I’ve just finished watching the final edit (and the first edit I’ve seen) of I Am Not a Seagull. “Surreal” is the only word I can come up with to describe the experience. It’s difficult to explain what it feels like to watch a film about yourself. There shouldn’t be any surprises, since it’s about me and I think I know myself pretty well, but it was still unpredictable.
What was meant to be a ten or fifteen minute film is now about forty-five minutes long. Feels like it’s just about the right length for the amount of ground it covers. It takes its time without getting too languid.
There’s a whole lot of talking. More than I was expecting, really. But the people who are speaking have interesting things to say and interesting ways of getting their ideas across. A lot of what they say is pretty insanely flattering. I think my head inflated to the point of near-explosion more than once. I thought it would be strange to see and hear people talking about me like I’m someone worth talking about, but I’m not sure “strange” quite cuts it.
There’s a lot of me talking in there too, and I make a bit more sense than I thought I did at the time. A lot of things I don’t even remember saying. One moment came out of nowhere and caught me completely off guard. It’s insane, but it feels like it fits somehow. If you see the film, you’ll know what moment I’m talking about when it happens. All I’m going to tell you is I’m seated behind the drums.
After all the strange and inaccurate things people have written and speculated about me, it’s nice to watch a film that touches on the mystique while ripping it to ribbons and concentrates on just telling you about who I am and what I do. You even get an explanation for why I play guitar the way I do. Anyone interested in the man behind the hair would do well to skip most of the shit that’s been written about me and watch this film instead. It’s infinitely more informative, in-depth, and accurate, and the people on the screen know what they’re talking about. Except for that bearded guy with the ponytail. I’m not so sure about him.
If I have a criticism, it’s that you don’t really get to hear my music at all. And that’s kind of the reason all these people have anything to say about me in the first place. There are plenty of songs in there, but they serve as background music most of the time, operating at a very low volume beneath the talking. Given all the music I sent Josh that pretty much no one has ever heard, that seems like a pretty big missed opportunity. I mean, you come away from the film knowing more about me than you probably did before, but if you weren’t familiar with my music you’re not going to have a much better idea of what it sounds like or whether or not you’ll like it after seeing this.
Still, thanks to Josh for coming up with this idea and for putting it all together. And thanks to Matt and Luke for taking on sound and camera duties, respectively.
Thanks also to Johnny Smith, Angela, both Adams (Fox and Peltier), Travis, Tom, and Bob for donating their bodies/voices/time to the project and saying some unbelievably nice things in the process. There are others I also think would have made interesting talking heads and might have had some interesting insights to contribute, but you can only fit so much into one forty-five-minute film.
And we can’t forget to thank Dominic West, for creating one of the most strangely likeable antiheroes I’ve seen on the small screen in quite some time. Why do British actors seem to be three million times better at nailing an American accent than American actors are at getting a handle on a British accent? I can think of several Brits who could fool you into thinking they were American if they really wanted to, and very few American actors who have ever turned in a British accent that sounded even halfway authentic.
It’s one of the great mysterious of this thing we call life.