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From The Heart

June 22, 2008

Since AnimiVirtus literally means courage of the heart in latin, and since it’s stuck with me so deeply for a few years now, things that follow along that line of demonstrating real human emotion and courage of the heart always stand out to me. So, naturally, when I first found this video of Craig Ferguson on YouTube almost a year ago now, I began to think of adding one more person so my little list of heroes. Starting just this February, I’ve begun to watch almost every single one of this Late Late Show episodes, every weeknight, fom 12:30 to 1:30 AM, no matter the next day’s occurence. (I was sick for a weekend recently, so sadly I missed out on a few episodes, but I think that’s justified).

Today I was thinking about keeping up the blog here and happened to be glancing at my YouTube login page when I noticed they’d updated the whole front page after you log in. It’s absolutely full of recommendations and what is essentially Google’s trademark of “smart suggestions,” or stuff they think you’ll like based on your previous use of the site you’re currently viewing. Among them were a bunch of Craig Ferguson videos, since I like to show friends his antics while at school or wherever.

I came across this video duo of him eulogizing his father, and it struck home not only as a really deeply brave thing to do – on TV or elsewhere publicly give a lost loved one a wake – but that it’s what I think is the most important thing about a lot of the movies I love. I’m not going to list off a bunch of movies to see, though I might make a list of the Top AnimiVirtus-Themed films of the year” or something at some later date, but I just wanted to take a moment to mention how important the backbone of your film is. Pure and simply, if there’s no key element driving the thing, it’s probably not worth making.

I know a lot of the time fun is the key element, whether it’s making a movie to goof off or making a serious film to showcase your efforts and talents, but I think what is the most important is what you’re saying in the film you’re making. My friends know I loved Grindhouse and can’t get enough vampire or zombie or postapocalyptic movies with less plot than spiky mohawks and souped up cars, but really, when it comes down to it, if you’re not saying anything – if you’re not pushing through to the audience to say something important to you – then it’s just another flick.

Ferguson always speaks from the heart. He always says what he means, what he believes, and leaves it at that. But occasioanly, he goes out on a pretty serious limb – be it about some other celebrity’s issues or his own – and says something that’s really important to him, that really means something to him, and that he can stand behind and defend with strength. That’s what AnimiVirtus means to me, that’s what filmmaking means to me, and that’s what I think film and all forms of expression of ourselves are supposed to accomplish. Say something that’s important, say something you believe. Always be open to suggestion and discussion, but be who you are, and think what you believe. That’s what I think makes good films, and in the end, a good life.

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