I'm not even a struggling filmmaker. I'm just struggling. Hard. Every time I meet someone in the industry, they always want to know why an honor student went from the security of medicine to the freelance, unstable nature of film. Honestly, it wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one. It's something that's been in the making for a long time. The first moment that I realized that performing was for me was the fourth grade.
In my elementary school, every year, each grade puts on a musical for the entire school. So every month there was a performance going on.
It wasn't until the third grade that I got a role with any substance; and it was a big one. I got to play Belle in The Beauty and The Beast. I went from being completely invisible in my school to having way too many people know me. That experience was wonderful, but I got a lot of hate from my peers. Our elementary school was exactly like Mean Girls. I had gone from being a loner to being an outcast because I got attention that wasn't approved by The Pink Ladies. Yes, in the third grade, up until the sixth grade, there was a legit clique of girls that made my life a living hell. They even had matching monogrammed grease jackets! However the third grade wasn't when I learned I wanted to be a performer. That revelation came a year later.
During the fourth grade, I won the role of Anna in The King and I. It was completely unexpected because no one had ever had the lead role twice. If I was a target before, then I was the ultimate kill in this playground battlefield. I worked so hard for this role, spending all my free time singing and rehearsing lines. I even had to learn to waltz in front of my entire grade. It was mortifying.
Finally the day of the show arrives and my nerves are threatening to debilitate me. I'm wearing a giant hoop skirt trying to dance and sing while a corset is puncturing my ribs. Even through the pain, I can recall having the most fun in my short life. When it came time for the final bow, the cast exited from backstage as we had rehearsed, with me being the last one to arrive on stage. I descend from the wings and do a full curtsy in front of the audience. This time was different than ever other time we rehearsed because there was a live audience there, not just rowdy fourth graders. When I looked up from my curtsy, to my surprise, I received a standing ovation. It shocked me. I couldn't believe that what I loved and enjoyed doing gave other people joy as well. I was hooked from that moment onward.
Now from that point onward, I thought that I just wanted to be an actress. It wasn't until I saw my favorite movie that I knew I couldn't stop there. I saw Pulp Fiction for the first time when I was eight years old on television. I'm pretty sure it was on the WB but who can be sure? I watched the entire film in awe with my mouth ajar and I didn't understand what I saw. After the movie finished, I recall thinking "Wow, you can do that?" I didn't know that movies didn't have to be generic and formulaic. It changed my entire paradigm and to this day I think Tarantino is a fucking genius. Sure I may come off as a movie snob with my independent films and foreign cinema, but I know I love a film when I feel it in my bones. It can change you profoundly. Honestly my movie obsession doesn't make me cool; it makes me a loser. Only dweebs and nerds are obsessed with anything. I'm proud to say that I'm obsessed with Jules and Vincent Vega and that movie made me want to become a filmmaker.
Sure half of the screenplays I write are garbage and the other half are unfinished, but it gives me such joy to attempt to follow my dreams. Maybe I'll never succeed. Maybe I'll give in and be at a corporate job working for the man. I dunno. I can't predict the future. But at least I'm trying. So regardless if I'm living it up in a penthouse with my banker husband, I'll have the original B-roll from my failed films and the pictures of the times I spent sleeping on numerous couches.