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___ I admit it, I often have a hard time dealing with my everyday existence. In some strange ways, everything seems sort of unreal to me. It's as if I yearn for life to be more than what it actually is... I always seem to wait for something great or extraordinary to happen to me. But nothing ever does. At least, nothing that seems out of the ordinary in my eyes. And there is a root to that twisted perception I have on life... Television.

In what way you may wonder? As I've already explained before, I was shun by my peers very early on as a kid. Consequently, I had to find a new alternate reality to take refuge in. Therefore, I became totally addicted to television from a very young age. I would follow any drama series, sitcom and sci-fi program available to me... And even though there is nothing wrong with that usually, in my case, it gradually distorted my perception of reality.

I was a very sensitive child, absorbing everything around me like a sponge. Therefore, I was influenced by television in a very profound way, probably more than most people. And even though I have learned to put things into their proper perspective as I became more mature, the impact it had on me is indelible. Progressively over the years, I have become blase about everything and nothing seems to faze or suprise me anymore in my real life. And television is a big factor in accentuating my depressive tendencies.

When we watch a television program or a movie, we become voyeurs of someone else's story. We get to spy on some slice of life completely fake and unreal. What we see on the screen is carefully concocted, scripted, endlessly rehearsed and meticulously perfected. We see sanatized ficticious people, often unbelievably good-looking with gorgeous bodies (except maybe for those character type actors...), going through carefully crafted and scripted situations. Those synthetic entities are inhabited by actors who spent countless hours learning lines written by someone else and blocking their movements for camera angles. They rehearse every gesture and voice intonation endlessly, doing take after take of the same scene until the director gets the right copy of it on film.

And then along with the director, you have a full team of people like producers, movie and television crews working very hard in unison to build a new universe in accordance with the script. They are all part of a vast machinery whose sole goal is to create this completely synthetic universe that will tell the story. Thus, showcasing the tribulations of people who don't exist doing things that couldn't possibly happen in real life. Nothing that happens on television could ever take place. At least, not in such a perfected way. And all the while, we as watchers evade our own boring reality. Television is not bad per say but it can create unrealistic expectations about life.

As you may know, I am a complete techno freak and worship that type of music. One of my favorite formation is called "Orbital" and a while ago, I heard a song they composed for the soundtrack of a movie called "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio who bombed at the box office in 2000. Anyway, I am such a big fan of Orbital that I will get my hands on any song they dish out. The song in question is called "Beached" and some of the lyrics it contains is absolutely right on target as to how I feel about television and the movies in general in relation to my own life:


You hope, you dream but you never believe that something's gonna happen to you.
Not like it does in the movies...
When it actually does, you expect it to feel different...
More visceral...
More real...
I was waiting for it to hit me.


I remember when I was much younger how I had fantasies about becoming a star. I would envision myself up there on the big screen, living what I imagined to be this completely wonderful, opulent and surreal life. And now, many years later, here I am. True, I am nowhere near what you could call a real star yet but still, I have realized some of my childhood fantasies.

And yet, everything happened so gradually and I had to work so hard to get there that I slowly got used to it all. Sadly, nothing about it seems amazing to me anymore. In a way, only a couple of years ago, it would have been mind-boggling to imagine myself appearing in a movie in something else than a very limited role. I had a lot of small parts and extra work on television and some movie productions but in those instances, you are lucky when you get even half a second of exposure in the final cut... And now, I am entering a new cycle where I shoot movies on a regular basis. So, why don't I feel more excited?

I was a very avid consumer of movies for a long while and, up until a couple of years ago, could never imagine the day where I would see myself appearing in one. Just the fact that I could be "up there" would have been completely unreal to me. And yet, here I am. And the lyrics of that song haunt me because they express precisely how I feel, especially the last sentence: "I am waiting for it to hit me...". In essence, I expect it all to feel more than real, more than what I'm used to, more out of the ordinary. But it doesn't.

I am surely not the only one who has been deeply affected by television. Haven't you ever wished you could meet the perfect mate, completely suited to your needs? Or maybe act like some hero, kicking ass left and right without too much damage? Have superhuman powers like Neo and Superman? Be able to come up instantly with the perfect witty reply to some verbal attack? Live in some gorgeous surroundings, never having to worry about money and doing anything you please while looking like some human doll, perfectly made-up and lit to appear strikingly beautiful all the time?

When I was very young, like everybody else, I wasn't really aware that what happened on television wasn't real. I mean, for me, it was more true to life than reality which was a complete nightmare from very early on. I would watch "The Bionic Woman" and wished I had her superhuman strength. I surrounded myself into the Bewitched universe, fantasizing I too, like Samantha Stephens, could transport myself anywhere I wanted to by a single snap of my fingers. By the way, I still fantasize about that one to this day... Scary, huh?

