My superpower is the power of obsession

Have you seen this movie?

or more specifically, this scene.

I want you to pay closer attention to the laptop smashing part of it.

Did you get that?

Oh you missed it? Let’s look at it one more time.

You see, there’s an elegance to the way Eduardo (played by Andrew Garfield) smashes Mark’s (played by Jessie Eisenberg) laptop (played by many laptops).

How do I know this?

This scene ‘where a man walks with a badass angry strut to another man and smashes his laptop’ took over ten takes, For each take, a new laptop was carried up into the air and smashed down onto the table. This is David Fincher’s (The Director) style. Actually it’s the style of many directors but David is particularly known for doing scenes over and over again.

In his series titled Mindhunter, he is reported to have done a particular 2-minute scene over 70 times.

70 damn times!

Doing many retakes isn’t a very popular thing on TV shows. Considering the fact that they usually have to put out somewhere between 10 and 22 hours of footage in one year, directors simply don’t have the time to spend an entire day shooting a 2-minute scene.

Except of course the director is David Fincher. What this means for David is that most actors hate him.

Okay, that’s not true. People don’t hate him, except I think Robert Downey Jr. The actual implication of the fact that David does every shot an average of 50 times is that he has developed an incredibly specific directing style. You know the way artists have recognizable art styles so that you can always identify their work in a pile of others.

You can tell that these paintings are by Picasso

And not by Van Gohr

or Monet

In the same way, you can tell a David Fincher movie. It’s in the construction of a shot or the camera movement as it reflects character behaviour or thought or emotions. It’s a real thing. Evan Puschak (the nerdwriter) has a great video where he tries to break it down.

I’d advise you actually watch that video.

It’s more than just the timed camera movement. There are a lot of decisions David makes in his movies and the end product that we often watch and love comes from meticulously redoing every scene.

Again

and again

and again.

David Fincher is a respected Director because he has made such beautiful movies like Fight Club and The Social Network but those movies are a product of his obsession.

I saw this video on twitter a couple of days ago. I am seldom on twitter because I am fighting the scrolling urge that social media has put in me but every time I log in, I tend to be greeted by a gem. Today’s gem was this guy playing at the train station. I immediately fell in love with not only the playing but also the piece. I needed more, so I kept replaying the video. After thirty minutes, that became insufficient. I needed to find the piece. The problem was that I didn’t even know where I’d start the search or how I would start the search. Shazam couldn’t help but I tried. Then I shared the video with a friend because when you see a gem, you share (but also I hoped that by some odd chance, she’d know the piece, she didn’t)

“I need to find this piece,” I said. “I need it in my life”

“What if it’s an original piece?” she replied.

And that really got me thinking.

What if it’s an original piece?

That would mean, I wasn’t looking for a piece of music. I was looking for a musician. Which was much easier because I knew where to start.

The piece isn’t original by the way, let me just tell you that now.

I found the bar the guy played at and then I found his first name and then a facebook event with his full name and from there it was pretty easy. He wasn’t on LinkedIn but he was on SoundCloud. And he is a multi-instrumentalist.

Here he plays the same song on an instrument that I cannot quite place my finger on (please tell me what you think it is.) From the title of this upload, I was able to get the title of the song.

My Lady Carey’s Dompe

It was written in the 1500s by an unknown musician and it is believed to be initially intended for the piano and lute. Although let’s be honest, that violin rendition is the 💩.

There are many renditions on Spotify of course.

And there’s this really nice rendition on youtube played predominantly on the viola and lute.

I was thinking about how much I let the idea of the piece consume me that pushed me to find it. I, of course, took my finding to the friend mentioned earlier on and she seemed impressed by my ability to find it. To which I responded that it wasn’t really much work. All I had was the obsession. My exact words where

“My superpower is the power of obsession. The internet did the rest”

That has really stuck with me (the first part, not the second)

Over the past couple of months, I have been nursing the idea of straying away from the comfortable and secured concept of working a conventional job to doing something more creative and being in control of what I make and somehow by making stuff, find a way to survive and even thrive. I was thinking about the 💡s I get and how I become so consumed by them in my head that I can’t do much else till I find a way to get the 💡 from inside my head to the real world in some way (usually by typing.)

If asked what I had to offer (as the creative person I am trying to step into being), my answer now will be “obsession”

Obsession!

I have the superpower of obsession. When I get a thought, I hold on to it tightly. I have a strong belief that the thing is real and I believe it until it becomes real. And although, at my current stage, most of the things I make real are not that cool and impressive and I am usually not proud of them. I still feel like they need to be out here for everyone to see. You need to see the idea I had and obsessed over for weeks. I know it’s not nice out here in the real world, but it was my idea and I am proud of that fact. In the future, when I am making much cooler and much more impressive stuff, you can look back at this idea and know that it paved the way.

I don’t know if people have noticed how much shit I have put on medium this year. Just ideas on ideas on ideas. This is me obsessing and trying and doing retakes. I am going to quote David Fincher.

“We’re going to micro-fractally explore this text… We’re going to pick that shit out of pepper. We’re going to find the moments between the moments that move and resonate. And if you’re not willing to hit that hole a lot of times, don’t do this. Because it’s going to be agony for you… There’s not going to be a lot of surprises here, you’re going to surprise yourself. I’m going to have you do it until you have gone past memorizing it, gone past knowing your own name, until we can get all of the physical nonsense so ingrained that we can get to what the actual text is.”

This is him talking to Justin Timberlake on the set of The Social Network.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end.

Plug (cool stuff on the internet)

This week, I am plugging this website that basically just tries to test how well your freehand circle drawing skills are. I love it!

Support

If you liked this little writeup, clap for it. If you don’t already follow me on medium, please do that. Also, share this with your friends and on Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, everywhere. Shout it from the top of a roof even.

Thanks again.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mo Isu

Mo Isu

Writing what I can| Being Vulnerable and confused| Making podcasts