My world changed one December night in 1990. I wish that I knew the exact date and time. Nothing could have prepared me for it. I was not doing anything that I had not done a million times before. All I did was go to the movies.
The movie was Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands." I had never seen anything like it. It told the story of an outsider whose joy came from showing the "normal" world its own beauty. Edward found the extraordinary in the ordinary. What everyone else had taken for granted, he treasured. It was a view of the world that I had never seen.
I walked out of that theater knowing, at age twelve, exactly what I wanted to do with my life: make movies.
Since that night, my life has been spent in pursuit of that dream. If you name a movie released since December, 1990, chances are, I have seen it. Oscar night is the year's most important night of television in my house. My video collection is quite impressive, as are my stacks of soundtrack CDs. I even have a weekend job at a local, gargantuan 14-screen cineplex. These are the hard facts. These are the tangible things people can quote when trying to understand my passion. It's what they cannot see that reveals how much movies truly mean to me.
My eyes are always searching for something. It does not matter where I am or whom I am with. I am constantly on the lookout for what is interesting, humorous, surprising, exciting and unusual. "It" is just something that strikes me in a certain way.
It could be the way someone blinks or the stream of headlights after a baseball game. I just tend to notice things that other people do not.
I want to show people how I see these things. I want them to recognize, even if just for two hours, how exciting things can be if you look at them in a distinct way. I will never forget the exhilaration of seeing people cry after they sat through a play I directed. The fact that I could trigger people's emotions by telling them a story in a certain way absolutely thrilled me.
"Edward Scissorhands" inspired me to see the world through a filmmaker's eyes. It taught me to find that elusive spark that makes something unique. Through the use of light, sound, and story, filmmakers can do anything within the bounds of imagination and technology. I cannot wait for the day when I can let my own eyes, ears, and imagination loose. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.