Sunday, September 25, 2005

On second thought...

The main reason I moved back home wasn't to assist my family or anything (although that's what I tell most people). In fact I'm here mostly so that I can re-evaluate the direction my life is taking. After the depressing-even-to-me New Year's post, I decided I need to do something with my life, because what I've been doing hasn't made me particularly happy. The goal during my time at home was to explore my options- in particular the possibility of applying to film school.

It's no secret that I've loved movies for years. And with my love for movies has been a far-in-the-distance dream of someday being a director. But now that the time has come to act on this dream, I'm having second thoughts. Last week I had a talk with my parents and told them that I'm not sure I want to go back to school at this time in my life. I know it sounds silly- "you've been dreaming of being a filmmaker for years, you fucko, so what's the holdup?" Honestly, I don't know. My mom thinks I'm afraid. See, my undergrad years pretty much sucked- the only education I found worthwhile was found in movie theatres- and they became a kind of cruel joke when it turned out that the only thing that I (who went in undecided) was interested in studying wasn't offered at a university with over 200 majors. D'oh! So, two years into my college education, getting plenty of financial aid from the school, I decided to finish out my time at OSU by... coasting. I didn't try, because I didn't care.

Cut to today, 4 1/2 years after graduation. I'm still working for the same company I did in college, making a good deal less than a college grad prolly ought to make (of course, this is relative; I grew up hearing from my folks that a college degree would open all kinds of doors for me, and now I'm just grateful to be getting medical coverage so that if I'm ever plowed over by a lorry [yes, I just wrote "lorry"- I also say "gair-idge" when talking about where I park my car at home] I won't have to die to avoid paying out the ass for the rest of my life). I don't mind my job, but it doesn't really fulfill me from an intellectual standpoint- consider today, when my entire staff was comprised of high schoolers (felt a little like Romper Room). So you'd think it would be prime time to pursue the dream, before I get too old and have too many firm commitments (wife, kids... oh wait, I'm talking about myself here hahahahahahahahahahaha). But no. With me, it's never as simple as doing something. I have to think about it. I've always had to think about it, and more and more lately my thinking about things has led me to one potential consequence- failure.


Some people wouldn't consider me a failure. After all, I'm a college graduate with a management job, complete with benefits. But mostly, I feel like I've let myself down.

But enough of the self-pity. It's more than three months until New Year's.

The question is this- do I really not want to go to film school, or is there something inherent in my personality that holds me back from pursuing things I really want? I know I'm capable of writing good screenplays- writer-friends who've read what I've already written have told me so. And I'm certainly not at a loss for ideas- at this point, I have roughly ten screenplays that are at least in the mental-brewing phase, if not partially or completely finished. And I have particular ideas for how I'd like them to be made as well, so I'd like to direct them myself. Everything inside me tells me that if I ever want these ideas to be put to film, then going back to school is the most sensible way to make it happen. But of course it is- my concerns now are access to equipment and making connections to knowledgeable collaborators. And since Portage County, Ohio isn't a filmmaking mecca, and since I'm not the kind of schmoozer who could charm the pants off film-smart types so as to make them work for/with me, film school makes sense.

So what's the holdup already? Is it fear of failure that holds me back? Or is it something more insidious? Namely, the malaise that has crept into my life ever since I went to college, the safe and unchallenging contentment I get from coasting through life? Or it is simpler than either of these options? Do I honestly not want to go back to college?

And what if cinema is just a phase for me? There was a time in grade school when I would pore over every book I could find about the Presidents, memorizing every little tidbit of info I could digest that was even tangentially related (ultimate proto-geek moment: in third grade, correcting a tour guide at Monticello as to a portrait of Madison- he said it was Monroe- hanging on a wall). Are the movies just a more adult variation on that same theme?

Anyway, I don't usually beseech the reader(s) of this weblog to respond- though it's always welcome when he/they do/es- but honestly, I'm reaching out here. What do you guys think I should do? Peptalks/bitchslaps/alternative suggestions welcome, particularly from those of you who could steer me in a film-related direction.

P.S.: also, I find that screenwriting is pretty fucking tedious. If I had one wish, I'd wish for all the ideas in my head to be put to paper as I thought of them- I have no trouble revising and re-writing. Just wanted to get that out there.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Odds 'n' sods

- My folks are out of town on vacation, and my brother is staying at a friend's place, so I've got the house to myself this week. Which means I can shower with the bathroom door open and no one will be the wiser.

- The Cedar Lee theatre up in Cleveland has what has to be the smallest men's room stall I've ever encountered. Whenever I use it, my knees rest comfortably against the door. Perhaps this was an attempt by the theatre's management back in the day to fit another toilet into a small space, but yeesh.

- The other day I put my boxer shorts on backwards, so that the opening was in the back. I was wondering what that draft on my ass was...

- Pet Peeve #2: People who don't leave messages on the answering machine. Isn't it about 25 years past time to be reluctant to talk to machines? My hatred of these sorts began when I was living alone and my telephone was positioned right next to the bed (the only jack in the house was there, so I didn't have much of a choice). I didn't mind when I was awakened by the machine picking up (I usually turned my ringer off, and a voice is easier to wake up to than a ring) but when people wouldn't bother to leave even their name behind, I felt downright insulted. Am I not important enough to know who is calling when I'm away from the telephone or something? Even now that I don't sleep next to the telephone, my disgust at these characters remains.

- Pet Peeve #3: Cars with exhaust pipes pointing to the side. I'm the sort of driver who prefers rolling the window down to turning on the A/C whenever I have the choice, but people who drive cars with sideways-pointing tailpipes make my day thoroughly unpleasant. The worst part is that I drive a small car, and the offending vehicles tend to be larger, making the likelihood even greater that the cloud of exhaust will be aimed at the level of my open window. It's bad enough when you get a faceful from a gas-burning SUV, but the worst is when you're seated at a stop light next to a twenty-year-old van like the ones repairmen invariably drive.

- For the last day or so I've had the Soft Bear song stuck in my head, with my own personal twist of it being sung to "Every Sperm Is Sacred." It feels simultaneously adorable and naughty, with the usual annoyance of not being able to free one's mind from a song.