When I took out my tripod and set up the camera it never really sank in that anyone else would see what I framed in the lens. When I spent hours transcribing tapes and more hours writing scripts and more hours editing all that footage I never really believed anyone would see it.
I sat in common areas like the one I’m sitting in now in Nouadhibou, Mauritania and worked away in anonymity, at best a curiosity to the others in the room. “Oh you have computer,” a woman just back from the desert just said to me.
So it’s strange but fitting I guess that even as that thing I worked on relentlessly for 18 months finally meets an audience it doesn’t seem real to me that its happening. When “A Map for Saturday” airs on MTV tonight I’ll be lying sleepless under an open, cloth tent at the edge of the Sahara desert. I’ll probably be thinking like I was last night that I’d rather be home with my friends watching the show and having some beers.
I’m sending this from a dank, third-world internet café and though I’m traveling in a group through Africa, this weekend I feel some of that loneliness I grew so accustomed to on my yearlong trip. It’s not loneliness really but a sense that I’m missing my own party and there might not be another one.
But it’s true too that while I worked hard for the movie to succeed, I never made a decision based on what some critic or TV executive would say. I made it for me and did the best I could and promised myself that no matter how well or how poorly it was received I would remember that it wasn’t as great or as bad as someone else might say.
That’s an easy promise to keep tonight because no one nearby will be watching; there’s one TV channel here and its not MTV-Mauritania. But I’m posting this on the day my little movie finally airs in the U.S. because it stands to reason that as many people will find my blog tonight as in the 40 months since I started this project.
But I won’t even know if that happens either, because before the premiere finishes on the west coast the sun will be up in Nouadhibou and we’ll drive into the dunes, away from the internet, and back to the familiar routine of framing shots I’m unsure anyone will see.