“I will never be able to love you the way you need to be loved, because I will always love you too much. I will always feel too much, and I will always be distracted because there is too much happening and I can’t focus on anything, because I’m trying to love everything all at once, and that’s absolutely impossible.”
I’m pretty sure less than ten percent of the population of the planet can actually grasp those thoughts, and I’m very sure only a small percentage of that ten percent can actually feel their weight. And I’m not sure if the term “Emotionally Autistic” has ever been coined, but here it is. It seems a bit contradictory. And no offense to folks from all walks of life who are Autistic. They’re some of the finest folks there are. In fact, we all fall on that scale in one place or another. Some of us take up random chunks of that so-called scale, here and there, and make up quite screwed up humans such as myself.
On my end of the emotional spectrum there’s not enough said about feeling things too much, and I’m not talking about empathy. To me empathy isn’t enough. So, maybe using the term Autism may be a bit off base, but I do not mean it in any unkind way. I’m trying to perform a polarization of sorts, because when I feel I don’t feel just a little – the same way when someone with Autism may just lack any feeling at all.
In short, and in no exaggeration, I’m what people would call an “extremist” when it comes to my emotions. A lot of the time people use that word in a pejorative manner, and I can see why, especially thinking in the spectrum of the political. My emotional range is like watching Will Ferrell’s character from ‘Elf’ on Christmas morning to ushering a Ku Klux Klan member through a Black Lives Matter march. And while that may seem a little bit humorous to think about, I have to realize that this type of emotional behavior, this ebb and flow of such polarities is not within the normal spectrum of human emotion. I may hide it well sometimes, but I cannot emotionally exist in a state of a middle ground anywhere, or so it seems. For some reason my mind tells my heart that it has to feel one way or another. This struggle will be the root of my undoing.
This is reflection. This is acceptance. This is understanding that I just simply can’t function as a normal human being in those normal human being ways. Everyone is asking, “What is he writing about? Is this about a girl? Is this about some simple thing just blown out of proportion?”
Firstly, this is about me. Secondly, this is not about a girl. I know a girl who utterly loves me very much, with her whole being, but for some reason can’t bring herself to be completely open to it in this world, in this time, in this particular expansion of the universe. I could never ask her to. That’s something she has to do for herself. Thirdly, yes. The way I process a thing is to blow it out of proportion. Again, there is no middle ground with my feelings, and that’s a problem.
I’ve been alive on this planet for forty years, and it’s all been such a culmination of disappointment. And you can get out your nifty little calendars with your nifty little motivational sayings on them, and you can talk all you want to licensed psychiatrists, and you can have people tell you that they love you (even if they haven’t made any real effort to tell you that for years), and it all just runs this gamut of noise – because that’s ultimately what it all is, noise. Noise. Noise. Noise. And after a while the sound of that noise, for someone who feels like me, just becomes too much to hear, and you become too tired to listen, and stabbing out your eardrums just isn’t enough to make it go away.
Over the past seven months I’ve really seen things for the first time, looked at everything in a way that flowed against how selfish and self-absorbed I’ve always looked at the world. I am such an ugly human being, but some people are able to change you for the better like nothing you’ve ever even dreamed imaginable, like something from a long-forgotten storybook from eons ago, like something before when death made time.
There are still things to be done. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again, and I want to let go of so much of the noise, deafen myself to the shit, the worst of it, and I’m trying to find a way to do that. I am not a human who can function normally, but everything will be okay.
Copyright (C) 2017 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.
In light of my upcoming fortieth birthday, I’ve decided to sit down for a few moments and reflect on what it actually means to be forty – or if it actually means anything at all.
On Turning Forty – by Matt Croyle
To everyone who is under forty, I am now going to be “old.” Isn’t that the case, or at least how you’ve always felt when looking at someone who is forty? They’re old. Well, if that means I’m now going to be “old,” I should probably learn to embrace that fact.
It’s not easy to welcome, I can tell you that, but it’s inevitable to anyone who has actually survived their teens, twenties, and thirties. There were honestly times when I didn’t believe I would. When you’re a teenager or twenty-something, you’re indestructible. You did all of these crazy, out-there things because half of us at that time hadn’t really learned what real loss was yet. We heard about people dying from doing a bunch of stupid shit, but half of us never had anyone close actually go out and die from some dumb activity that resulted in tragedy. We may have heard about a friend’s friend who got killed by a drunk driver, or that one kid at school who blew his brains out, or that girl who overdosed, but for half of us it didn’t touch us – and so we did stupid shit that only the innocent, fearless ones did. How we survived, I’ll never know.
