“In times like these, a protagonist needs to rely on his principles.” This opening line forms the basis of Chicago-based singer songwriter Willis Earl Beal’s new animated short film Principles of a Protagonist (premiered via Nowness). Following the protagonist himself, Beal, through his sparsely sketched life as he watches a storm unfold over his city via cool, detached screens and conjures up his immediate environment through imagination and rumination, the film spirals around the idea of constructing your own environment, and of how to live properly.
These are ideas that Beal has obviously been dwelling on for a while, as he told Australian site themusic.com.au back at the end of last year, “I felt like my back story was promoted entirely too much and I don’t feel like people have a clear idea of what my aesthetic is and what I can do musically and artistically. I think people have their ideas all based on what they read on the internet. You’re always going to be your own biggest critic, but I just feel like I haven’t done what I really wanted to do….I’m trying to get out of that dark tunnel and it’s hard when you’re exposed to a bunch of strangers and they tell you whether you’re valid or whether you’re not valid – it’s frustrating.”
The film also contains several hints at the blues man’s next project, ‘Nobody Knows’, which according to his website is due on the 10th September 2013, and will hopefully be his second full-length album for XL, giving him the opportunity to display more of his undoubtable musical and artistic talents.