Getting the Bug

introspection 5 comments

It probably all started with Star Wars.

That’s the first time I remember, at least — coming home from Star Wars, at the impressionable age of six, with all those images burned into my brain, from that huge starship screaming into view at the beginning onward.  I already had the basic idea of how movies worked — I knew what I was seeing wasn’t real, I knew the starships were models, the Death Star was a set, and, as I tried in vain to convince a kid on the playground, C-3PO was a guy in a costume, not a real robot.

So I already knew that somebody made movies, that they didn’t just happen.

But that was the first time I can remember coming home with the desire humming through my veins — That.  I want to do that. I was up that night way past my bedtime, making X-wings and TIE fighters out of cardboard and straws and tape.  That was where it started, right there, that night.  The wish to make something with my hands that would end up in front of a camera.

Next time, I want to talk more about what it’s been like having that in my blood ever since, but right now, I want to ask you all, our fans and my co-creators alike — if you ever wanted to make movies, when was your moment?  What was the movie that gave you the urge?  Do you remember?

Posted by   @   March 9, 2011 5 comments

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Mar 9, 2011
1:57 pm
#1 Ralph Fontaine :

I wish I could track the exact moment that I decided I wanted to make movies like that. Instead of such a clear awakening, I had more of a slow realization that what would make me happiest in the world would be to bring stories to life. I wanted to act from a very young age, but for a long time wanted no part of the technical or business side of movie making. I guess at first I just wanted to be handed a forum in which to show off. As I got older and actually entered the industry, I started seeing that (contrary to what I thought when I was younger), actors are mostly not very highly regarded in Hollywood. At best they are humored if they’re powerful enough to demand it. At worst, they are treated like disposable non-entities to be placed and forgotten. I saw that many smart actors who I respected went into producing and directing, and figured that I should find out more about those things. Directing especially captured my imagination-one of the best feelings in the world was when I directed my first short, and saw a whole group of people actively engaged in bringing my vision to life. It was exciting, and humbling, and I wanted to do it more! So I guess that was the moment…I was about 23 or 24, and I knew that from then on, I wanted to learn as much as I could and expand my professional abilities beyond acting and into Directing so I could help bring more visions to life.

Mar 9, 2011
3:36 pm
#2 Carolynne Wilcox :

I am a little embarrassed to say that for me, it was E.T., and I was 11, cried my little heart out and empathized with Elliott throughout the movie. I thought Henry Thomas was such a good little actor, and I totally wanted to be one too, make other people laugh and cry. That’s about as conscious as it was at that point!

Mar 9, 2011
9:17 pm
#3 Zach Klinefelter :

I can very much sympathize with the “Star Wars” moment. While I wasn’t lucky enough to be alive when the first film came out, I did see all three when I was young many times on VHS- but having at least seen the Special Editions on the big screen, I can attest that it is a different experience seeing “Star Wars” with a crowd and enlarged, with proper surround sound. I think the first film that impacted me to such a degree that I was “catapulted” toward filmmaking was “Jurassic Park” in 1993. I was 13, a good age to see it on the big screen and be impacted by its visual majesty. Oh, it’s not a perfect film. But it hit me the same way, it seems, “Star Wars” was able to when it first hit screens. I’d already been doing home movies when I saw it, so the path had already begun somewhat. Add in the fact that I geeked out on dinosaurs long after most kids stopped thinking of them altogether, and “Jurassic Park” pretty much owned me when it came out. The film and the book captured my imagination.

The decision to make was, do I become a paleontologist or a filmmaker? Eventually it came down to the fact that in all likelihood, I will never see a living, breathing dinosaur, brought back to life through genetic engineering. Yeah, it could happen. But not like what I saw in JP. To do that- to see the closest thing possible to anything from a spaceship to a dinosaur- I’d have to make movies, period. Dissecting the “Making Of” book helped me greatly in breaking down the basics of filmmaking, as well as detaching myself from the sheer hypnotic effect the film had on me… and well before the second JP film came out, I was making films in high school and not looking back at paleontology. Since then I have acted in many independent films- more than I’ve directed- but I suspect my ability to act is more of a handy byproduct of my experience in directing and a love for film. I prefer the pressure of directing to acting; my hardest times as an actor have been just sitting there, waiting for something to happen while keeping the inspiration alive. It’s a completely mental and sometimes nearly static task that can be very demanding in it’s own way, and it’s a totally different challenge from directing.

Of all cinematic openings I wish I could have seen “Star Wars” the most. I think “Jurassic Park” is a very good film, but in all fairness the visual power doesn’t kick in until the 20 minute mark. “Star Wars” sweeps us off our feet with the very first shot, and that in itself is a remarkable achievement and a generational moment I will always wish I had been a part of.

Mar 11, 2011
6:07 pm
#4 Glynis Mitchell :

Thanks for sharing, Zach! I saw JP in the theaters, too, and it was badass for a teenager.

It’s good as a director to also be an actor. It certainly gives you perspective and a common language, which in my experience on both sides (and as a playwright/screenwriter) helps immensely.

Mar 12, 2011
12:32 am
#5 Zach Klinefelter :

I think when I acted for the first time in something I wasn’t directing, it was very revealing. I’ve been directed poorly, directed well, and sometimes not directed at all. All quite a change from being the puppeteer, let alone directing + acting simultaneously… and so perhaps my perspective on directing has evolved more via *not* being in control.

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