In our twenties we loved too easily, and we’d take things for granted way too much. We were worried about what society thought of us, what our family’s view of our own choices was, where we would be in ten or twenty years according to some grand plan we had for ourselves, and we never really learned that those things could hurt us. So much of our lives are spent on worrying about how we’re viewed by others, and for others, that we never really learn who we truly are.
Somewhere in here, some of us have children and some of us don’t. Some of us get married, and some of us never will, and some of us failed miserably at it.
Our thirties is a time of reflection, a time to look back on our twenties and wonder why that marriage didn’t work out, or why we turned down that job in Boston, or why we didn’t take a chance on that person who really wanted us – and as Vonnegut would say, “And so on.” For most of us our thirties hold those ever-important times where we’re truly disappointed in some of the choices we’ve made, or have failed to make at all.
It’s all different – life – for each of us, of course, as we come from a variety of backgrounds, geographies, cultures, and socioeconomic upbringings, but there’s something about living in America, from the latter part of the last millennium into the early part of this one, that binds us with similarities in our lives. I think it’s up to us to reach out to one another when we see those commonalities, because if we don’t then we miss an opportunity to connect to someone, anyone, anywhere, at all.
So, now I’m turning forty, and now I look back at this from the middle – and I say “middle” because I once wrote that we get eighty years on this planet if we’re lucky, and that’s totally true. In 2017, this year, the projected life-span of a white American male like myself is only seventy-six years. By those calculations I have more behind me than ahead of me. So, what does that mean? For me it means the following:
While it’s not difficult for me to connect with someone a decade or more younger than me, I do find that I have a slightly different perspective than they do – one I just stated: There is more of my life behind me than in front of me. To someone in their mid-twenties or younger, the possibilities ahead of them are endless. Anything is possible. Anything can be achieved. Why? Because they have time to be patient, time to figure it out, time to do it all. They have time to get done what they “plan” on getting done. Me? I’m just going to go do what I plan on doing. I don’t have time to waste. I wanted to make a movie, so I made a movie. I wanted to launch a film festival, so I launched a film festival. I wanted to express how I felt, so I shouted it to the world to hear.
These decisions are a product of perspective that one can only have by embracing their mortality, knowing that life could stop at any moment. At forty I don’t have the luxury of making long-term plans anymore, because I’ve ultimately learned that plans never go exactly the way you want them to and they’re never set in stone. You cannot predict the outcome of anything in your life, and that’s what makes it so scary, and exciting, and worth every extra second you can get.
I’m very sad to say that neither of my parents are alive to see me reach forty, as I think that they would have gotten a kick out of how hard I’ll surely take it.
I had a conversation with my father about a year before he passed away, and we discussed at length about self-perception as it relates to age. He explained to me that when he looked in the mirror he didn’t recognize the person staring back at him. He felt like himself, he knew he was himself, but he just didn’t look like himself anymore. He saw this old man looking back at him, someone he didn’t recognize. And in some ways I feel the same. In some ways I still feel like that fifteen-year-old playing baseball, or that twenty-four year old on his wedding day, or that twenty-eight year old watching his son being born into the world, or that thirty-seven year old releasing his first feature film, or that thirty-nine year old rediscovering that he’s actually able to love again after years of bottling up his emotions.
I will continue to be those people, that person, but I think it takes accepting I am ALL of those things that makes forty not seem so bad after all. This birthday, for me, will be a celebration of the many times I’ve started over in my life when plans never went as expected, a celebration of the many roles I’ve played in this life so far: Son, brother, husband, father, friend.
I want forty to be a rebirth, a new me, a new chapter, a new story. One that doesn’t waste passages or words, one that moves people, and one that finds a way to move toward an ending that eventually resolves. And I think if we all see it that way, then forty doesn’t have to be scary. It just has to be us.
Copyright © 2017 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.
