…the great sacrifice
Five days ago I was the leader of a cult, today I am being scolded for not taking the trash out.
Five days ago I was surrounded by a team of the most talented and amazing actors and artists I have ever had the pleasure of working with, today I am on my hands and knees cleaning urine stains out of a rug…
How quickly the mighty fall.
Glory fucking be.
A warning to my readers. This blog is for me… It’s not here to enlighten you, or have some grand theme that will make you understand me better… It’s a place for me to work out my thoughts while you all laugh and judge…
I started keeping this blog some years back in an attempt to document important events and happenings in my life. It’s a place I come to vent, or thought dump.
I started the directing thing when I was in middle school.
At the time, I knew nothing about nothing, just that it was a fun creative outlet that I did with my best friend Clint Sears.
Not much has changed in the twenty plus years that have passed. I still know nothing, and I’m still making things with my best friend Clint Sears.
With each project completed, I walk away feeling I have learned from my mistakes and grown as an artist. However, there is one aspect of this lifestyle that I feel I will never overcome… the debilitating depression that falls over me upon wrapping and saying… “goodbye”.
Maybe it’s the glass is half empty part of me, that always feels “what if this truly is the end…” what if this is the last time I will be trusted to direct anything ever again.
Worse yet, what if those I have become closest to forget about me, and this…
No matter how confident I am in myself, and my abilities as story teller, it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Being on set / stage is such a high. It is a drug. The adrenaline pumping through your veins hours after the cameras have stopped rolling, or the audience leaves the auditorium… You begin to need it, that feeling that arrives in your gut one minute before yelling action… One second before the audience enters the door.
Saying goodbye to anything is hard, saying goodbye to ASCENSION is almost impossible for me to grasp, even now days later. I still feel tinges of that rush coursing through my body… It’s sporadic now, but it enrages me, excites me, and saddens me all at once. I am an addict… And it’s gone. They are now gone.
I’ve tried to explain to people not in this industry but it’s impossible to truly articulate the relationships and bonds that form when on set.
It’s a sort of magic. I mean literal magic as in you can feel it in the air. Friendships becomes expedited…
Crushes fall harder, adversary’s face off quicker.
Everything is just more intense.
It is in this chaos bubble that I find myself most free, and creatively inspired.
Clint and I have joked (which is no longer a joke) that we are writing a book on Tension. The first chapter will start “I am Chaos.”
Chaos is me… It is who I am at my very core. It is the way I live my life, and the way in which I able to create what I do. Through chaos.
As you can imagine this causes major issues in my home life. When I am not creating cults I am a husband and father. I have a two year old son who is my universe.
Finding the balance between insane creative, and calm parent and husband is a hard one for me. To quote Laura “I am a tornado.” I walk into environments and disrupt and destroy. I would try to defend myself, but there is nothing to defend. She is right… (as she usually is)
I am always at a 10. I thrive on drama. So, why not create an environment where I can surround myself with this drama… Live in it, manipulate it and in the end, ultimately control it. And thus Tension was born.
Tension – A place in which it demands a sacrifice… everyones sacrifice is different walking in…
For me, the sacrifice was time… my time. time away from my wife… my son… my film directing…
I gave Tension time, and in turn it gave me a home to exploit my chaos… nightly.
But now, it is over… The blood has dried, the bodies removed… All that remains is an empty warehouse.
So how do I exist in both worlds? How do I go from running through blood soaked naked actors, and occult sacrifices on a Sunday, to unclogging a broken garbage disposal on a Monday?
But this is life right? We live in two words… Career, and personal life…
Maybe that is where I am having such a hard and complicated time adjusting… I love my job. I LOVE what I do. But I love my family more.
If this were a switch I could flip on and off things would be easier… Calm from 6am – 5pm, Crazy from 5pm – 6am. But that isn’t how this works… One bleeds into the other.
Tension bleeds into my daily life. My home life bleeds into Tension. And THAT is where I have realized my success has come from.
There isn’t really a line any more… I am just me… I don’t know where Darren Bousman the artist ends, and Darren Bousman the husband and father begins. They are the same person.
The entire theme of Tension was about being present. Put away your distractions and be in the moment… But the reality is I am more addicted to technology than any single person I know… I live through a 7 inch screen.
There isn’t a single day that passes that I don’t hear the phrase… “Darren, be present for just ONE minute”. Again, words of wisdom from Laura.
Wanna hear a secret? A lot of the Tension ideas stemmed from her.
“Darren, go look in the mirror, I mean really look at yourself…”
Ironic, that my entire premise for Tension was at odds with the very fiber of who I was.
I sit here now, asking myself and wondering how present am I ever, really?
Do I actually listen to people when they are talking to me or am I just waiting to update my social media profile?
Am I actually bonding with my son while he swings on the swingset, or am I just trying to frame the most dynamic shot to post to instgram?
Worse, in the limited amount of time I do get to spend with those I care about, why is my face buried in my computer?
Time… How much of it is left? Another theme running through the veins of Tension.
My fear as I stated earlier was what if this is it… What if I am never able to work again, my movie well dries up… Gordon, our producer stops funding my immersive theater projects? What if…
In the days that passed after the finale of Tension, Facebook has been flooded with people talking, and sharing stories about their time in this universe.
It’s been surreal and again “magical” to see the effect this project has had on so many…
I was ready to feel emotional… Ready to be sad… What I was not ready for was the effect Tension would have on me.
At times it felt like one huge chaotic therapy session. I explored things in Tension I have been hiding, and was not prepared for… This experience has changed me. Altered me… And forced me to stare in that mirror Laura has been begging of me for years.
I am an introvert. I am socially awkward. But going to a dirty warehouse in Boyle Heights every night made me, forced me, to be present. It demanded I step outside of my comfort zone and communicate with people I normally would not…
Tension has introduced me to a new family of artists. I say family as I feel closer to some of them then I do friends I have known for years.
Tension has reunited me past collaborators.
Tension has allowed me to work with old friends.
Tension has introduced me to new ones.
And most importantly, Tension has reminded me at the end of it all… what is truly the most important thing…
Art should inspire and cause discussion. Good, bad, it doesn’t matter… What matters is it illicits a reaction out of the participant or viewer. With that, Tension has succeed.
Four months ago, I stepped into an empty warehouse.
Some weeks later, it was an entire universe. Thank you to everyone who joined us on this journey… Thank you to everyone who supported us and helped shape what this was.
To the community… You are THE ONE. Everything started with you.
I am saddened to think that there are no words I can write to accurately describe the impact this past year has had on me… As a person, as a creator, and as a director.
Unless you were there, on in the inside, this all seems rather silly… A cult? Eating strange food? Forced to get naked? But for those of us in the middle, those who populated the walls of the O.O.A. Institute it was transformative.
There is so much I still want to say… But stop reading this. Go, walk away from the computer for a minute, grab your remote and shut off the TV, put down your phone and be present…
But, don’t worry… We are not going anywhere… There is more therapy to be had… More mirrors we need to gaze into…
Next, I need to work on my heart and desires.