Dreams, Journal

Filmmaker

For most of my twenties, I actively pursued film directing as a vocation. I wrote full-length screenplays. And I wrote and directed a number of short films that debuted in festivals. One of those shorts was even promoted on an IFC program titled Media Lab Shorts Uploaded.

But after one particularly disastrous shoot, in which the film I was working on wasn’t even finished, I began to think I’d left my true vocation behind. I wanted to be a novelist and that seemed to be showing in the stress I felt on set as well as an increasing lackluster when it came to corralling actors.

Before that shoot, I bought a Krasnogorsk-3 so I could try shooting 16mm film. It was shipped in via eBay all the way from the Ukraine. And it’s the same camera I believed was used by undergraduates at USC film school.

That camera is still sitting on my bookshelf. And I’ve kept it there over the past decade for good reason. My dream of becoming a filmmaker is bound up inside of it. Think of it as a talisman, if you like. But I thought of it as a visual reminder of a passion I can pick back up at any time I wish.

Recently, I did just that. I shot a mini-doc, putting something on film for the first time in over ten years. To be honest, I’m not sure where I’ll gonna go from here. It could depend on whether or not any festivals are interested. On the other hand, it might just depend on whether or not I find something else that inspires me.

The truth is that making television and film is a dream of mine even if I abandoned it years ago. Maybe it’s a lesser dream. And maybe I was right to give up the film pursuit to write so I could write novels for a while. I guess, it’s what you’d call a recurring dream.

photo: Thomas William

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Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Chapel Hill, NC. His short stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten novels and is the author of several children's books. You can learn more about him at justinmeckes.com or by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.