Pictured: Moments before the climactic murder in John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood (1991).
It's not easy to explain why I love film as much as I do.
In truth, I'm not confident that I could nail down exactly why. There isn't just one reason why I do. I've always been fascinated by film. As a child, I watched movies constantly. I wore out more VHS tapes than I could remember. (Yes, VHS tapes. I was still watching those when DVDs had already taken over.)
For a time I preferred VHS. I loved the grainy look that accompanied them. It was comforting. It provided a sense of nostalgia and familiarity to every movie I watched. Eventually, I got with the program and upgraded to DVDs. I used to be obsessed with owning the best available, or most feature packed, version of any movie I bought: special editions, director's cuts, unrated with extra content, box sets and, of course, Criterion if it had something added to it. It didn't matter: I was game. My collection was extensive. Over time I've traded away and sold a good chunk of my collection. I've still held onto most of my box sets and all of my Criterions.
Nowadays I'm full digital. It's become standard for releases to come with extras and featurettes, so I no longer have to seek out the 'ultimate edition' of each film. That is quite relieving. It is so much easier and more convenient to have everything I want to watch just a click away in one place.
I've tested the big four streaming boxes: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Google Chromecast. I still own a Fire TV and an Apple TV. My Fire TV gets very little use from me as my Apple TV dominates in this area. I have an iPhone as well, which ties me into the Apple circle. Rumors of the 5th generation Apple TV have me very excited. While I don't yet own a 4K TV, a new Apple TV with 4K support will drastically increase my desire to own a 4K TV. While I used to love the old style grainy look, now I'm enamored with how realistic and lively films look through HD. I can't get enough of it. The first time I watched anything in HD at home was an episode of Lost. It made it feel like I was there. The trees appeared as though they were just a few feet in front of me. It was jarring in the best way.
My fascination with everything film related only grew the older I got. No longer was it enough only to watch films. I had to analyze them. Understand them and learn as much about this unique sector of the world as I could. I immersed myself in the art of cinema. From a young age, I knew this was something I had to pursue. Fortunately, I also have a love for writing, which goes hand in hand with my love for cinema. I've always enjoyed assembling lists of favorites and organizing my collection which oddly fostered an interest in film editing.
How could I not want to create films of my own? To join this world and take part in creating this beautiful, unique and engrossing style of art? I never attended film school or had a proper education on the technical and behind the scenes aspects of creating a film. I watched and studied them. Took note of how individual directors used the lens to add to their stories, making it almost like its own character––Martin Scorsese particularly excels at this.
How DPs bring a scene to life through lighting, color correlation, and framing. Emmanuel Lubezki and Roger Deakins have long stood atop the chain in this area.
Examining how seamlessly one scene flows to the next in a well-made film compared to how a quick messy cut can completely remove the viewer from the experience. Sally Menke has always been a favorite of mine. She understood just how long to let a scene rest and breathe; conversely, she knew when to incorporate rapid cuts to scale up a film's tempo to a frantic pace. These people––and others––have been my teachers. They all excelled at their craft and made their efforts stand out among all the rest. A true artist's vision will always shine through. It won't always be immediate. In fact, far too often they go overlooked. But you don't go into filmmaking for the money or prestige. In the end, their accomplishments and determination will forever burn brightly.