The Password

Once upon a time, I was crazy about 3D. I created this teaser using Maya and thought I'd make a whole short film. I recently found this image on an old disk:

Test image for the film "The Password".

Of course, life took its course, and this overly ambitious project somehow found its way to the trash can. But I still find the image quite lovely.

P.S.: Yes, I'm decluttering. There are more embarrassing gems on the way."

Vintage Animations

While sorting through old hard drives, I found this compilation of animations dating back to... well, the early 21st century:

The first one was made from photos, the second using claymation, and the third... on Adobe Flash. It doesn't make us any younger.

Pick the Fruit When it's Ripe

I don't choose what I write.

One morning, I realize that my comedy-drama screenplay isn't progressing. The new scenes are dragging, predictable. Even the corrections I make here and there don't seem to be heading in the right direction. It's a mess.

However, without searching, three ideas for a comedy.

We know that writing (or creation in general) is 10% inspiration and 90% hard work. So if we wait for divine inspiration to move forward, we'll never accomplish anything. Sometimes, you have to push yourself a bit. Start the machine and see what comes. Right?...

I'm less and less sure about that.

Of course, the writing process itself – in the sense of the work required to get the idea on paper, to correct, to review, etc. – that time is largely non-negotiable. I would even say it tends to increase with experience. In many ways, what defines a professional, an artisan, is the awareness of how much time their work takes. Unlike me in music, for example, where I get offended when I can't crap out a song in an hour like the musicians I see on YouTube. (The term "crap" is not chosen by chance, as we will see.)

However, when we talk about pure creation, about the intellectual process of generating new ideas, bringing them out of nothing, my theory is that this time, just like the quality of the ideas themselves, varies exponentially depending on the circumstances.

The formula that you find effortlessly right after a meeting where you've been slightly shaken, which you expand with a line you didn't dare to say on the spot, and then develop into an entire dialogue that could fit into a courtroom drama or a thriller: it would be impossible to write the same thing the following week in front of your computer. Not with the same enthusiasm, the same inspiration.

Similarly, the nonsense that the brain seems incapable of stopping when you come out of an improvisation session with other creators animated by the same joyous and ancestral silliness: none of this would come easily on a Tuesday morning at the office.

Lastly: the nostalgia that tints everything after a painful breakup, the sadness of the world, the shittiness of things, you never express it better than when you're in the dumps.

The best comparison to illustrate this idea involves toilets and taking a dump – here we are. Not out of a love for vulgarity (though, well used, it rarely bothers me) but because I haven't found anything clearer or more universal:

Let's imagine an office worker whose job is to produce... crap. Literally. He's paid to provide a high-quality turd every day and is therefore not allowed to take the life-saving laxatives that would contaminate his specimen.

His day can be organized in two ways:

1. Enter the bathroom at 9 am – to show that he's serious and disciplined – and then for hours... Push. Push. Blow, massage his belly, make movements with his hips and thighs. Sweat. Not dare to leave the bathroom for fear of being considered a slacker. Feel the anxiety rise: "Am I doing it wrong? Maybe I'm not involved enough? Not motivated enough? Not concentrated enough? What if I never crap again? Am I a dilettante, an impostor, a loser? Have I wasted my life?"

Or:

2. Spend the day at the park with his children and his dog. When the urge comes, enter the bathroom, do his business, wash his hands, and *Poof*: workday completed!

Seems obvious, doesn't it?

Yet, how many times do we try to force things rather than let nature take its course and pick the fruit when it's ripe? Count it in a day. It's often much, much more than we think. When it's not the job itself that's built on a constant violation of the world's temporality.

Then again, it depends, I suppose. I progressed in my novel by writing very regularly every morning for long periods. So it's possible, I guess. But in general, these writing sessions only serve to arrange the fruits already picked up by chance on the road. And there's no guarantee that, in the end, it will be a high-quality turd.

UPDATE 1: The sociologist Niklas Luhmann, not known for slacking off, puts it even more succinctly:

"I only do what is easy. I write only when I immediately know how to do it. If I hesitate for a moment, I set the subject aside and do something else."
- Niklas Luhmann

UPDATE 2: Since we're talking about toilets and creation, go watch this (very) short film I just re-released, which deals precisely with that. One of my first films.

The Martist - Take 2

As I'm getting back to publishing dialogues, I thought it was a shame to have lost the one that had performed the best back in the days of The ShitScript. So, I rewrote it (hopefully better) based on some drafts:

Because of a freak accident, I'm stuck on Mars. And I'm an Artist! So don't expect me to science the shit out of anything...

Click here to read:  The Martist.

Future Is Coming

Here's an image from my series Panic in Space!, which is currently in post-production:

Khalifa Belouzaa plays the DJ of Determix in "Panic in Space!"

Khalifa was filmed on a green screen, the four screens in the back were modeled in 3D, the background was created on Midjourney, and the videos were generated on Runway. Humans and AI working hand in hand for an episode that's precisely about that. To be continued.

Edmond and a Flea in her Ear

Lately, I've been going back to the theater.

Yeah, I don't know what's gotten into me! Probably the onset of depression.

I've seen some fantastic stuff – including I Wish I Were Jeff Bezos which is currently playing, go check it out!

And then I saw... Edmond.

