FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE: How I Almost Didn’t Get into Film School.

This is the story of a boy, a dream, and one great big deus ex machina.

Right after my first viewing of Christopher Nolan’s Memento, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I knew what it was that was going to make me happy. I was twelve, at the tail end of middle school, and the path that lay ahead of me finally had a distinct direction.

Becoming a writer/director was my dream, but my then-reclusive tendencies kept me from practicing my skills as the latter. The former was a lot easier to work on since I spent so much of my time in my room anyway; spending that same amount of time in the same place only while warmed by the sickly glow of my computer didn’t seem to make that much of a difference.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE: Learning to approach criticism.

The job description for “filmmaker” should include thick skin as a prerequisite since you’ll be living and breathing criticism throughout your career. First and foremost, there will be your collaborators. Then your peers. Then the world at large as they watch your creations.

That’s a long list and line of people waiting to give you a piece of their mind and if you’re not ready for that, you just might go insane from the sheer weight of their expectations and opinions. But don’t be fooled: this isn’t just something for the filmmakers out there.

If you’re not living under a rock, criticism is going to be – if it already isn’t – a huge part of your life. Whether it’s school, work, or just your interactions in general, it’s inescapable. Over the years, I’ve gotten better with dealing with it, but I’ll be the first to say that I’m never going to be perfect at it. Just as good as I can possibly be at the moment.

Actually, I was inspired to write this blog precisely because I was reminded of my room for improvement.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE attends the Amazing Spider-Man sneak peek!

The Spider-Man films are being rebooted this year and Marc Webb – director of the incredible (500) Days of Summer – is at the helm. With Raimi’s last note on the webslinger falling a bit flat, this promising new direction makes this film one I’m thoroughly anticipating.

On Monday, February 6, 2012, Sony Pictures held sneak previews for the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie all around the world, including Los Angeles. That’s where I found myself and my Partner-in-Crime at the beginning of this week.

And yes, we were once again dressed like Pikachus.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE struggles with the art of persuasion.

In the Catholic faith, pride is counted amongst their deadliest sins. I was born Catholic; went to Catholic school; and spent lots of my life with my most definitely Catholic family – there was no way I was coming out of all that without that notion being ingrained in me.

Yes, there is a difference between arrogance and confidence, but the line appears thin to people like me.

As a result, it’s a line I often don’t risk crossing. I’ve been reconsidering that inclination.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE and the killer instinct.

Over the years, I’ve had many heart-to-hearts with a variety of different people when it comes to my career, about the direction I’m taking or how hard (or not) I might be working. Whether it’s over the phone, by e-mail, through BBM or – heaven forbid – in person, the gravity of those talks remains the same.

For the sake of saving some material (and dignity) for later blogs, there’s one in particular that I’ve got to hone in on and that’s the matter of instinct.

It’s a recurring theme in these talks. “When opportunity stands before you, do you seize it?”

Whenever I least expect it, whenever it seems like the subject has finally been laid to rest, it pops back up out of its grave with a renewed relevance the weaker side of me resists to admit.

The fact of the matter is that instinct is something I’ve always had – but there’s also an overbearing amount of introspection in there that’s part and parcel of who I am as a person.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE and the naked truth.

I never thought I had a problem with being blunt and being truthful. As far as I was concerned, I was an open book, but it seems as though the best defense mechanisms are often invisible to those using them.

During dinner with some of the Offenders, I was asked about the direction I was taking with this feature.

The thing I heard most frequently was my tendency to go into non-sequiturs. Deep down inside, an immature part of me felt a knee with a strong urge to jerk – but I reigned him in, put him in the corner. Told him to get his knee checked.

Then I thought about what I had been writing about with this column.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE watches his family watch movies!

“Different strokes for different folks.”

You’ve probably read me use that phrase many a time – it’s one that I try to live by. Hokey as it sounds, it centers me, helps to remind me to respect the way other people might do things, even if it’s the polar opposite of what I’d do.

It’s a mantra, and it’s one I use every time I’m watching a movie with my folks, or my Filipino relatives in general.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE obsessively recreates the theater experience!

If I had my way, I’d live in a movie theater. I’d sleep in the plush chairs; freshen up in the bathroom; and subsist on Raisinets alone. These would all be small sacrifices made in the name of being able to watch all the new movies I want in the most sacred of environments, anytime I want for free.

Unfortunately, my local theater doesn’t look too kindly on vagrants and that isn’t exactly the kind of lifestyle I want to pursue anyway. My only alternative is to try and make my home viewing experience be as close to the theatrical one as possible.

This is all tits and mayo when I’m by myself, but whenever people are around, my devotion to detail gets in the way of maintaining those relationships.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE starts documenting everything!

Stifling my creativity is akin to holding my breath – sooner than later, I can only do it for so long before I need to come up for air.

In terms of writing, I get my daily burst of air from creating some poetry. Easy enough to do on my own. Filmmaking, on the other hand, usually requires a team of people. But if I can’t make something new everyday – or at least fairly frequently – I’m gonna wilt.

I can’t very well let myself suffocate, can I?

Recently, I found a solution: grabbing a video camera and recording everything – ALL THE THINGS!

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE and the great excuse for having no life.

The funny thing about life is that having one is entirely optional.

The choice is up to us. Instead of an outgoing, social existence, we can opt to have an insular one populated only by ourselves and our hobbies and idiosyncrasies.

As a nerd, I made my choice a long time ago. And though my interests have hopped all around the board over the course of my life, the extent to which they overtake my time remains consistent and large.

Once, it was Saturday morning cartoons. Later, it was video games. Now, the sole occupier of my time is le cinema.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE meets his younger self!

Even though the me of the past is dead and gone physically, the unfortunate reality is that traces of him can be found everywhere, most especially in my childhood home.

This is an inescapable fact and I was finally faced down into a corner yesterday while I was helping my folks clean out my old room.

Anyone visiting my parents’ house will comment on how clean it is – and it most definitely is – but in its tidy spaces are drawers and closets and in those drawers and closets are the very origins of Chaos itself.

FLOUNDERING FILM FLUNKEE worries about inarticulate film discussion!

Someone once said that while two people may love, both might love in very different ways. I said that. Just now. Because it’s a great way to start this blog. I can’t very well wait on someone splendid to spout out opening lines for everything I write.

I, of course, love movies. Like near everyone else, I’ve watched them for as long as I can remember. And yeah, I went to film school.

An idea that is constantly perpetuated about film school is that once you’ve been there, once you know the work that goes into a movie, you never really see a movie the same way again. The artifices are exposed and you are beyond the veil.

People coming out of the machine claim they can no longer enjoy the simple pleasure of going to the moving pictures.

I am not one of those people. For better or worse.