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Andre Breton described the surrealist aesthetic as always being in the service of the marvelous.  After editing a version of the “abduction scene” in my father-son movie project, ‘Alien Trance,’ I realized just how child-like (in the best sense) one must be in order to serve the marvelous.  In other words, I really dig the seven-year old aesthetic.

Basically, the way this project works is that my son Jack, who is seven, creates the story and provides advice on shot selection and editing choices, and I film it and edit it in iMovie.  While I do the technical stuff, he makes the final editorial decisions.  After we film some scenes together I load them into the editing software and play with them until I have a number of choices to offer him–different camera angles, wide shot, medium shot, ambient music, etc.–and he chooses the ones he likes best.

What I’ve found is that he is often disappointed in the scenes that I find the most “artistic,” preferring instead to go with something more over-the-top “dramatic.”  For Jack, and most seven-year olds, a good story is bigger than life, and it has to punch you in the gut, otherwise it isn’t any good.  Subtlety is for grown-ups who have forgotten how to dream.

To be continued….