Fear is always with us, whether you are aware of it or not. Fear is part of our DNA. From surviving ice ages, hunting sabre tooth tigers to war. Fear is part of being human.
Walt Disney said, “Children love to be scared”. It’s why he put the old hag in Snow White. Boys were turning into donkeys in Pinocchio and pink elephants on parade in Dumbo. Children responded to it, and in many ways, Disney’s mantra can be expanded to encompass big kids, like ourselves.
Ever since the dawn of cinema, the one genre that has always been profitable has been horror. Horror films have dead rising from the grave; people transform victims chased by monsters. Horror brings our deepest darkest fears to life and puts them on the big screen.
Real World fear
Away from the cinema, the modern world doesn’t provide us with many fears. On a subconscious level, we want to be scared. All western civilisation offers is anxiety. More concerned with social status rather than a real existential threat. Modern terror could be running late for an appointment or not being able to pay off a debt. These are concerns, but they are not life-threatening.
The threat of radical Islamic terrorism may be in the back of our heads. The odds of you experiencing terrorism are small. It would be more realistic to worry about being hit by a bus than a bomb.
I experienced more terrorism growing up in Belfast. The Drumkeen and Forensic lab bomb blasts were near my house. Still, I was never concerned about being blown up by the IRA.
I don’t like heights, not because I might fall more because I may jump. My main worries are a very first world. Will I ever have enough money to buy a house? Will I ever make enough money and will I ever do any work that will be good enough? The first two fears have simple solutions that I know the answer to, save more money.
Terror creeps it’s way into my head. It’s not a case of if but when. I’m still trying to figure out what to do when it does.
I made a film seven years ago and had been trying to follow it up since. I have been trying to get better as a writer. Working with people and getting to know my equipment when it comes to filmmaking.
I realise at the back of my head that it’s not to get better at filmmaking, but it is to insulate myself from the fear. It has taken me seven years to come to terms with the fact that you are never fully protected against fear.
All I need is the air that I breathe
Fear is like carbon monoxide. It’s odourless and invisible that slips in through the cracks. Before you know it you have suffocated. The analogy is terrible and doesn’t work because there is the aspect that most people get wrong.
An emotion isn’t carbon monoxide it’s part of the air that you breathe. In trying to avoid the panic, you end up choking yourself out when what you should be doing is breathing it in. At least that is what I am trying to do. Come to the realisation that I have to embrace the fear.
The fear itself can be comforting. When I am close to the end of a script, the fear slips in to have a few words with me, impart the information that all I have done and ever will do is just not good enough.
That dread then proceeds to tell me that it is OK to put the pen down go and watch a movie or eat rubbish. Doesn’t matter I’m a normie with delusions of grandeur. The fear is my normie inclinations kicking in to remind me of my place. For the past seven years, I have been listening to that fear.
Writing this is part of the first step of breathing in the fear. You may be reading this and think to yourself, who is this for, it’s for me. By putting myself out there, I am trying to get rid of the comfort fear and breathe in the new concern. I want to replace the fear of starting with the fear of keep on going. It may come out imperfect, but if I wait for things to be perfect, then it’ll just be me with the comfort fear.