Thursday, June 7, 2007

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

God, how I hate this saying. First of all, who’s Jack? I’d like to meet him (though it’s most likely a her) and give him the coveted Platinum Multi-Tasking Award. I think the person who came up with this catch-phrase was an underachieving slacker.

Okay, okay, so I understand what it really means, but sometimes I resemble that remark, and I can be quite defensive.

Having decided to leap into my first short film (outside of a class assignment), I’m starting to realize that I’m Jack, John, Jim, Jacob, and just to bring a wee-bit of realism to this thing, the glass-ceiling-breaking Jane.

What is a writer-director? Does a person start off wanting to equally be both? Does this person spend hours, days, months and years honing the crafts of both writing and filmmaking? For that matter, do screenwriters not consider themselves filmmakers? As a writer-director, what skills should I concentrate on more, and which one matters the most?

Do I have answers to any of these questions? As usual, I just ask a bunch of questions.

Will knowing the answer to these questions help me get my film off the ground faster? I’m not sure, but it would either prove or disprove that little saying about “master of none”.

I started out loving books. Words, words and more words. I can’t go more than a month without buying a new friend to spend several hours losing myself in a world either familiar or unfamiliar. Growing up, I didn’t watch much television. My mother believed that it was not an appropriate vehicle for growing minds, though, oddly enough, I was allowed to sit in on some of the shows she watched. Dallas was a favorite of hers... and mine. I guess I still have the flare for the melodramatic. We watched the Dukes of Hazzard (and I refused, as a loyal fan, to see the remake). My mother was big into the nature shows, and entering her 84th birthday, I just recently informed her that there are entire channels dedicated to the shows she loved watching on PBS. How come old people are channel-surfing challenged?

But, my ADD is getting ahead of me.

My older brother introduced me to movies. The first movie I remember seeing in an actual theater was Star Wars. He’d take me to see a lot of movies that I can barely remember, because as a small child, I would usually fall asleep. I remember, he was also the first person I know to get cable - WHT. Stripes, that was the first movie I watched over and over. Big brother also owned a number of VCR’s (Beta Max (sp?), I vaguely remember), and here is where I completely fell in love with movies. I would watch some of those movies over and over and over. To this day, I know verbatim the movies Beat Street, Ghost Busters and The Last Dragon. He also introduced me to my love of Karate Flicks - as we called them.

When I started teaching high school, I was given the opportunity to create two elective courses from the ground up, and I jumped at the opportunity to teach a film class. I was lucky that the school - a vocational and technical high school - had a TV studio. The TV studio class met for three periods straight, and I designed a course where I would team teach with the TV teacher, giving us four periods of film exploration.

I didn’t know at the time, but this served as preparation for my dip into filmmaking. I learned about the history of film, the “great” auteurs. I also learned about the technical aspects, from lighting to editing. I forever believe that if you really want to learn something, teach it.

Where the heck am I going with all of this?

I don’t think I set the stage to become one or the other. Without realizing it, I put myself on the path to becoming a writer-director, or what I like to call a filmmaker, with the hopes of becoming a MASTER FILMMAKER.

1 comment:

Fun Joel said...

Thanks for the good wishes, and for stopping by! I appreciate it!