells you something about me. Even as a young child my curiosity always got the better of me. Even as a young child I was fascinated by the unknown. Even as a young child I loved the idea of ‘creating’. Even as a young child I was capable of inspiring myself.
Now I’m curious about what else I’d find if I started to dig around all the ‘stuff’ I’ve left on the cutting room floor. I’ll let you know.