TURTLE HAS SPOKEN: THERE WILL BE NO VISION STATEMENT by Noah Buschel
I got this pet turtle, and I’m always trying to pick stuff up from her. Her name’s Minnie. Not after Minnie Mouse and not after Minnie and Moskowitz. She just came like that. Someone else named her. Maybe it has something to do with Disney or Gena Rowlands, but I hope not. Let’s just call the turtle, turtle.
Anyways, I watch this turtle do its thing. And ya know, it eats bugs. It eats fish flakes. It eats spiders, but that’s on its own. I don’t feed it spiders. That’s between the turtle and the spider. But yeah, ya know, anyways—I’ve been talking to the turtle. And her main thing is, I mean like her main advice to me going into the film festivals with this new film I made—her thing is, like—don’t write no vision statement. She told me this over dinner. So I’m like, ok, sure, but why? Because you get pressure, if you make a movie, to explain what the hell it is. But turtle was just like, listen man—there’s no need. There’s just really no need. It’s not necessary. So I’m like yeaaah, I’m kinda with ya. But, maybe just give me a little more. To which turtle kinda coldly replies that I’m just like all the film fest cronies and film critics.
Turtle obliges me and starts goin’ on about how a lot of film festivals and film critics don’t know how to watch movies. Like just absorb and then digest them. And so if you write a vision statement, that ends up being more important than the actual work a lot of the time. Because a lot of these pro film watchers are kinda stuck in their heads a little and they often need to latch onto some kind of cerebral context. Especially if the film is unique in any way. That really sends them running to their vision statement binders. Turtle laughed at this thought. Turtle always laughs at the idea of people running.
If you’re not privy—a vision statement is like a silly little essay, kinda like this one, where you say blah blah blah and that’s what inspired the movie and that’s what the movie’s really about and blah blah blah blah. Logical and linear.
Anyways, turtle went on for a long time about why vision statements suck. I was like, if you don’t mind I’d like to go to bed soon. But turtle was like, let’s just sit here and chill for a little longer. So I’m like alright—but inside I’m thinking man oh man there’s no bed like my bed and how much longer is this gonna take? And I’m really bored here so could we just move things along? But turtle don’t really care about moving things along. She has a point to make. And it’s well taken. Don’t write no vision statements. Even if the producers or film festivals tell you to—it’s really not a great idea. Because the more you try to spell shit out for everyone, the more you dumb down the process, and by doing that you’re actually hurting others . You’re taking away basic primordial instincts and bowing to intellectualizing. And that’s not good for anyone. In fact, one can argue that art is made specifically to get back in touch with the spontaneous, creative aspects of our consciousness. Like, who knows what the hell any movie is about? When we’re looking at a movie, any movie, what are we looking at? Because it’s a movie, it has to be a thing, right? Because it’s a movie, movies are known for their objective reality. It’s moving images of a thing, with sound. And so people wanna know what it is. What’s the movie about? What’s the plot? What’s the theme? What’s the subject? Well, what is the subject? I don’t know what the subject is. Is the subject the object being recorded? I don’t know. It’s the filmmaker’s job to not have no spelled out vision. Yeah, ok, ok, got it.
So I promise turtle that there will be no vision statements for my new indie film—which is called Sparrows Dance, which was turtle’s bright idea of a title. And that’s just how it’s gonna be. Turtle looks at me for a long time. See, I don’t like going that late into the night with turtle, cause she starts eyeballing me and shit. It’s like, that kinda look, ya know? Like, all of a sudden she don’t know me and shit. So I’m like, what’s up? What’s the problem? She wants to like shift subjects and talk about the Cleveland Cavaliers. And I’ve been down this road with her before (she was born in Akron). So I’m like no. And also the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t got nothing to do with an essay on whether or not to write a vision statement. So, yeah, basically I’m just like no. And turtle tries to start a scene in my apartment, but she’s kinda laughing too and I realize then she’s been drinking a lot of beer and so I just kinda walk straight out. But yeah, the thing is, like, the whole vision statement thing. I mean—turtle says don’t.
— Noah Buschel