The Sound and Fury has always been a place for me to discuss the things that I’m interested in while practicing at the craft of writing. Chief among those interests have been books, movies, and to a lesser degree, music. Movies, though, have been the giant crystal through which I’ve tended to focus most of my creative energies. When I was dispossessed from my job in early fall of last year I had a choice to make: return to school and build a stronger, more reliable platform of knowledge and skills that would, hopefully, afford me better career opportunities than I otherwise would have had without a degree, or find another dead end job, repeat the previous 10 years of my life, and pray to God that I could hang on and support my family.
Obviously, with help from my ever supportive, beautiful wife, I made the choice to return to school. But even then there were choices to make. Where to attend? How many classes should I take? Which classes should I take? What major should I pursue?
I considered the last question carefully. Part of me wanted to be practical. But part of me wanted to follow my heart. It was like those cartoons where the devil version of you and the angel version of you are standing on your shoulders having an argument over what you should do. I’m not sure which decision was represented by the horned version and which was represented by the haloed version. This I know: I chose, once again with help and support from an unbelievably encouraging wife, (who surely must believe in me to allow me on this damn fool’s errand) to follow my heart. And so I’ve begun my pursuit of an education and a degree in Radio, Television, and Film. Specifically, the film portion. And more specifically, screenwriting.
I’ve been creating for nearly as long as I can remember, whether by dressing myself up in costumes culled together from various items I’d found lying around the house and acting out scenes that I’d imagined, or through other forms of play with friends, my sister, or by myself with toys and other props. I imagined worlds through crude drawings, ever doodling in class when I should have been learning about such and such a treaty being signed or such and such amino acid responsible for such and such bodily function. Unfortunately, while the teacher droned on about these topics, I was in my head having adventures.
I began writing when I was around 14 or 15. I tried my hand at creating my own Star Wars story (which I found recently, and discovered that it’s really not that bad), fantasy stories, a tale about Vietnam, and I even did a stint at our High School newspaper, The High Standard. Some of the early stories weren’t too bad, but most of them went unfinished. They were clichéd, hackneyed stories that you’d expect from a kid, and they were sometimes poorly structured. But the message was clear: I wanted to tell stories. It didn’t really matter to me which medium I used (paper was the easiest to obtain). I just wanted to tell the stories that had been fermenting in my brain since childhood.
Movies quickly became a huge part of my life, and I often imagined my stories as though they were moving pictures. Movies seemed out of reach, though. Movies were in Hollywood, and Hollywood was in L.A., and I somehow always knew I’d never move to L.A. I’m kind of a homeboy, and I just love my family too much. But then my son came along and solidified it. Whatever I was going to do was going to have to be near him. I needed him as much as he needed me, and that’s just how it was going to be.
But Austin isn’t what it was when I moved here in 1996. This town has seen the rise and fall of the dot coms and the tech industry bust, and two real estate slumps. But the film industry is as alive as its ever been here.
Suddenly, in the early days of the fall of 2010, without a job and facing the prospect of returning to school, the idea of a career in film didn’t sound so silly anymore.
Thus I began the pursuit of a dream. A dream to tell stories. No matter how fantastical they may be. To see those worlds I envisioned as a child (and still do) realized and shared. I finally came to believe that dreams are only as real as we believe them to be. And I believe. I really, truly believe.
"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, / Must give us pause."
-from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Thanks for reading.