It's the hugely successful play by this wildly successful playwright who only produces hits. Honestly, I was thrilled at the idea of sharing the love for a popular show with the rest of France. I was going to laugh, be moved, and engage in café conversations by shouting, "I've seen it too!" and we'd reminisce about the best moments, laughing together. I might even have made some new friends.

And then... plop.

It's always tricky to speak ill of a play that so many people have loved. To keep it restrained, I'll simply say this:

This play is garbage and everyone who liked it is a fool.

Oh well, no new friends for me.

To keep it brief: I found the script sluggish, the humor painfully forced, relying on accents that drool and lame jokes. It's another remake of "Shakespeare in Love" except the connections between the author's life and his work are artificial and anecdotal – a clumsy device that serves as an excuse for predictable twists.

All of this is performed by actors – all very talented, I'm sure – who take turns from one performance to another in what has become industrial theater.

On the "plus" side: yes, the staging is dynamic, very cinematic, scenes flowing like in a film with music that sounds like a soundtrack. It's like cinema recreated in the theater. Why not.

Then I went to see A Flea in Her Ear at the Comédie-Française.

The text is long – over two hours – but a real delight. You can feel a troupe that has had the time to work on every scene, every line, every line to get the maximum comedic effect – that's what public theater is for. You're surprised by unexpected shifts, gestures, sometimes even stunts that emphasize and invigorate the text, making it lively, accessible, and modern.

And the venue. I had forgotten how beautiful it is.

Well, I might be a bit harsh on Edmond. It's still well-constructed, well-directed, and visually pleasing. It's a show. If you go with friends, you'll probably have a good evening. And above all, when you leave, don't forget to delete my number.

The ShitScript is back!

A few years ago, I started writing some absurd-existential dialogues on a website I named theShitScript.com (which no longer exists).

Somewhere between a comic strip and a screenplay, this format allowed me to share the absurd scenes that I didn't have the time or resources to film. I created about four or five of them, and they had a small success.

The problem was that drawing the characters – even if they were just reused portraits – and the opening image took too much of my time. I abandoned the project after writing five or six stories (which seem to be permanently lost...).

But now, thanks to Midjourney & co, no more problems! I'm going to use these digital slaves to focus exclusively on the part that interests me: telling stories.

Here's the first one, serving as a test: A Very Confident Author.

I still don't know how I'm going to organize all this, where I'll put them on this site, or how it will be presented. It's going to evolve. Feedback is welcome.

What Shines in the Future

A small touch of the blues on the highway.

No reason. No illness. No new abyss in my life. Nothing to worry about more than usual.

Then I understood why: there was nothing exciting waiting for me in Paris. Neither upon arrival, nor that evening, nor in the upcoming week. Not an unpleasant week ahead – not at all – but nothing that made me impatient.

This made me realize two things.

The first one: my happiness relies almost entirely on anticipating future joys.

There has to be something shining in my future.

Either a small spark in my immediate future: a pastry, a meeting, a distraction. Or a big sun in my distant future: the success of a long-term project, a life change, the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

Strangely, the actual size of the star doesn't matter, only its apparent size. If it's small, it must be close – I want it now. If it's distant, it must be large – worth the wait. So, its diameter as seen from the present is always roughly the same: I need a certain amount of brightness on the horizon.

This perspective explains certain behaviors.

People without long-term perspective, for example, those who have lost confidence in the future (who don't have a distant sun), often compensate with a multitude of short-term sparks. It's the first step in addiction: indulging in immediate pleasures to forget the lack of an overall direction.

Conversely, it's easier to maintain daily discipline when aiming for a shining light on the horizon. The reward gleaming in the distance makes it easier to endure daily sacrifices.

But precisely: in the car, nothing was shining. And I felt... weary. Without enthusiasm. Almost depressed. That was the second realization:

What if this is my baseline state? My emotional neutrality?

What if the state I label as "depressed" is actually a "everything's fine, yay!" state that I misinterpret due to excessive dependence on the future?

Am I like an addict too fixated on their next fix to notice other sources of joy? Do I always need a reward on the horizon to enjoy the moment? Is it possible that I've organized my life (and for who knows how long?) to always have something waiting for me, even if I have to invent it? Even if it spoils what is here and now? Have the fantasies of the future desensitized my palate to the subtler emotions already within reach?

But most importantly: can I recalibrate my brain to be less hypnotized by the future and the junk it constantly dangles in front of me?

(Response: yes, yes. Very easily! Cheers!)

Back to 59 Rivoli

I returned to Squat 59 Rivoli by chance.

What an incredible place! What an atmosphere! What talents! Five floors of creativity open to the public. Bravo.

Artist listening to music on the right. Characters dancing on the left.
Art and the Critique of Art in one piece.
Jungles in the jungle.

Try to go there by chance as well; you'll be even more surprised.

Sophie Le Cam : It’s Good, Dig In!

Before, I used to joke that only my mom read this blog.

Recently, I got proof that not even she does.

So when I promote an artist here, it's not like it's going to make a big difference or attract a crowd. But hey, it's a kind of journal. I jot down what I like.

And Sophie Le Cam's concert – just like her previous one – really, really impressed me.

I love this new phase of my life where I get to attend shows by people I know, and I think it's fantastic. It was funny, sweet, rhythmic, genuine, with a unique touch that adds personality without overshadowing the emotion. And a few hit songs.

The music videos are great as well – but if you have the choice, go see the live performance.

And you can find her website here.