Interviews, Books and More by Quanda R. Graves (Until).
This blog is a collection of the many things I indulge in with the written word. May you enjoy what I find interesting to write about. Thank you in advance for your support.
My name is Quanda R.
Graves and I am a journalist for the California Crusader Newspaper in
conjunction with Until TV and Exclusive Information Network.Thank you for allowing me
to interview you. ☺
viewed your short film “The Voice in the Head” and I found it to be a little
shocking due to the question that is posed in the beginning. Why that question?
“If sanity and insanity exist, how shall we know them” Why lead with that?
I think it’s an extremely fascinating question that can help us directly
confront whether these labels that we put on people who suffer from mental
health issues are a) correct and b) fair. Should we not assess the people who
are assessing and labeling people as having mental health issues to make sure
they are not suffering from them themselves? And if it turns out that they are
suffering from mental health issues but only differ in degrees only, how comes
they’re mental health issues are normalized whereas the ‘crazy woman’s’ mental
health issues on the train are not… That’s why.
QRG: Is it in your own belief that insanity and sanity go hand in
hand? Or that we are sane but if you’re not careful insanity can become our
reality? Just wanted to know your thoughts on this.
is Sanity? How do you define Sanity? Personally speaking I think 99.9% of us
are ‘insane’ and have a constant monologue running through our heads on a day
to day basis. The only difference is that a lot of us don’t verbalize it out
loud. Really that’s the only difference. I honestly think you would be in for a
big shock if someone close to you who by normal conventions isn’t classified as
suffering from mental health issues, but was told for one day that they had to
verbalize all their thoughts verbatim. That person would go from being
clinically sane to clinically insane in one day, and then back to being sane
the next day after the experiment is finished. Is that sanity?
is said that 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem, what
do you think contributes to this statistic?
a shocking statistic, but I suspect it’s probably even more than that… I think
there a multitude of reasons that contribute to making up that statistic (1 in
4), but with the advent of social media playing a more prominent role than ever
in our day to day lives, lets tackle this reason for this question. Social
Media is a perfect example of ‘A Gift and the Curse’. In one respect it allows
you to easily connect with people in foreign countries, stay in touch at the
click of a button, call people, find beneficial groups to join, etc. the list
However, at the same
time, if not monitored your social media can start to use you rather than you
using it as a tool. You start checking your Facebook Timeline when you have a
spare moment even if you didn’t have a specific reason to check, you start
“quasi-stalking” people by looking at their profiles, you start to compare
yourself to other people, etc. again the list of negatives are endless.
So I would implore people
to view Social Media as merely a tool, to use it for a specific task and then
put it down. Otherwise, it can take you over, and eventually contribute to the
increasing Mental Health Issues that arise within people.
understand that your short film was based on the true story from the book
called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. What inspired you to do this film?
at the time I went to hospital as my asthma was up and I didn’t have my pump
with me. And I was scared that I would be anxious while I was waiting to be
seen, so I took out my copy of ‘A New Earth’ and landed at the story of ‘The
Voice in the Head’ in the book. Once I read it, I turned to my friend Kassidy
Chaplin (Co-Founder of Moment 2 Moment Pictures) and said that this would make
a great short film and the rest is history.
to the feedback on this film. Do you feel great about tackling such a subject
that is quite sensitive and in some cases taboo to speak about?
the very inception of making a film, I only ever enter it from one of two ways.
First way, I hear/read a great story, come up with a great idea, and as a
result want to make the film purely because the story has inspired me to. The
second way and this is the approach I am naturally gravitating more to as I get
older is the first question I ask myself at the inception of making a film: how
can I make my audience more conscious? And I am not merely talking about making
people conscious of this issue or that issue, because humans as a species have
evolved over the last century to becoming more conscious this issue and that
issue. So what am I talking about then? I am actually talking about making
audiences more conscious, in other words more PRESENT through watching the
film. So the first question I try to ask myself now is what story (and how can
I tell the story in a way that) can help push audiences into a state of pure
consciousness, i.e. make them present. So to answer your question, I never set
out to make films to tackle sensitive subjects, it just so happens that
tackling sensitive subjects become part of the story in order to help achieve
the bigger goal of making audiences more present (conscious).
in the future for Cyrus Trafford?
things if I’m lucky, one for sure. I am currently in production on a short film
called ‘Lost to Rhythm’ that is a hybrid of animation and live action. At a
‘surface level' the film is about ‘Freedom of Expression’ but for me it’s
deeper than that, for me it’s about how to accept one’s own death in an extreme
limit situation, and again how that can make you feel at peace. Since I had the
idea for the film, and by the time it will have finished will have been 3 years
(I hope not longer). Because I don’t have the budget to hire more animators as
I am self-funding this, my hero of an animator Chandra Sekhar Poudyal is
hand-drawing it frame by frame. This is the one for sure that will happen.
Then I have two Feature
Films that I am looking to get off the ground. One is called ‘Amare’ which is
‘a coming of age’ story set in a U.S Prison, coincidentally enough in
California, and the other is called ‘Mujō’ which means impermanence in
Japanese. In respect to ‘Mujō’ we are actually casting the film at the moment
so I will talk about this a bit more as it’s a bit further along than ‘Amare’.
The idea behind the film originated in that most people intellectually
understand impermanence in that we live and we die, but nearly nobody has
actually realized that. What do I mean? Well there is a difference between
reading how to drive a car and driving a car, a difference between knowing the
path and walking it. Intellectually understanding something in most scenarios
is not liberating, but realizing something is. So I wanted to make a film that
through watching it, you REALISE impermanence.
So again this was the first
question I asked myself as per answer to question 5. Then the next step was to
find the right story to help facilitate the overall objective and that’s where
my brilliant screenwriter John Hörnschemeyer came in. The film is set in Japan,
and we are hoping to shoot next Spring in 2018.
QRG: What is your favorite pastime?
is going to sound incredibly lazy, but at the moment my favorite past-time is
probably talking to my friends over the phone as I really don’t have much time.
I do like a bit of tennis mind you, but not very good!
Trafford, thank you for allowing me this interview and now that it is done I
thought I’d share my views on your short film. Please see below:
“The Voice in the Head”
was very interesting and intriguing to say the least because I think most of us
battle with that question. What I love about the film is how you showed how the
young lady was basically between both worlds on opposite ends of the spectrum. She
was normal but in her own thoughts while the insane was also in her own
thoughts. Ye the normal found herself at one time or another unaware of
surroundings as well; dwelling in her thoughts and speaking out loud. Most of
us live this way and you captured it perfectly.
Quanda R. Graves
*A note from Mr.
Thank you very much for
your lovely thoughts and I am really grateful for the great questions you have
Look forward to seeing
the interview when it’s published.