Who the hell are you and what the hell are you doing?
These are two questions I recommend asking yourself daily. They are much harder to answer than you’d think. I will attempt to answer these questions the best I can, at least insofar as they pertain to filmmaking. So here it goes.
Who the hell am I?
I’m not going to bore you with a biography; of no use to anyone. But I do think it’s good to find out where I’m coming from, as opposed to just trusting that I know what I’m talking about because I convinced someone to let me write for this website. I’m going to let you in on a secret: I very rarely know what I’m talking about. But, any 20 year-old who claims to know what he’s talking about is a liar. So at the very least you know I’m not that.
I’m a third year film student at Johns Hopkins University. I spent my first year here discovering that I wasn’t going to make a student film that would change the world. Even if I believed a student film could change the world, I didn’t want to make it. I spent the first half of my second year asking myself what kind of filmmaker I wanted to be. I spent the second half of that year deciding that was a stupid question.
I made my first short film last year. It was a three-minute ghost story, but in reality, it really was just an excuse to drown someone in a tub on film. And since I am an overachiever, in the span of three minutes I drowned not one but two people. Was the film great? No. Was it bad? No. Was it a lot of fun to film? You bet it was.
It was so much fun, in fact, that I sought out an internship as a cinematographer’s assistant. So for the next three months, getting up at 5 a.m. for ten to sixteen hour shoots became a way of life. The food was bad, the hours were long, the pay was nonexistent, but the experience was invaluable.
What the hell am I doing?
I have no idea. I’ve got it in my mind that I’m going to make a movie this semester, but right now that’s about it that is set in stone. At the moment, I’m at the glorious stage in the process called brainstorming.
Now, everyone’s process for brainstorming is different. Mine involves taking about six-dozen half-baked ideas, throwing them against the wall and seeing which ones stick. Then I take those ideas, throw them in the oven and let them cook a little while longer. After that comes the taste testing. This is when you remind yourself how terrible a cook you are. Out of all the ideas you’ve sampled, there is going to be one that doesn’t make you want to vomit. That’s the one.
The rest of these journals will deal directly with the writing, planning, shooting, and editing of this short film. It will be an adventure. Until next time, enjoy this picture of a cat.