At the Oil Valley Film Festival, their mission is to bring the voices and films of new and established filmmakers to the heart of Venango County, an area underrepresented in the world of film. Located in Oil City, Pennsylvania, and nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, attending the Oil Valley Film Festival will grant you the experience of watching engaging cinema within an intimate community with a rich history.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
A: Well, we’re only a year in. This year is year two, but I think we’re heading down such a great future track as far as what we’re capable of providing for filmmakers. The “in competition” selections not only get the notoriety of being selected as just that, but each selection is in competition in every award category. Every screenwriting entrant receives an updated copy…
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Op-Ed by Matt Croyle, Writer and Filmmaker
I’m not surprised to see a lot of people online screaming and crying for peace, and for non-violent protests to things they don’t agree with. In today’s America it is hard to fathom war, or moreover, revolutionary violence being used for any purpose. This is an America which has swept its social issues under a proverbial rug for hundreds of years, and with those actions multiplied their intensity exponentially. We see violent uprisings around the world everyday; uprisings for social, economic, and political change. And while Americans call for those changes, our own government doesn’t hear our voices. It keeps the status quo with the politicians it keeps in office. It militarized our local law enforcement organizations after 9/11, and enabled them to use excessive force without consequence. It passively speaks of real change in our nation.
As a very anti-war and anti-violence person, it is hard for myself to come to the realization that violence is becoming more and more necessary to incite the revolutionary changes our country has promised us, but has clearly ignored. As long as racism has existed, as long as class warfare has existed, as long as religious persecution has existed, as long as people have hated each other for their differences in sexuality and sexual preferences has existed, there has always been violence between peoples who shouldn’t let these issues come between them.
We are all Americans. We are a conglomerate of brothers and sisters descended from forefathers who started our great nation with a pliable declaration that these differences shouldn’t separate us. They should unite us, and make us different than any other nation on this planet. Our current government doesn’t want us united. They want us confused, frightened, and most of all submissive — and they will, and have, used every means possible to keep us ignorant to that fact.
This is not a call to arms, this is simply a call to clarity. This small, yet devastating, revolt in Dallas last evening was a result of people being tired and sick of being divided. And while I’m not condoning those actions, I urge you to clearly see it for what it was: revolt. And sometimes, without extreme acts of revolt, which may include unfortunate violent deaths, a revolution cannot truly begin.
As many of you know, I wrote, produced, and directed a feature film entitled “Potential Inertia” that is readily available worldwide. What you probably don’t know is that there’s a whole lot going on in the film’s story that you most likely didn’t catch.
Aside from the character of Willie mysteriously disappearing from the narrative shortly after the third act starts, I explored a lot of voyeurism which you see taking place on the screen. It’s, a lot of times, something we don’t often think about when it comes to watching movies, but ultimately as moviegoers we’re actually becoming voyeurs ourselves by the simple act of watching a film. We’re peering into the lives of those characters on screen and they have no idea we’re doing so.
Not only do we become voyeurs, but the characters themselves show their own personal voyeuristic tendencies throughout my narrative. For example, there is a brief moment of our main protagonist, Declan (and I use that term loosely, because one thing I tried to do with the film is blur the line between the classical protagonist and antagonist by actually making them the same person,) looking at his own sister’s chest during the bar sequence. It’s subtile, quick, but it’s there. It’s also a moment of foreshadowing to a later scene. It wasn’t intended to foreshadow, but like many happy accidents it works. Later in the scene, Declan and Kevin gaze across the bar at Katie with different points of view about why she’s there. They’ve placed themselves into her moment without her permission – Declan wondering about her motives, and Kevin confident he knows them yet still a little interested if he’s got them figured out.
Randy, our hopeless romantic, pines from afar for Sarah, who is ultimately revealed as the entertainment for the fraternity party scene, notices the “cute little dimples in her shoulders” instead of looking at the obvious woman parts every other fraternity guy is gazing at. Voyeurism runs deep in the situation of stripping for a living, with a stripper giving as much of herself as she can visually with minimal physical contact. It’s a strong, intimate act to allow yourself to show people physical parts of yourself which you normally wouldn’t show without being intimate in the first place. Yet Randy makes this voyeuristic act two-fold by taking the moment to notice something even more intimate – shoulder dimples – something you normally wouldn’t notice unless you knew every part of someone’s body, someone you’ve had an emotional bond with. It’s a revelation for him that is both sexual and emotional. Yet, for some reason, when he reveals this revelation to Jacob, we as a voyeuristic audience giggle at his discovery. Whether we are laughing because it seems outrageous that he even noticed something like that, or we feel like an uncomfortably guilty audience because we were staring at breasts, we have to admit to ourselves that either way we enjoyed the situation.
