MTSU’s Carson Brooks is a multi-talented individual: an award-winning essayist, a musician, a Certified Personal Trainer at Campus Recreation, a poet, and, in this case, a creator of video. The video was made for an Introduction to Literature class in which Carson was enrolled in the spring of 2018. In an accompanying artist’s statement, Carson describes his creative process:
“I created a video for Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem ‘Sometime During Eternity,’ a sarcastic critique of some of the claims made about the life of Jesus Christ. I used footage from several films, all religious in nature, as well as several images and miscellaneous clips from Google images and Youtube. I edited the video using Wondershare’s Filmora program on my Windows 10 PC, and I recorded and edited my music and vocal recital of the poem in Audacity. I enjoy witty poetry, the kind that encourages smirking and prodding elbows to the few among the audience that really ‘get it.’ Poets from the San Francisco Renaissance such as Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg connect with me in a way that most mainstream poets don’t, and ‘Sometime During Eternity’ set my imagination running with ideas for my video project.
“I decided early in the editing process to use Jesus Christ Superstar to fulfill my visual requirements of Jesus and his crucifixion. The orange color palette perfectly suited the “ancient” context of the poem, signifying the aging of time, and most of the video reflects that, with exceptions for contrasting blue visuals that are commonly paired with orange. I certainly took some intentional risks, such as the rapid cuts of the news anchors and the split-second reference to Saint Peter, but I believe that my visuals appropriately communicated the dark comedy of the poem.
“I decided late in the editing process that an urgent, up-tempo jazz number could hilariously interact with a vaguely Allen Ginsberg-modeled delivery of the poem. I spent many hours listening to bebop and hard bop jazz, a subgenre that I wouldn’t otherwise listen to, only to discover a track belonging to the original soundtrack of an anime called Cowboy Bebop, a format that I wouldn’t otherwise watch. Having spent time in the past as an at-home amateur in both video and audio production, I knew that I would have to tinker with everything to make it fit well with the duration of the poem. I cut the song into several pieces that I could rearrange and edited them on top of my vocal recording, cutting a tenth of a second here or there to make everything flow correctly and sound natural.
The use of sound and video effects came spontaneously during the editing process. I considered my increasingly Beat-themed project, with its conversational delivery and jazzy score, and realized an additional element of that San Francisco Renaissance aesthetic could be easily implemented. A few downloads later and some audio editing and my video presents a casually lit cigarette as its introduction. Around halfway through the video, I decided to chase an urge to emphasize the line ‘or at least 1947 of them, to be exact’ with bold, stamped text that spins into a doomed film reel that burns away into an image of Christ. It compromised the delivery of the poem, not quite agreeing with how the lines of the poem are formatted, but it flowed well. Exploring comedic timing through matching my visual and auditory elements was my goal, and I am pleased with the final project.”