The Journey Begins

My first journal entry documenting my quest to become an amateur/indie filmmaker.
My filmmaking journey begins

In 1988, my father brought home a video camera. I was 14 years old. I can’t claim that I was filled with excitement or joy or that I experienced any great epiphany from the introduction of video into my life.

I have read the origin stories for many filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and the Coen brothers and how as kids they messed around with a video camera, often with parental encouragement. For better or worse that wasn’t my experience and this isn’t that story. I don’t know whether I would have discovered my interest in filmmaking sooner under different circumstances but there is little value in parsing the what-ifs of teenage life.

Still, at 17, I did attempt to make my very first mockumentary for a high school history class. I conscripted some friends, borrowed a camera from a youth organization I was a member of, and shot the video in my tiny one-room “apartment”, a space not much bigger than a broom closet. And that was all the movie-making until I turned 30 and could afford to buy a camera of my own. I had no shortage of ideas for films but didn’t have the skill necessary to convert those ideas into anything other than supped-up musical slideshows and montages. The desire was there but the digital world had yet to explode in full form and people who were making films were still doing so the traditional way.

By 2007, things had started to improve for me. I had the camera, a decent computer to edit the footage with, but I still lacked a fundamental understanding of narrative filmmaking. I did manage to cobble together my first “documentary” short about my father and his high school rock band, the Bishops. I used their music and three interviews I had shot at different times and with different rigs over the years. The result is shaky but I can watch the result and see some progress in my ability.

And now it is 13 years later, and I am ready to try and take my knowledge and skills to the next level. My intention is to document my journey here on this site. I am going to start with practice and that means I am going to try completing tutorials that others have done on their channels — places like Cinecom and Film Riot. I am going to cobble together my own private film school and keep notes of my experience, and a record of my progress.

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