And that’s why we inadvertently all become voyeurs, because we feel this intrinsic need to compare our lives with others’. A lot of times that comparison is born out of the want to see others fail worse than we do which, in turn, makes us feel better about ourselves when that occurs.
There are more instances in the film that display voyeurism, but I won’t spoil the fun of watching it so people can find out what those instances are.
Our lives are full of voyeurism. Embrace it, but be aware of it. Watch a movie and enjoy it.
Copyright (C) 2015 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.
OIL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES IN 2016
(OIL CITY, PA) The first Oil Valley Film Festival will take place September 1-3, 2016. Based in Oil City, the festival is designed to bring the voices and films of new and established filmmakers to the heart of Venango County, an area underrepresented in the world of film.
The festival programming will include feature and short films in competition, along with feature-length and short screenplays in competition. Day three will feature a hand-picked block of curated filmmaker to screen in exhibition, all leading up to the awards ceremony on Saturday night.
“We’ve already received submissions in each category from all over the United States, and a few Internationally, and the festival is still a year away,” said Matt Croyle, the festival’s director. “As a filmmaker myself, not only do I want to continue to make movies here, but this festival seems like a way I can use my passion to share films with the community – films they may normally never get to see in a multiplex. This is about starting something that the community can really get involved in and get excited about.”
The festival is currently in search for partnering venues, and has already partnered with Videomaker Magazine, MaddyG TV on ROKU, and the Oil City Library.
“The Oil City Library is a gem. We’re really happy to have them on board. Dan Flaherty and his staff are doing great things with that facility, and I couldn’t be more proud to have them be a part of the festival,” Croyle continued.
More information about submissions, corporate sponsorship, and general inquiries can be found at: http://oilvalleyfilmfestival.weebly.com
OIL CITY / TITUSVILLE, PA – Locally produced feature film, ‘Potential Inertia’, already available for digital purchase worldwide, will be added to programming on the MaddyGTV Roku Channel beginning on October 1st. Roku customers worldwide will be able to watch the film for free. Potential Inertia has screened locally throughout western Pennsylvania, and recently at the Boonies International Film Festival. The film is directed by Matt Croyle, and stars Matthew King and Sarah Shawgo.
MaddyGTV is a locally owned Streaming TV Channel on the Roku Service. Headquartered in Titusville, PA. MaddyGTV has been offering the best independent films and TV shows since 2009 and has grown to become one of the premiere free channels on Roku, serving over 2 Million Viewers a month.
Roku is a free Streaming TV platform, available everywhere with the ‘Roku Box’, a simple device that connects your television to your internet connection and delivers over 2,000 channels, including Netflix, Hulu and Crackle. MaddyGTV is available for free in the Roku Channel Store worldwide.
Please contact us for any pre publication inquiries at:
One Fish Films
509 Hiland Avenue
Oil City, PA 16301
914-848-5313 – Production Cell
For Information about MaddyGTV
Director of Programming
408 May Ave
Titusville, PA. 16354
Snooty. Snooty? Snotty. Snotty? Snob. Straight up, indie filmmakers get enough flack from the rest of the world for their career choice. They shouldn’t have to get it from fellow indie filmmakers. Bottom line. Hands down.
When someone decides that they’re going to take on the venture of making an independent film it’s pretty much like deciding to build an ark. There’s no “easy” way to go about it. The process has many pitfalls and problems that the team will have to face with the production process. However, the one problem that indie filmmakers shouldn’t have to put up with is fellow indie filmmakers not supporting them along the way.
Having made my first feature, which took two-and-a-half years to complete, it has become apparent to me that an already “established” (in their own minds, at the very least) group of American indie filmmakers seem to only want to pay attention to the stuff that they and their friends work on, or what some people call “faux-indie” — projects with way bigger budgets, that are outside of major studios. These are the folks who have worked on or made a few films, and have somehow been able to corner the American Internet niche on indie film-making. They’re the ones who run all of the most popular indie film websites, who seem to have all this expert, formulaic advice on how to make an indie flick. These folks are the people who cover all of the “indie film” news and reviews (except yours, because you’re not friends).
