Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Why I Made A Film

Submitted by Christina Hazelwood

”You’re going to undergo some type of training or study,” the psychic said.

I rolled my eyes and figured the woman had a bad connection or something. Having recently graduated from college, I was happily working in my chosen profession and had no intention of going back to school. Nay, I knew I wasn't going back.

“You’re going to study...” she paused, apparently re-tuning. “...film. Film scripts. You’re going to become very interested in scripts and scriptwriting.”

This woman must be picking up vibes from the last guy that was in here, I thought. But the woman turned out to be right. It just took another ten years to happen.

At the time I was working as a reporter for a regional newspaper and had my life mapped out. Eventually I’d join the staff of the Chicago Tribune and become a salty dog, hobnobbing with police detectives and political insiders, uncovering truth, justice and fighting for the American way. But I took a series of wrong turns, uncovered numerous dead ends, and wound up, just where she said, absorbing any information I could find about scriptwriting and making films.

It’s as though the thing got under my skin, like some nasty filmmaker virus that I couldn't shake. I searched out books, magazines, seminars, every tidbit of information. I even managed to get a few non-gratis (hang-around-the-set-and-we’ll-call-you-if-we-need-you) positions on some films. But I had to face facts. I was not, and had never been, a fresh-scrubbed UCLA film school grad. So if I ever did actually manage to slog my way through the Hollywood jungle (of course I’d have to move there first) and make something of myself, success would not occur prior to the age of ninety-three. And at that point I would no longer be able to see or hear the movie I'd just made.

There was only one possible way for me to become a filmmaker - make a film. Needless to say, this was an utterly horrifying thought to my loved ones. The sheer audacity and utter folly, of believing such a thing was in the realm of the possible, was in itself a shock. Not to mention the financial burden, overwhelming responsibility, logistics, technical demands, people issues, and all else. But being the lone lemming that I am, I decided to jump off the cliff.

I looked at it this way. If I wind up flipping burgers at the local diner, looking at another twenty to thrity years before I pay off that last credit card bill, at least I could say, “I did it.” As opposed to spending the rest of my life wishing I had.

No comments: