A Dreamer Walking

My Heart Stopped Beating

Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on October 3, 2017

A year ago my heart stopped.

How many people can say that?! But it is true. On this day last year I had open heart surgery to repair a leaky valve and deal with a huge amount of excess liquid accumulating around my heart. I was in complete heart failure before the procedure. An operation that usually takes months to set up took less than a week for me. Fair to say this was one of the most definitive moments of my life.  Recovery was a long and tedious process. I still am on a good deal of medication. They even gave me several recommendations for mental health rehab. Many patients go into depression after their surgeries.

Of course, that wasn’t going to be me. I only had one concern before the operation. In order to deal with the concern I needed to go to the Big Guy. I needed to make a deal with God. I did not know why this was happening to me. Frankly, I did not feel any need to ask questions on why. What was happening was happening and I could deal with it. The only thing I needed was to live.

I know.  This procedure happens all the time. The doctor was one of the best in the country. The success rate was 98%. But, that 2% haunted me before the operation. I couldn’t get past it. The doctor wasn’t willing to tell me I was going to be alive after the procedure. And as much faith as I had in him, the 2% was constantly on my mind. This might sound foolish. Honestly I felt guilty for feeling so afraid. I mean, there are countless people who are much braver than I am with much worse odds.

I was frustrated this was an issue. I have talked more than once on this blog about feeling divinely lead to do what I do. My faith is a personal thing and I do not have any need for others to believe the same way I do. But if I were honest I would even need to tell my secular friends that my life has never felt completely my own. For most people dreams live by night and fade away by morning. For me, dreaming has always been more, a calling from someone who insists I bring them to reality. But a year ago, I was told, my heart could stop and might never beat again.

So the deal was, “let me live“. Let me live and I will double down on my devotion toward my dreams. I will tell my stories and impact this world.

You’ve probably noticed by now, but to settle any doubt, I am alive.

BOOM! I woke up after the 6 hour operation and still remember my joy in being alive. Sure it hurt. I literally threw up all through the next night (and if you want to experience pain just start dry-heaving after your chest has been ripped open). I won’t claim to have been the most grateful patient. But, all in all I knew I could handle everything that would follow. The support I had was unbelievable. My whole family was there, if not physically, in spirit. The greatest feeling in the world was holding my mother’s hand afterword. The worst was done and I knew the dreams I was given were still alive and God had faith in my ability to deliver.

The tragedy to this story is a year out I personally feel no closer to any of my dreams. Here I was so confident I would be able to handle anything I would need to face. Heck, a life event like the one I had has plenty of fodder for inspiration. Yet, again and again when reflecting on this past year, I only see failure. I dropped out of school. I ended up returning to my introverted tendencies and have fewer relationships with people than ever in my life. The Kickstarter I launched to get funding for a project I am passionate about, failed miserably. Even this blog feels like another failure. 9 months ago I claimed to be “Back” but since haven’t written anything worthy enough to post. For a little icing on the cake, just the other day the hard drive holding all my major projects simply stopped working and Geek Squad couldn’t transfer the files. Though I had a good amount backed up, I’ve already discovered countless hours of edits and some very personal footage is now gone (unless anyone wants to loan me $1,500 dollars ;).

Remember the depression I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the depression I felt so above before the operation, well I don’t feel so above it now.

A year ago my heart stopped. It started beating again and I have overcome the physical obstacles that were holding me back. But at the moment of writing this post I am struggling to find the dreams. Hell, I’m even struggling to find the words with which to conclude this post. My thoughts were if I get to the end of writing this God would give me the inspiration. Um… I’m waiting…

Being alive is something I can no longer take for granted. One of the unique things to happen after heart surgeries like mine is you feel your heart like never before. Every pace change and skipped beat is something I’m aware of. Maybe the mistake I made was thinking the operation I had was something to get over. I saw it as an obstacle, a task I needed to complete in order to move on to bigger and better things. Yet the scar on my chest will never leave me and I will never feel my heart beat the same.

