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Massacre

5 December 2012

For no reason whatsoever this morning, I was thinking of the first film meeting I ever went to.

I was living in Omaha (which is in America!), and pretty sure I wanted to be a film director for a living. Some friends and I had put together one or two no-budget crime films (think Tarantino with a massive concussion and a drinking problem), and somehow, that ended up getting us a meeting with an Oscar winner who’d just started a film company in town.

Myself, my producer, and our lead actor showed up at his office early, our mini-DV demo reel (such as it was) ready to go. We were led into the office, and I was immediately struck by just how much like a normal office it looked. I’m not sure what I was expecting — movie posters, a conversation pit, TVs on every wall showing Kurasawa films — but it was just an office, like your supervisor’s, or mine.

The meeting itself was odd — my producer, normally talkative and friendly, didn’t say a word. The lead actor tried to fill in valiantly, but he really couldn’t speak to much that the producer had done. I mostly rambled and started sweating. It wasn’t a great meeting, and it quickly became apparent that none of us — including the filmmaker in whose office we were currently imploding — knew what we were doing there.

It wasn’t all bad. We got some TV work from that company, helping out on a couple of commercials. I directed one film after that, but I was already beginning to suspect that directing was not where my path led. There were parts of it I liked, but too many parts I didn’t — and the meetings were a big part of that.

If I had grown up ten years later and just posted my films to the Internet, would things have been different? Would I have realized as early as I did that I wanted to write, not direct? I don’t know. I am glad the Internet wasn’t as big a thing when I was doing film — I probably would have posted them, and they’d still be out there haunting me to this day.

Point #1 of this entry: I don’t much like meetings.

Point #2: What did you want to be when you were an impressionable youth? Did you stay on that path? If not, what showed you the path you’re on now?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 December 2012 0633

    Like you, I thought being a director would be wonderful. And then I worked on a 35mm feature and realized, “Yeah, I have no desire to direct!” Writing is where it’s at, and consequently, it was writing that began a friendship with that particular director.

    When I was younger, you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise that when I reached adulthood that my career would be this: a juggler. It’s all I did. Homework? Why do homework when I can juggle for hours? It was an obsession. But…I also liked writing, and started taking it a bit serious in my early 20s. Right about the time I was preparing to sell everything I owned to zip off to Europe to begin what I hoped would be a nice juggling career, I got a job writing comic books. More than that: working for the company was a girl who was an artist AND…she juggled! So…I scrapped the Europe plans and made money writing comic books that never saw print.

    The best part of that job? Over 20 years later, I’m still juggling with the girl I met at that company 🙂

    • 5 December 2012 0638

      Heh. I met the girl through my producer. 13 years and change later, she and I are still together — and that’s the most important takeaway from my fledgling film career.

      Imagine the alternate universe where you moved to France to juggle and I chucked it all and moved to LA when I was 22. What sort of people would we be now? I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with that version of myself.

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