The Motivation Song (what drives you?)

Posted: June 26, 2013 in Documentary
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Recently my friend Libby – AKA The Hobby Hoarder – asked me if there was a song I often turn to for motivation while working on projects. She was compiling a list for her blog, and wanted input from the people who had helped her along her hobby journey last year (I taught Libby the basics of welding back in November).

It was an interesting question; something I had never really thought about before, but definitely something I did. Each new project tends to bring with it its own group of songs I find myself playing over and over again (usually tied to the music I’m into at the time of said project). I mulled the question over, and settled on “Nightcall” by Kavinsky (featuring Love Foxxx). Then came the hard part, she also asked me to explain why…

(In all honesty, I debated posting this to the blog. It’s a bit meta and I felt a little silly after writing it – probably because I’m a grown man in his mid 30’s taking inspiration from a song in a Ryan Gosling movie… but I digress. Libby convinced me it was worth sharing, so hear goes. Below is the bulk of the email I sent to Libby yesterday. *Edited to clean it up a bit.)

I first heard the song while watching the movie “Drive” with Ryan Gosling. I had just started working on my documentary, and in the beginning, it was going to be much more of an uplifting film. I hadn’t even thought about tackling any heavy issues / conflicts within myself, and wanted to show mostly the uplifting or “overcoming” aspects of my story / disability.

It sounds corny, but something clicked inside me when I heard “Nightcall” sitting in that movie theater. The song, coupled with the idea of the lonely driver – who’s essentially a good man, but has some dark demons he’s trying to hide from / escape, really resonated with me – because that’s how I’ve felt about myself for most of my life (post accident).

I’ve always had a passion for music, and really identified with / attached personal meaning to various songs over the years, but the dissonant tone of the beat, coupled with the lyrics, just stirred something up inside me. It made me realize in that moment, that I had to go places I hadn’t wanted to ever go before… push myself to explore all the negative feelings / thoughts I’ve ever had about who / what I was – and my “disability” – on camera.

The lyrics bring a certain ambiguity with it:

“I’m giving you a night call to tell you how I feel
I want to drive you through the night, down the hills
I’m gonna tell you something you don’t want to hear
I’m gonna show you where it’s dark, but have no fear

There’s something inside you
It’s hard to explain
They’re talking about you boy
But you’re still the same”

Within the context of the movie – you’re not really sure if the song is speaking positively or negatively about the character (and you really still don’t know if the character is good or evil by the end of the film). It really gives way to the whole antihero thing. In a lot of ways, I fell in love with its duality – because again, I felt like this myself. In the context of my film, I feel like the lyrics represent me, talking to myself (the older / wiser post-documentary Jay, speaking to the pre-documentary one), preparing him for what’s to come.

There are things I have accomplished in my life that I should be really proud of – and some could look at it as the whole “overcoming” thing – but at the same time, I constantly feel like I haven’t accomplished enough, or pushed myself hard enough. I feel like these internal demons (thoughts / feelings) really weigh me down. But I realize now that many of those feelings come from the very thing I’ve been running away from (or chose not to face / explore until now). I don’t know if my internal conflicts have helped to drive me (no pun intended) all these years, or if they’re standing in my way of something bigger.

And in the last line of the song “But you’re still the same” – especially now, thinking about it in the context of my film, rings true to me. Because I’ve realized after openly discussing many of the issues I struggle with on camera (and watching myself talk about these issues in the 3rd person on my monitor), have made me realize that no matter what, I was, and always will be, the same person – just hopefully with a better understanding of what it all means in the end…

Throughout the process of my film I’ve played the song over and over as a source of inspiration. Every time I listen to it, it still gives me the same motivation to dive deep into uncharted territory within myself.

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