Three years. Thirty columns. Four cycles of YDN editors. Hours on hours of writing and movie watching. Now I’m graduating with two senior projects, post-grad prospects on a film set in New London, and a lifetime’s worth of memories. So what do I possibly write about last? I could do another film review. I could pick some theme I noticed in some film I saw a month ago, and then write about it for another 600 words.
Or I could just pontificate.
I started this column because I love movies. I also love novels. But when you go to a place like this, doing things you love becomes harder than you think. Luckily, watching a movie is relatively easy to digest, though like any other medium of expression, it has the capacity to become truly fine art. It depends on how seriously the filmmaker takes his or her own work, and on how seriously we regard it.
With any film, we have to ask ourselves what we’re watching, and why we care. Think about it for a moment. Why do we watch movies? Why do we read books? Why do we go to the theatre? For most of us, the answer is simple: because we love stories. And I love thinking about stories.
The best artists try to make money daydreaming. I understand that very well. But I also go to Yale. I am surrounded by incredibly ambitious people who all have incredible things lined up for them. I’m not saying I’m a chump, but I just want to write novels and make movies.
I believe in art’s objective to make rational what is an irrational world. But I also believe that social activism and those similar avenues my peers travel down is probably more valid. The world needs leaders who care about people, and my generation — across every university in this country — is up to answering the call. But not necessarily me.
I’m a dreamer, and I want to express these dreams to people. Hopefully, if I get enough experience under my belt, and I keep growing and maturing and working at my craft, I can do just that. Oscars, million-dollar options, Pulitzer Prizes and speaking gigs at places just like this — of course I want those things. Like I said, I’m not a chump with chump dreams. But that’s not the most important thing to me. Honestly, accolades shouldn’t be all that important to anyone. It’s the fulfillment of your need to tell stories that really counts.
Great filmmakers do what they do because they have to. They are consumed by stray images and moments that linger on the edge of an otherwise calm mind — disrupting it, throwing it all out of focus. I started writing “Cinema to the Max” as an extension of this idea. I loved film too much. I had to write about it. I had to let people know what I liked and what I didn’t. Even if I’d never had a single reader, I’d keep at this thing.
Transitioning now into the field itself is at once dangerous and alluring. Thousands jump into the market year after year — each and every one of them hoping for that elusive big break. All of them hoping for that single opportunity that will throw their years of disaster and clusterfuck into relief. But so few actually find it.
Most give up. Others trudge onwards, and after a while, they attain some measure of success. They learn from every mistake they inevitably make. They keep an eye to tomorrow, while never forgetting to enjoy the now. They follow what they love and what makes them happy. They stand stubbornly strong against all aggression. They believe that if they stay committed, satisfaction is just around the corner.
So if you’re out there fighting that good fight, take solace in knowing you’re not alone. I hope my columns these last three years have made you think and, more importantly, smile. Now keep doing your thing. Keep striving forward. There will always be a bountiful world out there for all us hungry souls. And I’ll be waiting for you there.