 

Suspense Vs. Heart

Posted in Film and Filmaker Studies, Personal Philosophy by Jacob on September 21, 2010

I have been studying two directors who seemed to be the best of the best at two very different specialties in film. One is known for being the master of suspense and the other is considered to be the master at creating the heart felt emotion. The two I am talking about are the two that you see on your left, Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra. These are two of the greatest film directors in history and both seemed to have completely different ideas on what film making was all about.

Alfred Hitchcock knew exactly how to use the camera in order to create that curtain feeling that completely held us back in suspense. We were both dreading and longing to see what was going to happen next. Hitchcock thought it was his job to be the audience’s entertainment. That is why he thought the audience went to movies, so they could be “entertained”. He created entertainment through drawing our attention completely to what was happening on screen. Hitchcock demanded the audiences complete attention and made us get involved with the film. We needed to put two and two together. He made it so we thought we knew what was going to happen next, creating an extreme suspense because we did not want our theory to be correct. Hitchcock’ mastery was in the ups and downs and twists and turns he was able to put us through. As soon as we thought we knew what was going to happen next, Hitchcock would change it on us. Hitchcock would intentionally lead us  to believe one thing in order to surprise us with the reality of a completely different thing. In the best of Hitchcock movies we were entertained throughout the picture, always interested in what was going to happen next, and completely surprised throughout the unfolding of the story.

Frank Capra was not a man full of twists and turns. His movies were not built on suspense or on a fear that a murderer would pop out of nowhere and kill the main character. Frank Capra’s movies were full of ups and downs. They had some deep and often meaningful but sad commentaries on real life. His movies were full of villains that were not about physically kill the body but instead they were about destroying the soul of the protagonist. Frank’s movies seemed to be more about overcoming the corruption of society through the belief in the best of human nature. Through Frank’s great direction in comedy and depth in character development, he created very entertaining movies. However, it seems that film making was more then just entertainment to Capra, it was a way to make his voice heard in the world, film was his appeal to make the most out of our lives and use the examples from his films as inspiration to make this world a better place.

I no doubt think that Frank Capra’s style of film making is more interesting and meaningful then Alfred Hitchcock’. I think that film needs to be first and foremost about appealing to the good in human nature and a beckoning to make this world a better place. However, I think that Alfred Hitchcock’ suspense is loved by so many people for a reason. Suspense is entertaining and I have been learning a great deal through the way Hitchcock went about creating his films.

So this finally comes to the blog title, Suspense Vs. Heart. The title accurately expresses the difference between Capra films and Hitchcock films. However, I think good filmmakers will learn from both styles of film making, for good films have both suspense and heart. We as filmmakers are essentially entertainers, our job is to keep the audience interested in the story we are trying to tell . It does not matter how powerful of a message we have if we can not attain and keep the audience’s attention. Suspense can often be a powerful tool for holding attention. We need to give enough information for the audience to stay on the edge of their seats and we need a good pay off at the end. Having our worst fears come to realization often creates a strong immediate emotion, however I feel that it often wears off after a short while. I think the greatest pay off is the kind that sticks with you. We want to build suspense and then give the audience something they will talk about later that night and remember for years to come. We as filmmakers should have ambitions to create emotions that go much farther then immediate shock.We need to create emotions that appeal to the heart, where we can start to break molds and create change.

I think entertainment is the best way to get a message across to a group of people. In all my movies I want to create stories and characters that people have not seen before. Both Capra and Hitchcock created the type of movies that were never seen before and have not quite been seen sense. You as a filmmaker want to create an experience that the audience has never had before. However, we must always remember why we are doing what we are doing. I consider film making to be about expressing images and ideas that go farther then plain entertainment. The filmmakers viewpoint must not just be dropped after the audience leaves the movie theater, our films need to appeal to the very reasons to why we live our lives. The greatest type of films are the ones that stay with us and change us. In order to get those kind of films we need both suspense and heart.