I also followed several Soap Operas in my teens like "Days of our lives", "Another World", "One life to live", "The Young And The Restless", "All My Children", "Guiding Light"... I was a real TV junkie for a long time and proud of it. With their convoluted storylines and stilted acting, Soap Operas are the epitome of how fake television can be. They mostly feature incredibly gorgeous people who suffer through one ridiculous shenanigan after another. Evil twins, people rising from the dead, kids who grow up in a matter of weeks... Nothing is too farfetched in terms of storyline for those kind of shows.

Well, at least they don't pretend to be anything more than what they are, eye candy. But on the down side, they also fed me a very false image of what romantic love could be. By watching them repeatedly, I was under the impression that I would eventually find someone to fall head over heels in love with me and would make me feel like I was the only man on earth, with devouring passion and endless romance. Talk about unrealistic...



I was also fascinated by video-clips very early on, which were in their infancy in the early 80's. Eurythmics, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode... They were all precursors to the new kind of very hi-tech videos we see nowadays. In a video-clip, we see an artist in some scripted situation and endlessly choreographed dance "routine" that will last only a few minutes on screen. We sometimes forget it but they can practice for months on end for a single choreography. The singers then lipsynch their song with perfected images flashing at us, forming a visual imagery in relation to the music.

This had a tremendous impact on me from very early on. Video-clips are essential to me because they give a lot of information to our brains in a very short amount of time. I am an often impatient man and always have this sense of urgency. I also have the kind of mind that needs to be fed fresh information constantly otherwise I go completely nuts. My brain is a powerful instrument in my favor and I thank God every day he gave it to me but it constantly needs to get stimulated with new data. It's as if my mind constantly yearns for new experiences.

All those beautiful images flashing at me with some exotic music stimulate my brain like no other thing can. And I love them to death. They are also responsible in me wanting to become an entertainer. It is because I wanted to be up there that I started to forge my way into adult stardom. Even today, watching video-clips from some musical act gives me intense pleasure where I get to escape my everyday life and absorb this new fantasy land.

I started this project called "Utopia" which is my first shot at directing. And here I am, knee deep into it and realizing that as a watcher of the fantasy, I wasn't made aware of all the hard work it takes to create those beautiful images with special effects. And now that I'm working on it every day almost a year into the creative process, it became a job more than ever. But such a gratifying one that every second spent is worth it.

Because of my fascination with video-clips with very fast editing, I always had fantasies about seeing explicit sex in a fast-paced motion. But to the best of my knowledge, it doesn't exist anywhere. So through the rise of my career, I eventually got the proper means to do it myself. My fascination with video-clips will never cease and, the faster it goes, the more I like it. Somehow, it shows me a new world where everything seems unreal, enchanting and perfected. A place that I know doesn't exist if only through some piece of technology but that somehow seems more real to me than my everyday existence.

And a video-clip gives me exactly that with perfected images flashing very rapidly telling a wonderful story all intricate and highly dense with imagery. I still watch them all the time and over the years, they unlocked my creative process in terms of movie-making since I was yearning to create them myself for the longest time. It wasn't enough for me to appear in regular porn movies where the editing is usually not the primary element. I wanted to exist in that alternate fantasy seen on television every day that seemed so much better than my own life.

"Utopia" is an extremely important project for me. It is my first chance to tell the story my way. And a big part of my editing style was unfluenced by the video-clip era. The story is shown through varying images (dance segments, acting bits) in very rapid flashes just like a video-clip from any pop stars. And since many images go too fast to be completely seen at the first viewing, they can still evoke the hint of a parallel story stored somewhere in your imagination.



But video-clips can also have some side effects. Because we are all so used to seeing them on television, we often forget just how synthetic what we see in a video-clip really is and how long the protagonists had to rehearse to create such perfect effects. The reason why it all looks so flawless is because a video is an ensemble of images which are condensed, through editing, into a few minutes of carefully-selected footage shot through many months. The danger, when we're bombarded with those false images is that we come to expect the same from ourselves or worse, from people in our lives. Sadly, no human being can achieve that sort of perfection at the spur of the moment.

And all this television watching, even though it helped me pass the time and gave me many hours of joy, fundamentally altered my perception of how my life should be. Even to this day, when I am in a social setting, I expect people to act like they would in some television show or in a movie: coming up with just the right line instantly, looking their best all the time, reacting in some synthetic and perfected way to everything... True, this is not a healthy way to look at reality but unfortunately, it is something very difficult for me to change.

The depression I have been going through for many years is partly related to that very fact. I finally have to admit to myself that life is not a movie script and things will never happen the way it does on the big screen. I will never meet my perfect mate which will be consumed with intense passion for me. I will never experience all the things those fictitious characters in that parallel world on the screen go through.

I will never know what it feels like to live in a gorgeous mansion, driving very expensive cars and doing what I damn please whenever the hell I feel like it, looking perfect even in the morning and without bad breath, never having to worry about money... I mean, even the actors portraying those fake entities don't live in such a perfected manner. I guess we all wish we could do that but such is the power of television. It somehow mirrors to our society some alternate reality impossible to attain...

