A Portrait of Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac

Pictured Above: Neal Cassady (left) and Jack Kerouac (right), originally hand-drawn on canvas and framed.
Portrait courtesy of Reuben Godinez (Aug. 5, 1975 - Nov 14, 2009), of Napa Valley California
Currently and proudly displayed at the National Museum of Sean Williamson's Room

Short Film: On the Road: The Journey of Jack Kerouac

A Brief Analysis of the Original Short Film 'On the Road: The Journey of Jack Kerouac'

Disclaimer: Please watch the short film before reading the following Analysis!
              ‘On the Road: The Journey of Jack Kerouac’ is compiled with film clips from various road trips and photographs of Kerouac that attempt to emulate the Jack Kerouac's travels across the United States. With the approach taken in 'On the Road: The Journey of Jack Kerouac', it could alternatively be titled 'On the Road in 3:05.' It attempts to "Cram" the story and various symbolic aspects into the film; however, given the short amount of run time, the story can only be presented in its most general form. Although, this short film is no alternative, or compensation for a full read of Kerouac's classic, 'On the Road', it still touches the surface of the Journey of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty and, I believe,  somewhat effectively captures the "atmosphere" of the novel. The entire film is situated to the famous Jazz tune, "All of Me", by Louis Armstrong. Yes, it is a great song, but this music is intentional for the reason that it is a classic piece of music that is amongst the genre, which Kerouac constantly drafted his novels to. The odd tempos and complex chord progressions were commonplace to Kerouac writing environment, and many believe this is what allowed him to write 'On the Road' with such depth.
            Opening sequence was actually the first shot of footage I had ever taken with my camera. In specific, I wanted to show this clip for that very reason. I do have to re-state that this is not because I was trying to compare myself to that of the fantastic Jack Kerouac, or the On the Road's narrator, Sal Paradise. I decided to choose that shot simply because it was the start of my journey and interest in the field of photography & film, which paralleled the start of Kerouac's journey. Perhaps I am the only person who will ever understand the significance of that choice, but it was a personal decision and I believe that if it's a choice that impacts you, there's a greater chance it will "rub-off" on the others who are watching it. *Easter Egg* You can actually see me in the reflection of the mirror.
            Many of the other clips throughout attempt to advocate the idea of travel, all indoor clips and pictures of Kerouac try to represent the "resting places" throughout the novel. For example, in the first image of Kerouac, he is seen with a typewriter, which is supposed to show him collecting his thoughts and perhaps even drafting out a rough version of 'On the Road.' After a few more sequences of "rainy day highway footage", there is a clip of a teapot, which was intended to emulate the feeling of "comfort" indoors.
            Next, one of Kerouac's most famous quotes from 'On the Road' is then listed with the phrase "burn, burn, burn..." highlighted in red. Kerouac then continues by talking about "spider exploding across the stars." The next clip shows three candles burning (remember that quote from about three second ago? Yes, this is my attempt at foreshadowing). I did not have any footage of “spiders exploding across the stars” to represent the next quote, so I just had to settle for some boring footage of the moon. I think I like that more though, so I guess I’m just a pretty boring person…
            Anyhow, next, is a picture shown of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, the two “best friends”, during one of their long, drawn out quests for freedom and independence. After that is some random footage of a dog on a floor. Just kidding, the dog is actually supposed to represent the character, Dean Moriarty, from 'On the Road, or in real life, Neal Cassady. They say that the dog is man’s best friend, and in a sense the character Sal is a representation of man and man’s stride to achieve the “American Dream." Dean is Sal'd best friend in the novel, so quite simply, the dog is supposed to portray Sal’s best friend, Dean. As in the novel, Dean is then abandoned by Sal, or in this case he abandons Sal (since the old pooch walks away on his own). Finally, Sal then returns to the Road, alone. In an attempt to mimic a ‘Taxi Driver’ style “loner feel”, I filmed a sequence of dissipating lights during a nighttime car ride.
            In retrospect, this is kind of an analysis of a summary of ‘On the Road”, so if you haven’t actually read the novel, I would suggest doing so right away. If you haven’t this has probably confused you, so to satisfy your curiosity, and to appoint you to one of America’s “Great Authors”, I suggest that you run to your nearest library and read ‘On the Road’, immediately.

Yours Truly,
        Sean Andrew Williamson