There is a boy.
I watch his work. Like a drawing come to life as I flip the pages, the boy reveals himself.
There is a boy making movies, idolizing his heroes. He doesn't have an aesthetic to call his own, but he wades blissfully in the images of others. He doesn’t have a voice of his own; his voice is an amalgam. He relishes in simple cuts that bridge gaps in time and stitch together a sloppily contrived narrative. He loves making these videos more than anything.
There is a boy with purpose, slashing at his roots as quickly as he can unearth them. He defines himself by film. By having a unique vision.
The boy starts to feel his limitations, so he adjusts. He starts to learn to direct actors instead of friends. He starts to consider camera movement, the pacing of the cut, the dance between image and sound and music to create a feeling, an emotion.
The boy sits outside of Lindley Hall and sobs in the snow. The film he meant to be his grand unveiling has crashed against the rocks below him. He is heartbroken. At that moment, he decides that he will make this film himself if he needs to. That he will not stop until it is brought to life. And he achieves it. Through sheer force of will, he achieves it. He is strong.
There is a boy.
He now goes inward. He feels around for the next story to tell. He finds one, one that he must hold carefully with delicate fingers. It’s fragile, exposed to air for the first time. Removing it nearly kills the boy.
Already reeling, the boy then feels betrayed. Betrayed by those he thought wanted the best for him.
This kills the boy.
And so I take hold, and continue on. I finish school and move to LA. I slowly learn what is acceptable and what is not. What is easy and what is not. I drift to the background. Why expose myself to the same pain and suffering the killed the boy?
I bludgeon myself. I bludgeon myself for half a decade, attempting to snuff out any reminders of the boy. Of the weakness I now carry with me. Of the desire to open myself up again.
I pretend what I produce with friends is tiding me over. I pretend the money is all I need. I fool myself. I fool myself until I don’t anymore. Until I want to shake out of my skin and peel back my scalp.
Until my dad dies in front of me and all of the facades and half-truths I’d been telling myself come crumbling down.
I don't want the LA that I had. I don't want the life that I had. I want connection. I want to create again, fully and passionately. I want the boy back.
I want the boy to come back.
Making the films I want to make takes tenacity. It takes taking rejection. It takes facing fearful situations. It takes caring, at the risk of having my heart broken. It takes loss. How can I willingly volunteer for that? How did the boy?
How did the boy?
I lost him somewhere back there. Going back, I can see traces of him, his footprints in the mud. They stop at the cliff's edge.
I’m making a film.
I need the boy back.
I need him.
I need me.
Me. I have it, the power and knowledge and taste and passion. I can do this, but only if I want it more than anything else. It’s scary and difficult to do what I love. But it’s also the only passion I’ve ever really known. I don’t need to keep looking for my meaning or purpose, I know it already. I've known it since I was a boy.
It’s down there, lapping against the sharp rocks. No sense in continuing to hike, it’s time to dive again.