True Stories: From Screenplay to Screen Play

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Photo taken at the back lot of Universal Studios

Disclaimer: This true life event happened in January 2010

It was nearly a year after I left the army. What a relief to leave the grips of an organisation that wanted to control my life — if not the world — and not have a say in it. I left the army with all the benefits and decided to do some schooling. Not knowing what I wanted to study, I went back to NYC and suddenly remembered the school I had had my eye on before I left high school: New York Film Academy. I thought since I would be able to study in the city, and receiving all the benefits from attending, I could save as much money as possible for whatever I next wanted to do. However, when I visited NYFA, they told me that the NYC branch didn’t accept the GI-Bill that was created that year, but the Los Angeles branch did. I was extremely nervous about going to California, but finally decided to go ahead with it. Being in LA, where all the movie magic happens, was a once in a lifetime chance. So, I jumped in my car and drove over to LA where I would meet the roommates I had assembled and start my studies as a filmmaker.

After the first two days of school, I thought it was the most amazing thing. My class mates and I got to play with cameras on the first day, the second we were writing a small screenplay (or script), which we would film in the back lot of Universal Studios — yup, I had definitely made the right decision. The next day in the back lot, I was standing in an old western bar, listening to the coordinator who was explaining the rules and safety regulations. All the different programs studying film making were given three actors to work with, it turned out that I was the first one to start filming my small story, which involved an exchange. It was the very first time directing actors to do a short film, I felt extremely nervous and did my best to be a Director.

The actors that I received were exactly what I needed for my story, one woman and one man, however, I was missing an actor. It took some time for the final actor to come and I thought it was going to mess up my film. The coordinator, herself, came to me and apologised for the wait. She offered me a young actor, who turned out to be excellent at acting as well. I considered myself lucky to meet those actors that day, they listened to everything I told them and adjusted themselves the way I needed. Looking through the lens of the camera and seeing the actors bring my material to life, giving direction, well, the most amazing feeling rushed over me and I could see the instant creation of motion picture in front of me. I remembered all those times in my life when I used to watch bloopers of movies I loved. I used to laugh and wish I could be apart of a creation that many people in the world would see — it still fills my heart today and drives me to make more films. When I finally sat down at the end of that day, I thought about where the nervousness went and how fluid I was in the middle of everything. It was one of the happiest days in my life.

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Soar (Originally 12-Sep-2014)

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Take on a cross bridge in Long Island City, NYC

My wife told me how much she likes lines in photos. It made me think how many of my photos don’t necessarily have lines but vary from time to time. Like many of the photos I take they have their own uniqueness to them, it’s what makes them special. This one, on the other hand, was taken in a place where I was nearly blinded by the sun. I was crossing a bridge and wanted to capture the support beams going across but I didn’t like the buildings that came into the back ground. I turned, bent, extended my arms out, closed one eye from the incredible sun, and to my surprise this came out.  Taken with my iPhone 5.

As I’m writing this blog and looking into this picture I have epic music playing in the background. This photo to me represents the everlasting hopes, dreams and aspiration that sits in the sky, waiting for us to soar to them, to reach out, to take hold of our lives and shine bright. To smile, to open your heart, and go after the things you wish for the most out of life.

This month for me so far has been a great one and I’m doing much more of what I love than I have done in a long time.  I suppose this photo also represents the current progress of my life as well, shining high and bright and ready to blind all with my talents.  Watch out world!  I’m coming for you.