Hold On is a short film directed by Charlotte Scott-Wilson that tells the struggles of a young cellist named Kyra. She undergoes a misstep in her performance one night and that leads to a pit of self-doubt that she throws herself into in order to rationalize her mistake. The film centers on both the benefits and the draining quality of having a creative career.
The beginning scene of the film is really interesting because it’s a series of shots of Kyra preparing to perform. She puts on mascara, conceals a part of her skin and looks in the mirror. This whole sequence is her focusing on her appearance. It’s hinting at the importance of how she is perceived by a public. With artists, a big part of the creative experience can become perception and the opinions of others. However, there is a difference between welcoming feedback and relying on approval/criticism to dictate what comes next on the creative journey.
In Kyra’s case, she allows her mistake and the backlash of it from the audience to prevent her from growing as an artist. She becomes ruled by fear and holds back. She begins questioning her skills and falls apart during rehearsal. I loved that scene because in the background there is this wild arrangement of violin music that makes the scene seem like a nightmare. That’s interesting since the sound of the violin should be a comfort to Kyra. Instead, here it works to make her setting chaotic and noisy. She feels overwhelmed and needs to get out of the room. The mix of sounds was a clever idea because it reinforces the idea that she can’t escape failure. No one can escape failure, but especially with a creative career it’s impossible. Failures actually happen to be the best way to overcome challenges though.
Another great shot was when Kyra was lying on her side and there is the close up of her face. Her eyes are completely filled with pain and sadness. I didn’t see it as overdramatic or excessive. That moment felt so real and the actress did a remarkable job of projecting that feeling of being lost. When the one thing you’re so sure of and that you have an immense love for, is taken away, your heart breaks. It’s the same in Kyra’s case because playing the cello is her passion and it was taken away from her by her own insecurities. That makes her confused about her skills, but also broken up about what comes next. She can’t seem to grasp what else to do because she can’t get past the failure.
I related to this film on many levels as someone who also lives a creative lifestyle. I write fiction, I draw and do a couple of other things that would be considered artsy. The thing is that I do these things because I have a passion for them. Living out that passion every time I write a story or create an art piece is an inexpressible sensation. It’s a gift to be able to physicalize emotion and I do believe it’s something we’re all capable of. It isn’t really about being good enough, at least not for me. It’s about taking what you’re feeling and making it a part of the world and sharing it with other people. It’s an incredible feeling, but I also understand how that pure talent can turn into a nightmare. If I get good feedback or if I decide that I’m trying to attain a specific level of success, then pressure starts to build. That pressure can weigh down the unique, freeing quality of creativity. When that happens, you lose touch with why you were creating in the first place.