The initial impulse behind The Complete Works was to create a series of filmic translations of Nichol’s work. The wide range of genres and techniques he worked with and the sheer volume of his writings made it a challenge to describe how the film would work, and even more difficult to storyboard. I knew the film would really emerge out of the process of working on it, however, in order to approach the arts councils for funding, I developed a series of design sketches.
In the end, over the 15 years of production, the film developed into a very different piece than suggested by my initial writing and visual explorations. The difference really stems from a shift in my reading of Nichol over the course of making the film. I became increasingly interested in the ways in which he used language and the formal aspects of the poem to encompass different ways of thinking and feeling. I became especially drawn to the manner in which his work implicates the act of reading and the reader in creating meaning in a text.