Voluntary Gestures

May 18th, 2011

It’s not every day I’m asked to appear in a documentary. Let alone a film that explores the connection between Tourette’s Syndrome and creativity. And although I don’t let my having Tourette’s Syndrome define me, I was excited for the chance to work on a Tourette’s-related project with a talented filmmaker and artist from Toronto, Stefan Morel.

When we first discussed the project, it was clear that Stefan wanted to focus on the creative process, while Tourette’s would play a supporting role. This resonated with me because it was the same approach I had taken when writing Inklings. Yes, Tourette’s is a part of me, but it’s certainly not the first or even the fifth thing I think about when defining myself. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that I would be able to write, draw, and play music, if not for my quirky neurology.

Stefan and I spent nearly a week together. And while the experience was at times intense, Stefan set my mind at ease; not only was the experience enjoyable, I learned a great deal about myself in the process. Also, there were some amazing coincidences that occurred during filming—coincidences I’ll share later.

Still, it’s a bit surrealistic to see oneself in a film. I mean, it’s tough enough while in the recording studio, listening back to my vocals and guitar playing, but seeing myself so up close…especially seeing myself for how I really am. Not the guy holding in the tics, but sometimes letting go, letting myself twitch.

The film is part of a series for the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. And although the film is still in the editing process, you can see an excerpt here: Voluntary Gestures