Lost in the Movies: Announcement: Considering the "Generations" video essay (& series) for the end of 2022

Announcement: Considering the "Generations" video essay (& series) for the end of 2022

UPDATE 2023: The project has now been delayed until later in the 2020s, once Journey Through Twin Peaks is complete. The rest of this post is the original write-up from 2022...

Yesterday I significantly updated my "Plan for Journey Through Twin Peaks" & more tracking page to reflect a new goal for 2022-23. The "Generations" video is something I've been discussing for months without quite formally announcing. Here's the description for that project:

Use found footage, popular music, and my own scripted narration to produce a video essay, ideally 10-15 minutes but hopefully no more than half an hour, surveying the "MAGA Meltdown" era (2015 - 22) through the eyes of each generation living through this period: the unnamed "future" generation (born in or after 2014), the zoomers (born 1997 - 2013), the millennials (born 1980 - 96), generation X (born 1963 - 79), the boomers (born 1946 - 62), the silent generation (born 1929 - 45), the greatest generation (born 1912 - 28), and the lost generation (born in or before 1911). The concept is based on my "Seven American Generations" post from several years ago, and would continue as a series in future years covering past seven- or eight-year eras through these same generations, at younger ages, alongside earlier generations.

Read on for more details (plus a status update on other work).

Background on the Project

For the past few years, I've been increasingly fascinated with definitions of generations and eras, and especially how those two concepts intersect. This is an interest that goes back to my childhood, but it's had an even stronger grip on my mind in recent years, presumably for reasons both personal (as I'm passing through my thirties) and politically (as the world and the country have undergone a series of massive events and wide-ranging phenomena). In late 2019, I published that generation post, which could have been the idea's final form. Of course, my image for the then-midway "MAGA Meltdown" era has already become rather quaint, since the biggest moments of that period occurred after publication - see, above, the five 2020-22 updates surrounding my initial illustration. And as time ticked on, my imagination kept drifting toward the idea of a short video covering the period we've all just passed through, with the broad and specific experiences of each generation as a structuring hook (according to my initial design, which reflects when certain generations reach certain eras, the present era which began in 2015 is set to end with 2022 when the youngest zoomer, or Gen Z or whatever - that's another story - turns twenty-five).

The future prospects for such a series are almost limitless, while simultaneously anchored by the mathematical precision of the approach. I'm fascinated by the idea of carving out these time-specific portraits and then detaching and reassembling them for different comparative purposes. How do two generations, who maybe never even overlapped, respond to similar life experiences in wildly different cultural contexts? What parallels emerge between generations who clash when one is in a position of authority and the other in a position of rebellion - much as the older generation was in its own youth? Where do dividing lines emerge not just between but among generations, both between people the same age and in the form of smaller chronological units therein? (For example, with the younger age groups I will probably focus on "half-generations" which neatly allows a single group to pass from eighteen through thirty-four within a single era.) As arbitrary as these distinctions and classifications can be, they give us tools to isolate, analyze, and experience changes and echoes over time, something I've always been quite eager to explore.

If "American Generations in MAGA Meltdown" comes through, I could follow up a year later with "American Generations in iWorld", the following year with "American Generations in Millennial Crisis" etc, moving backward through history at an annual pace alongside other projects until 2031 when the next era comes to a close and a new video can explore how millennials settle into middle-aged cultural centrality, boomers age out of positions of authority as X emerges in that spot, and the zoomers reach peak domination of the young age group, eighteen to thirty-four (a point already reached by millennials on the last day of 2014, Gen X in 1997, boomers in 1980, and so forth - you can see what I mean about the mathematical precision!).

This is all, of course, much easier said than done. Put another way, it's much easier to present this in the form of collages and a collection of statistics (which still took quite some time to assemble in that initial post) than it is to comb through hundreds of online clips while weaving diverse footage with samples of popular music and my own narration in a coherent fashion. It's quite possible, maybe even likely, that the concept just won't materialize into a concrete form, or else the process will prove too overwhelming and I'll have to abandon it or maybe even postpone it until later (2023 is the year when, halfway through, millennials officially pass the torch to zoomers as a majority of youth, so perhaps a later date will be more suitable anyway). But I want to give it a try.

Other Priorities

For now, at any rate, work on the "Generations" video is on hold until I finish my summer of Lost in Twin Peaks podcast episodes on season 3 (unless that project becomes too much to keep up with, in which case I'll pause it and then all bets are off on how I prioritize my work behind the scenes). That means around August or September I'll probably start exploring this idea in earnest, with the goal of publishing a finished video on December 31, 2022 on the final day of the epoch it's covering. But this won't be my full focus, at least not at first; I also want to keep balancing this work with my Twin Peaks commitments, all of which have to hit some hard deadlines or else I give up on them completely (aside from the last batch of Journey Through Twin Peaks videos, which will push everything else aside when necessary in 2023). The primary benchmark is that I want to be done with roughly 75% of both Lost in Twin Peaks and TWIN PEAKS Character Series (including that which has long been published) by the end of this year.

That means that by New Year's Eve, I should have re-edited (and presented in illustrated companions) my previously recorded podcasts covering all but twelve episodes of Twin Peaks, finishing my current work on season three and then wrapping up season two through the end of the Laura Palmer investigation (although those episodes will not be published until next year). And on that same date, I should have already written and/or revised character entries up to the top thirty (likewise, except for three advances each month for patrons, those entries will be held in reserve throughout 2022). If I've reached those points then I will be many, many months ahead of publication on these projects and the end for both will be in sight. I'll be able to guarantee resumption of Journey Through Twin Peaks in time for a mid-2023 release, ideally hitting the episode anniversaries that summer and in the worst case re-launching on the anniversary of the finale in early September.

If I'm not at that spot on either or both projects by the end of 2022, I'll finally raise the white flag wherever applicable. The remaining Lost in Twin Peaks episode will just be released in the form I presented them on Patreon (big audio files, usually one per episode, with no illustrated companions). And the existing character entries will be published as standalone essays rather than a complete project. Hopefully it doesn't get to that point, but some of this has been in the works for six years and I don't want to keep spinning those wheels indefinitely. Two days ago, I wrote my first full character study since 2017, a promising step but a small one if I want to write dozens more in six months. And I'm at least a couple days ahead on the Lost in Twin Peaks podcast once again, a relief however modest the achievement. Obviously the wise thing to do would be to keep grinding away at this work and not throw something new into the mix. And maybe that will be what ends up happening when I take my first stabs at the "Generations" video. Or maybe not. As I learned all too well with Twin Peaks, these obsessions have a way of taking over and sometimes it's wiser just take that passion for a ride and see where it leads.

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