Growing up I had a fascination with movies. I saw Star Wars in a drive in. I was three. It may be my first vivid memory. I recall thinking the planes and actors and all that was going on was happening just behind the large white sheet in front of me.
I remember there was a film made in 1981, a horror film where all these people were killed in the strangest way possible. Honestly, I just found the name of the movie. I have googled and yahoo-ed, I even asked Jeeves years ago. Couldn’t find the movie. Just now, found the name.
Happy Birthday To Me. That isn’t a statement… it is in fact the title of the movie.
It is so very bad. I watched the trailer and sure enough, it’s the one.
Somewhere in the midst of all that I also pretended to be the characters of the short lived television show Emergency. I’d make calls on my toy walkie talkie and my sign off was 10-4 to dobby dot. I also loved Wonder Woman and would run around the house pretending to be Linda Carter. My dad thought that was strange. I wasn’t thinking about her gender… she had a golden lasso and an invisible plane. Who wouldn’t want such things? I was fascinated with moving pictures and wanted to do anything I could to be in them.
Then I saw E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future and The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I saw directors who I identified with. I saw pieces of art and somehow knew I wanted to be a part of that fraternity.
I remember seeing a “making of” episode of Back the the Future 2 and as I listened to Robert Zimekis talk about the production I understood the depths he had to go to in making this fun, futuristic movie work on a satisfactory yet groundbreaking level.
Then in the early nineties I sat in the back of a crowded theatre after the trailers had finished to see “Schindler’s List” directed by a man I had always associated with fun and fantasy turn my world upside down. He touched my heart and convicted my soul with the heart wrenching visuals, unsettling dialogue and haunting music.
I remember watching the Academy Awards the next year as Clint Eastwood announced his name for best director and everything in me jumped as he accepted his award and thanked his mother sitting in the audience.
My mother had, up to that point, discouraged me in following those footsteps. And rightfully so. She knew me better than I knew myself.
Now, years later with more life experience I am heading back that way. I just finished shooting a feature length documentary about a dear friend of mine. I am in the planning stages on two more documentaries, three web series and a feature length film.
I get to have conversations about camera angles and casting and budgets and whether or not it may rain on the 21st of January in Leiper’s Fork, TN because the convertible top HAS to be down.
I have found my voice… At forty years of age.