And you know, I can certainly understand the success of that breed of reality-based shows like "Survivors", "Fear Factor", "Cops" and "The Osbournes" just to name those few... I think it's simply because people are tired of seeing fake people in fabricated plots and situations on their television screens. They are yearning to see beings more like themselves, acting in a realistic manner and doing things that are not always dictated by some script. But just watch it, through time those reality shows will become just as planned as regular television shows and sort of manipulated by producers because let's face it, pure reality is never that interesting unless a bit spiced up.

As I have already mentioned before, I hosted several television shows over a three year period while in my twenties. You can see below a few pictures of my hosting days... I remember once while I was in the studio during the taping of a show, having a sudden realization about the television-making process. As I was waiting to shoot my own segment, I watched the other host interviewing a guest. And as I would compare what happened in reality right in front of me to what would appear on the television monitor, I was amazed at how different it looked. The lighting and camera angles can really transform a moment of life into something out of this world.

When I watch my own image on a television screen, what I see personally is someone who looks like me, talks like me but in some alternate reality, outside of real life. Television has a way of glamorizing everything, making it more interesting and mysterious than it actually is. It was a funny feeling seeing myself at first but I got used to it and after a while, it slowly destroyed my illusions about television.



You know, what triggered me to understand a lot about life in general was through the Internet and more specifically, in relation to my web site. If you are under the age of 25, you never really experienced life without the Internet as an adult. I have. The cyber world we are creating, slowly connecting every computer in the universe, is completely revolutionalizing our society in very profound ways, much like television did when it was launched in the early 1950's.

When television sets became available to the general public some fifty years ago, people of the time had no idea just how much it would change their lives. It was one of the greatest inventions of the 20th Century. But sadly enough, also one of the most destructive. It started to inject our society with perfected images and situations, processs which had begun through the movie world decades before. But this time, unlike in the movies where people had to go in a theater to view them, those images would be available anytime and anywhere but most importantly, for free and right into their homes.

Many television shows made their debut in the 1950 and 60's and some of them would become classics. Like "I love Lucy" (with the queen of comedy the brilliant "Lucille Ball"), "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (with Mary Tyler Moore who would get her own show in the 1970's) and "That Girl" with "Marlo Thomas" just to name a few. They were part of the first batch of television programs to succeed in the new medium. And they started to present to the general public this new universe populated with perfectly sanatized people in synthetic situations. The effect of that phenomenon would become extremely important in shaping our culture.

The Internet has deeply rooted similarities with television. But it is much more powerful in many ways that the tube could ever hope to be since it allows us to exchange files and communicate with anyone else in the world. It is like a giant web (thus the name), eventually connecting every home in the universe at some point in the future. It offers the user great possibilities and is not a passive tool like television. But sadly, it also possesses some of the same faults.

It also injects into our society an endless parade of images of perfection. Flawlessly structured and muscular bodies, chizeled faces and flawless skin on people who look more like aliens than real human beings. And it might sound funny to you coming from me. After all, my face and body have now graced countless web sites and even some magazines. And I've had plenty of experience in front of the camera. So, in essence, I have become one of those perfected people we see everyday.



One weird thing is that, when you become a part of that giant fantasy world, you realize just how unreal it all is... Those are images, nothing more. When I look at myself on the many pictures featured on countless sites all over the net, it is always a somewhat disturbing experience. Sure, I must admit that I am very photogenic and look great in most of my pictures. Honestly, I never felt I was good-looking (still don't...) even though, in my mind, I know I am. But when I look at my own image in some altered representation of my person and I have to admit that I can look amazing.

I never saw that beauty in the mirror frankly and had to view myself through those images to realize that I am what our society considers a sort of handsome man. But since I am also aware of everything involved in the creation of that imagery, it refrains me from becoming vain about my own image. Because that is precisely what it is: an image of myself fixed in time.

That representation of me is frozen in some flattering pose, with carefully crafted lighting and some concealing make-up. So in essence, it is a "perfected" version of me. Sure, I still look a lot like that person you see in those pictures because they were all taken recently. But what will happen when I am much older, like say at 60? Or even at 50? Will I be able to come to terms with my new physical entity at that point?

Those images of me will stay beautiful for perpetuity while I will grow old like everybody else and I admit it is a disturbing feeling. I think it is the reason why so many artists have such a hard time with life, many of them being self-destructive through drugs and/or alcohol. Somehow, when an image of ourselves gets imprinted into people's consciousness, we start to worry about the day when we won't be able to meet people's expectations about the way we look.

And it makes me sad to realize that by looking at all those perfect images of gorgeous people, they will feel the need to live up to that, not realizing just how fake and unreal it all is. And fashion is probably the guiltiest culprit in this phenomenon. When I think about young girls starving themselves to death to fit into a size 2 dress and conform to what our society has now declared beautiful, it makes my heart bleed...