There is a problem here. The problem a lot of truly independent filmmakers face is getting their stuff out to the public. And the problem is that if they don’t have a huge marketing budget, if they’ve (let’s say) made a flick for ten grand and have nothing leftover to actually show people there’s a film someone may want to watch, then the only way they can do that is to use these “indie film” sites. Sure there’s the festival circuit, and word-of-mouth, but those two things don’t guarantee you getting your film out there en masse. But, there’s a catch. These sites will only watch your film if you PAY THEM to, and even then you’re not guaranteed they’ll even mention it anywhere. Are these people actually filmmakers, or are they just out to bamboozle you out of your money so they can keep up their profiles as “supposed” experts in the field?
Here’s a question: Why can’t these people be both filmmakers and Internet entrepreneurs? Kevin Smith does it. Granted he’s not really in charge of writing reviews for others’ films, but you get the point.
The solution comes to me as this:
It is imperative, as artists, to be supportive of other artists — especially when working in the same medium. Someone may be well versed, and book-smart, in film theory, but they may have never made a fucking film in their lives. They have no practical experience. Those people? They need to shut their fucking mouths.
Those of you who run large “independent” film sites? Loosen the fuck up. We understand you’re probably making your living from selling advertisements and charging people just to watch their film, but if you are really “indie” filmmakers then you’d make time for the guy that just shot a black and white feature in a week for two grand. People have to start somewhere. And, please remember that YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING. I don’t. Nobody does.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I CAN SAY TO INDIE FILMMAKERS IS THIS: Don’t be a snob. We’re in this thing together. Introduce yourselves. Help promote each other’s work. Work for free because you love it (if it isn’t what you’re trying to make a career of). Hold a light or a boom. Talk to each other online and over coffee.
Too often we think of ourselves as “better” than someone who is trying to accomplish the same things we are — to make a film that is meaningful to people. If you’re not in it for that reason, you’re not in it for the right ones.
One Fish films has launched its latest project on Hatchfund for funding. ‘Circle, Michigan’, an hour-long television pilot, is looking to raise $2500 for its initial production costs.
The follow up to Croyle’s feature film, ‘Potential Inertia’, ‘Circle, Michigan’ will also shoot in Venango County, Pennsylvania.
All contributions are tax deductible. For more information, or to make a pledge, please visit: http://www.hatchfund.org/project/circle_michigan_one_hour_tv_pilot
In life we have certain experiences that change who we are, our being, our inner selves, that sculpt who we ultimately become before we take our last breaths on this planet and venture past the unknown threshold of death. And they’re not just major experiences in life. They can be the smallest of things which build our character, break us down, make us hate, make us love.
Love: there’s a affliction for which there seems no escape. No matter our youth or age it will find us in the strangest and most unlooked-for of ways. The most recent era of my life has mostly been free of it. I searched not for it in hopes that I could elude those dreaded times that when falling asleep, and waking, my thoughts were consumed with another human being, longing for them, wanting to be holding them in those moments, wishing beyond all hope I didn’t feel like that because I was too frightened to speak of my feelings, my needs, and my hopes.
It has, again, found me. And while I’ve tried my best to sneak away from any thought or moment in which it would reveal its face to me, it has found a way to do so in the guise of someone I wished it not, someone who is very dear to me. Unfortunately, love does not care for your opinions to whom it entraps you to. It simply exists, and you must accept that you succumb to its power – for it is the most powerful force I have ever known, and to think I can be stronger is a waste.
So, here I am – an unfortunate soul to which love has revealed its face, again, in a person I wish not to lose. However, love has a way of ruining things for me. Because with love breathes jealousy, and with jealousy comes hate, and with hate comes destruction, and with destruction comes death. In turn, love breeds death. Love and loss are so intertwined that one can simply not exist without the other. And it is this knowledge that rips my heart out knowing that if I act on this love, choose to move forward with this feeling, it will ultimately be my downfall again – whether it be immediate rejection, a building of a relationship only to fail, or death itself. Something will end this feeling, and loss is inevitable. The death of something so beautiful in my heart is already written, and cannot be undone.
I will go no further. Lennon once spoke of love being all that you need. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is not the case. Things other than love I have not to offer, and that makes love a more difficult task, as it already is with doomed outcome. So I pause, in hopes that it will eventually diminish in the absence of with whom my heart now lies. Treat it like a death, without it having lived out its natural course. A tragic moment that never had a chance to blossom to fully live, only after such beautiful seeds had been planted in just a few short years. An enduring Winter. A Springtime that will never come.