My passion is movies.
To be honest, my appreciation for films was kind of inevitable, because I grew up around them. My Mom works at the CIA, (the college, not the spy agency), and she teaches a number of classes, one of which is a film class. I often ended up watching the movies with her as she taught her students . There was a period of time when my favorite movie was The Three Ages. While other children watched Dora, I watched Clint Eastwood westerns. However, I digress. The point is, not many kindergartners can say they’ve watched The Searchers. And in first grade, when all of the kids in my class wanted to be veterinarians or astronauts or whatever other ludicrous fantasies occupied the minds of my fellow six year olds, I had one dream: To be a movie director.
I didn’t want to be just any movie director. I wanted to be an auteur, like the Coen brothers. I wanted to incorporate colour scheme and attention to detail, like Wes Anderson. I wanted to create delightfully impossible plot-lines in the perfect, quirky little way like Miyazaki. And with expectations as high as these, I figured I needed to start as quickly as possible.
For a while, I made only not very serious, not very well planned, and not very impressive home movies. Various documentations of everything from my family’s camping trips to my brother pretending to be a ninja powered by almonds crowded my mom’s old desktop, and for a while, I didn’t really do anything important. I was not the Coen brothers. I was not Wes Anderson. I was not Miyazaki. I was just a kid with a camera.
Then, I was introduced to the mystery genre.
My Mom told my brother and I one night that she had a movie to watch for her class. She said it was a mystery movie, but it was very slow, included a lot of tiresome dialogue, and took some paying attention to understand. That movie was Murder On The Orient Express. It was part of a series about a short, egg-shaped Belgian detective named Monsieur Hercule Poirot, one of the more genius creations of Dame Agatha Christie. Although she professed to despise her arrogant, brilliant little creation, he was an instant hit when she first wrote about him in The Mysterious Affair At Styles, published in 1920. Anyway, Murder On The Orient Express enchanted me, and before I knew it, my Mom had ordered loads of other Agatha Christie films–I quite literally devoured Ten Little Indians, Miss Marple, and, of course, tons of Poirot. I read the books, watched the films, and memorized Poirot trivia for fun. I was, to be quite frank, obsessed.
Anyway, it didn’t take me long to realize that I could combine my love of film-making with my love of mysteries and make a mystery movie. I spent loads of time writing a script for a mystery about a woman named Miranda (played by my cousin) who’s baby daughter (played by my cousin’s doll) is kidnapped. After spending a week working on the screenplay, my actors quit to play tag after a few minutes of filming (of course, they were only seven and five years old) and it ultimately failed. I made quite a few screenplay, but they were never really what I hoped they would be. Also, they never quite made it past the revision stage.
One Christmas, however, my parents got me a Chromebook and suddenly I was inspired to write a screenplay for a mystery about a woman who had a winning scratch off ticket, and invited some friends and family over to celebrate, including her best friend from high school, and her friends husband, who also happens to be a detective . . . I’m not going to say any more about the actual plot, but I was impressed with myself. The screenplay ended up being sixty pages long, and following the minute per page rule, (which basically estimates that each page on the screenplay will end up being about a minute long), it would be about an hour long! I called it “Scratch Off.”
This was only about a year ago, and now, I still haven’t actually began to shoot the movie or anything, but I have made a documentary about the water crisis and submitted it to a film festival in San Francisco, and if I win, I plan to use the prize money to buy real film equipment so that I can make quality films, like the ones my Mom shows me.
Movies are truly, for lack of a better word, my passion. I hope that someday I will be able to be a professional filmmaker, although right now, I’m still a long ways away from being even remotely similar to the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, or Miyazaki.
Because when it all comes down to it, that’s all I am: a kid with a camera.