When social networking sites like FaceBook or MySpace work, in my experience, they work like actual social networking - you could call it "friendship" - has always worked. It's mostly a matter of borrowing friends.
Salt Lake City filmmaker Trent Harris and I are at the beginning of a mutual cultual swap, facilitated by FaceBook, that brought this extraordinary painting of his (and his film Beaver on DVD) into my home this week. He had received from me my sketch of his friend (and actor in his films) Stefene Russell and a couple of CDs I have produced.
Stefene, rather than Facebook, is the real connection here. When Stefene and I were in the earliest phases of our initial culture swap, seven or eight years ago, she came described to me (by yet another mutual friend, as these things go) as someone who could have been a cult film star or maybe even a film-film star, had she wanted to be.
That reputation came from her starring role in the Trent Harris film Plan 10 from Outer Space. I would finally sit down and watch it when I was making my own film, Blind Cat Black (featuring Stefene Russell, of course). Really, Plan 10 only depressed me, because it was so far advanced in concept and technique compared to my amateur moviemaking "skills", so I didn't reach out to Trent then. Jealousy is absoutely the wrong place to start a new friendship.
Then here lately Stefene and I were looking at the latest Poetry Scores Art Invitational, and she was saying I should really get to know Trent, and I was saying, yeah, we should screen a festival of his films and bring him to St. Louis, and she was saying, yeah, we should, and I went home, got my online friendship fix for the night, and there was Trent Harris on Facebook, presenting himself as my internet friend.
He said he liked my sketches, that was a surprise. I said I would send him one, if he wanted. He said, Sure! I'll frame it and hang it on my fridge! I sent him the sketch and some other stuff. By then he had uploaded on FaceBook some paintings I adored, and I admired them in online comments. I was most amazed and pleased to see one appear in the mail along with the DVD I had expected.
Now I will be mailing Trent a copy of the novel I wrote, a transgendered romance ghost story American Indian spiritual narrative expose of the disintegration of a reality TV show about an obese black rapper named Big Carb, and he will be sending me his original screenplay for a film about Charles Manson, based on his own extensive research, which extended into ... well, let me not spoil his stories. He has some great ones to tell.
I doubt Trent Harris can do anything with my novel, if I have been unable to do anything with it (other than to write it), and I doubt I'll be able to do anything with his screenplay, if he has been unable to do anything with it (other than to write it), but when you are burdened by these strange dreams and visions that induce you to write complicated novels and make twisted movies, it's good to have a little "social networking" with likeminded people.
It's good to have friends.