A Fond Retelling of the Story of my Film-Making

An Essay By Gary // 3/31/2005

Filmmaking is my passion. My camera is my tool for spilling out my thoughts and dreams. When I read a history-book or novel, I often think about a certain event’s or story’s possibility of making a great movie. That’s how my mind is structured, in frames and cuts, camera moves, and special effects. I often find myself acting out scenes from my conceived films. My life revolves around this art form, this media, this fervor of mine.

It started awhile ago, when I was six or so. My friends and I would make our own “blockbusters”. I made Noah’s Ark and of course Robin Hood and a Ninja Fight Hordes of Invisible Baddies. I was the star and my Mom was the camera-woman in many of our videos. We would make short shows for when my Dad came home from work, leaving a little note on the VCR which read “hit play”. Then, it was a fun game; the subject of my videos changing with my changing interests, from Clay Animation to a “documentary” on Karate and Ninjas. The subject matter continued to change over the years, as neighbors changed. Suddenly, I found myself in The Titanic and music videos; after all, our neighbor was a teenage girl.

When I was eight I found something incredible, a computer video editor in a catalog! WOW! My mind filled with wonderful images, and glorious thoughts! I barely understood what a video editor was, but hey, the advertisement was snappy! I worked out a scheme. Grant (my little four-old-brother at the time), and I would pool our cash, buy the cheap editor, and make a really cool Star Wars movie with Hollywood-like special effects for Dad’s birthday. Guess what, we never bought the program, and I remained where I was so to speak. Then, on my ninth birthday, my parents gave me a video editor! New possibilities were opened. However, I soon found myself in a kind of purgatory. Technical difficulties arose, and it became a hassle simply getting my videos on the computer. Everything was so primitive in the Nineties. Yet, even in this “purgatory”, my hobby was growing into a passion.

In this stage, despite the difficulties, I started on my then “epic”, now ridiculous movie, DX. The movie was simply terrible. Despite that the main characters (my brother and I) were supposed to be extremely intelligent, they kept on repeating just plain stupid “scientific” jargon. It is quite humorous to look back on, as many of my early films are. Even though it was pretty bad, it did help me to progress in my film-endeavor.

Then after a long time of good use, our family’s camcorder broke. The precious piece of equipment, nay friend, that had captured scenes of “drama” and stupidity, had come to its bitter end. Once again, I found myself in a “purgatory”, my movies had to wait.

However, my parents had a scheme of their own. Under the advice of a family friend (who is a homeschooling father, my Confirmation Sponsor, and not to mention a film-maker), and under the influence of my constant chit-chat on the subject, my parents gave me a Digital-Camcorder for Christmas! Along with it, my Uncle and his family got me a new Video Editor! That was a Christmas of glee...At last...at last.... My growing interest in the field had exploded into a love. I was around eleven or twelve.

The first film that I shot, edited, and put on tape was Kid Wars. It was a triumph for me, being able to finish a movie. I took my new equipment to my friends’ house, and there it began, the end of my “purgatory”. The video begins with a title, and then quickly, we are taken to the front door, where some kids arrive. Soon, a game is started, one of “fierce competition”. Armed with fake guns and laser-swords, we run around the house, and the chaos ensues. Finally with the sound of a “gunshot” the movie reaches its climax, and quickly ends. It was quite funny, it was meant to be. Now it is a “vintage video” speaking of an old era of my film-making journey (don’t get me wrong, it was a silly home-movie). Then was a time that ushered in the “Days of FX”.

I was enthralled by Star Wars, as you may have been able to tell. And my desire was to make “real” looking laser-swords. I had tried various approaches, without much success. Then one day I came across a fairly cheap visual-effects program. This program heralded in my “FX films”, movies with practically no story, many of which were based on Star Wars. Lasers, and explosions, and guns, Oh My! From then on my films were dominated by effects. I made “tests” upon “tests”. During this time, my skills were being honed in on; they were being sharpened for the next big step, Noel.

My Confirmation Sponsor, who has helped me immensely in my journey, gave me the chance of making my best film yet. It was a year ago, when I was thirteen. My mind at the time was filled with a glorious idea. It was approaching Christmas, and my “Nativity Pageant” was at hand. I approached him, knowing this was my chance. My camera was having problems, but my intention was ambitious. I asked what he thought of me making a Christmas movie. He was gracious, and it was determined that he was going to aid me in the creation of my film, Noel. With a seventeen-page script, I wrote, or rather stole from The Gospel, and with many home schooled children as my actors, we began the movie. It was filmed in about five days, just before Christmas. It tells the story of Christmas as told by Fr. John, with the help of Jimmy and Anna, two little children. The story tells of the Nativity, from the Annunciation of John, to the Three Kings, and the Presentation. It was a big step for me. Over thirty actors, a script, a professional camera, and a premiere in an auditorium with the cast and “crew” present... It was my first real “master-piece”; I had edited it on the new professional-editor, I had written it, molded it, directed it, and loved it.

Now it has almost been a year since we premiered Noel, and we are putting it on DVD. My life and I have changed since Robin Hood and a Ninja Fight Hordes of Invisible Baddies. Now film-making is my passion. My newest film, Choosing Lily, is being written. It promises to be a big step in the journey, yet another building block. It is my first stab at a very serious drama, a film professing my Catholic beliefs. I hope to film it this summer. It is the “next step” for Star of the Sea Films and its' creator, me.

One day I hope my little “company” will grow into a big one. I hope to make beautiful films, films that express my beliefs. I feel film-making is a tool that I use quite well in pouring out my thoughts. It’s funny, some of my friends have the same love for movies that I do, and perhaps one day we’ll shake the world with our films. It’s my calling, and that was its' story... (with some dramatized prose!).


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