SARATOGA SPRINGS — Think about four years. What have you done in four years?
Some of us have switched jobs. Others have earned degrees. Some of us have lost weight, while others have gained it. You might have been married, divorced, had kids, been dumped by a boyfriend/girlfriend or even came out to the world.
Very few things are constant over four years. A local filmmaker’s latest film is the documentation of a project that took that long.
Shaun Rose is a native of Saratoga Springs. He’s made several films throughout his life; his latest, “Making and Unmaking,” came out in December and is the journey he took while creating his award-winning film, “Upstate Story.”
The beauty of “Making and Unmaking” is the simplicity. The screen opens to a young Rose talking about centering a project around his real life because if the film tanks, what does that say about him? As a fellow creator, I know that fear. To spend any amount of time on anything creative, whether it be a story, a film, a book, even a speech, is to inherently insert yourself into the fibers of that creation. Creatives don’t create because someone is forcing them to. In the depths of their heart, creatives produce because it’s in their nature.
“Upstate Story” took Rose as long to put together as Stephen King took to write “It.” Various talking heads with Rose and his loved ones show the grueling care it takes to make a film, even one that is mostly made with the camera person’s own hand. Every single scene is thought out. If a character looks to the left instead of down, there’s probably a reason for that gesture and an even bigger reason why it’s shown at all. Movies are stories done with film; the face and body have to convey what words are not able to. Movie stars make oodles of money because they understand the nuances that come with performance. Rose shined a light on this in “Making and Unmaking” by showing the grueling takes from a failed project, “Summer Daze.”
The film also examines the various personal plights and plots of Rose’s personal life, including the birth of his son, a stroke he had in his work parking lot and the demolition of a relationship before his current one. Despite the constant lobs to his side of the net, Rose keeps “Upstate Story” in the back of his mind, as cameras filming footage of what would eventually be “Making and Unmaking” document the journey. He’s kept the monologues on his MacBook and his camera equipment on call. While he’s pondering if he and his current girlfriend want a child of their own, he’s willing to put “Upstate Story” on the back burner but spoiler alert, he’s never ready to kiss it goodbye.
His passion proves valid; he’s recognized by several entities for the finished product of “Upstate Story.” “Making and Unmaking” documents the awards ceremonies and the different times he stepped on stage with his kids’ drawings, bringing them along spiritually.
Perhaps the most powerful part of “Making and Unmaking” lies in that final scene; as he prepared to shave his “superstition beard” that he grows during each project, he tells his family the beard tradition breaks now. The kids chomp at the hair with scissors before Rose cleans up what’s left. Just like that, “Upstate Story” is the past, with “Making and Unmaking” taking center stage. Because despite the dedication Rose had to his project, all good things pass. It’s what you do next that makes the future.