If I had a temple in which I worshiped it would be a darkened movie theater. I've been a devoted follower of the magic of film since childhood. Back then such devotion offered the added gift of being able to remain in the temple through multiple services. For the price of one dollar, my mother sent us off to the movies while she worked. Once through the doors, I could stay for as many showings as I wished, or at least until my mother got off work. No one booted me out at the end of the first showing, nor did the indifferent ushers coming in to sweep pay much attention to the girl sitting in the back watching all the credits.
There were times when I was the only one in there. The magic was all mine. There were no advertisements, no in-between show amusements, save for the occasional cartoon. This meant I had a few minutes to digest the scenes, analyze the characters and rewrite the dialogue or the ending in my head. It was Film School 101 without tuition or books.
Today the movie screen is digital and Hollywood has spread across the country, even into a little town in New Mexico. That's where I first spent a weekend on a movie set. Waiting. And waiting. Yes, movies are made by those who wait. Patience is a true virtue in this art form. The payoff is wonderful, though, when you see your words on screen. All those years of rewriting Hollywood's finest were worth something after all. I'd waited a long time for that goal to be reached so I enjoyed every minute of it. The payoff of a true screen debut, however, was another story.
The temple of cinema is in a bit of a quandary these days. Much as in the publishing world, the available venues are swallowed up by the blockbusters, by those with the money and the clout to command top dollar. Getting your film on the big screen without those two assets takes determination, persistence and luck.
My words haven't made it to the big screen. Yet. My little film is out there (see below), though, living a vicarious existence on YouTube. Inside me lies the next story and I work on it, revise it, add to or subtract from the dialogue. And I envision how it will look through the camera's lens. Guess it's time for Film School 201.
Debra Doggett has been many things in life: actor, filmmaker, historian, writer, but for her putting words to paper is the most satisfying. After years of moving around the US, she settled in the desert of New Mexico, a far cry from her birthplace in Louisiana. You can learn more about her at her blog and on Twitter.
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