The Best Is Yet To Come, He Said

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-11-11 07:00:00-05:00 No comments

Akira Kurosawa is reputed to have said that whenever he is asked which of his films is his favorite, he replies, "My next one." A phrase I've taken to heart.

I've mentioned before how I can't bring myself to start a project if I don't feel like I could spend literally every day with it for the next umpteen months. I keep the number of likely projects in that vein as high as I can, so that when one is done I can turn to another likely candidate and set about developing it as quickly as possible. The less downtime wasted groping for what's next, the less downtime wasted, period. And in every case I can think of, the new project becomes the receptacle for everything about the just-finished one that I didn't do, or couldn't do, or chose not to do.

Right now I have two big candidates for what to work on after Unmortal. The first is called Absolute Elsewhere, and it's an attempt to dust off the old SF trope of "what if we had teleportation technology", but with some, uh, surprises in the approach. The other is Shunga-Satori, a project so greased-pig I can't even describe it properly yet, and therefore am doomed if I try to write it.

Of the two, S-S (maybe I shouldn't use that abbreviation...) stands as the bigger break from personal tradition. If there's one thing I can say about it, it's that it's not an adventure story. Most everything I've done has been in the mold of an adventure, because I like to move things fast while at the same time give people plenty to chew on along the way. S-S is more like "late Cronenberg dark drama", if I had to put a label to it, without any adventure element at all. A major changeup; a total example of how this is not at all the same kind of thing I just finished.

The contrast between types of projects is healthy, I guess. I get to stretch my legs and wings in directions they've not gone in quite some time. But for that to happen in the first place at all, I need something like a functional story, not a disconnected set of yearnings with some vague label. It doesn't matter how healthy the impulse is to change my pitch up if I don't even know what I'm throwing at. I'm prepared to wait as long as needed to make that happen — yes, even if I write a bunch of other things in the interim that are very much Infinimata A (the fast-moving stuff you know and love by now) while figuring out how to pull together something Infinimata B (the mavericks, the one-offs, the High Weirdness).

I don't think I would be unhappy, or feel as if I had done myself a disservice, if all I wrote from now until the synapses stop firing could be classified as an adventure of one kind or another. Everything I sit down to, I sit down to because I really, really wanna do it. At the end of the day, I do this stuff because I've settled on the things I know I'm going to enjoy, and that flavor is one of the ways I make it enjoyable for myself. ("A movie good enough to eat" was how Kurosawa pitched Seven Samurai to his cohorts.) But I am also only able to enjoy what comes out in that mold if I also know there's something irreducibly of me in it. Not merely the things I've chosen to emulate.

Tags: Akira Kurosawa Shunga-Satori Unmortal creativity future projects